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West Bank dining: Lotus Thai Cafe in Harvey is now open 

  West Bank Thai restaurant Lotus Thai Cafe (2104 Manhattan Blvd., Suite E, Harvey, 504-365-5525) is now open, serving soups, noodle dishes and casual Thai food.

  The opening follows the closure of My Thai Cuisine, which was operated out of the same strip mall space by the same owners. Owner Terisa Cuskelly and her husband decided to pare down their menu following a trip to Thailand, which inspired their interest in more casual Thai street food including noodle soups and curries.

  "The one I'm really excited about is the boat noodle soup," Cuskelly says. "It's almost like a pho but the broth is a Thai-style pork broth that is made thicker by adding a little bit of coconut milk. Not a lot of Thai restaurants make it because it's a process to make, and there are a lot of different types of pork meat and pate that are sometimes hard to find."

  Also unique is khao soi, a fiery dish from northern Thailand that features steamed egg noodles topped with rich curry sauce and crispy fried noodles.

  Traditional Thai staples such as pad thai, masaman curry and summer and spring rolls round out the menu.

  The restaurant is open for dinner, but the push is toward attracting a lunch crowd. Nothing on the menu exceeds $14. Most days the restaurant closes between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. The restaurant is still in the process of securing a license to sell beer. In the meantime, the owners encourage diners to BYOB.

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