A good bowl of pho is the ultimate comfort food, and Lotus Restaurant, a diner-style Vietnamese institution tucked into a busy intersection of Loring Park, knows that comfort is cleanliness, friendly servers, and steaming dishes brought straight from wok to table. Pho comes classically dressed in bean sprouts, basil, lime, and jalapeno peppers, in sizes of “perfect portion” and “extra large because it’s freezing outside and nothing else will make me feel human again.” The beef is sliced so tenderly it cooks itself in the broth. The meatballs are quality and the barbecue pork is hard to beat. Diners eat beneath the benevolent gazes of the handsome set of brothers who own the place. Quick and consistent on the takeout, the Lotus is regularly packed with long lines of hungry, double-parked diners, and is the type of Vietnamese restaurant where actual Vietnamese people eat because it looks and feels like home. An Uptown location recently opened, too.