The Cantonese-style Lotus 8 held its soft opening on April 18 in the beautifully renovated space that once housed the Chinese restaurants Liu's and then Yummy Kitchen.
My Chinese-American lunch pal suggested a number of authentic, expertly assembled banquet-style dishes that were outstanding.
We loaded our table with Hong Kong-style house special noodles (crispy noodles topped with lean barbecued pork, scallops, calamari and black mushrooms); a disjointed and fried two-pound salt-and-pepper Dungeness crab; and crispy Peking duck (pictured) served two ways - rolled in rice crepes with fresh spring onion and hoisin sauce, and chopped up with cilantro and jicama and made into lettuce wraps.
The restaurant makes the best hot relish we've tasted - nicknamed "fire and lightning" - a mix of dried bean curd and hard-to-source special peppers. The ingredients aren't easy to come by, which is why the relish is served mostly on weekends.
Other good things: the freshest orange chicken we've found, gloriously messy soy sauce-bathed prawns, rarely seen bitter melon, "special" barbecued pork, luscious fish maw with crab meat soup.
"If you don't see anything you want, tell us what you like and we will create a menu for you," offers general manager Michael Chow.
Look for a complete review in an upcoming Friday Ticket section in The Bee.
Lotus 8 is at 199 Blue Ravine Road in Folsom; (916) 351-9278, www.lotus8folsom.com.