Even if you spend a lot of time around downtown Dayton, you can still very easily miss the hardy little restaurant on East Third Street known as White Lotus, and the hardy little one-woman show that keeps the spot running. It’s a very funny thing this little spot, where you can order a number of great Thai dishes or a burger. You wouldn’t think those two things would both be good at the same restaurant, but they’re the two items that White Lotus does best.
The menu isn’t that large but it does include a number of Thai food specialties. Among them:
- Pad Thai: The well-known and well-loved Thai dish is notable not in any of the ingredients themselves, those are pretty standard, but the dish just comes together really smoothly. Some eggs, noodles, a little bit of curry and some veggies make the dish slightly spicy to taste (you can pick from one of 10 spice levels) and it’s very filling.
- Yummy Burger: This is the burger that you don’t think much about on a Thai food menu, but it’s outstanding. The hand-made half-pound patty is grilled simply and topped with a little salt and pepper. Then it’s topped with plenty of mayo and all the veggies. An extra few dollars will put bacon on the thing. The burger is delicious, it all comes together well; the crunchy bun, the juicy ground chuck beef, and the veggies. A perfect combination.
- Pad See Ew: “Fat noodles” and a dark sauce. It’s a less common thing to order here, but nonetheless good. The noodles were a bit overdone but the company is the best.
- Green Curry: A spicy curry with grilled chicken and veggies and rice on the side. The best part about it? The peppers that make it so hot are grown in the bushes outside the restaurant.
The restaurant is small, and the fact is it’s a one-person operation. While I see some complaints on the service of the place, I think this is another case of delicate Midwestern sensibilities coming against something unfamiliar. There is a language barrier, but she’s extremely friendly, she’s talkative, and the regulars really enjoy her company. The language barrier prevents her from sounding as overly polite as you find in other little restaurants, but she is absolutely not rude.
That said, the nature of the one-person show does mean it might mean a longer wait. I have never had a problem myself, going during times with smaller groups, but at the same time when the place gets more filled, one person cooking all of the food does take a longer time for one person to make.
This spot has a lot of great things to offer. The food has a very homemade taste with a simple charm to it, and the experience overall is great. It’s a no-frills greasy spoon but well worth it.
- The spot does offer takeout and that’s a great and popular option for the food.
- The pad Thai is definitely my favorite dish here. Option 2 though, would definitely be the Yummy Burger. Nothing Thai about it, but it’s still one of the better burgers in town.
- The lady who owns the place is friendly but there is a language barrier.