Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas

Discussion in 'Other U.S. Destinations' started by gleff, Feb 6, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. gleff
    Original Member

    gleff Co-founder

    Messages:
    3,616
    Likes Received:
    6,793
    Status Points:
    4,670
    Last month when I was in Vegas I caught a cab straight away from the airport. I had been planning to come straight here. So I had the driver take me well beyond the strip to a strip mall that’s home to many ethnic restaurants a few miles away from the major action of the city, where Lotus of Siam can be found.


    • [​IMG]
    I had a wonderful dinner here a couple of years, and for many years it’s been highly touted as the best Thai restaurant in North America. The chef has won all sorts of awards. And they’re sure to let you know that, with the walls of the entrance filled with their accolades.

    • [​IMG]
    I was eager to return, especially after a less than stellar meal at their new New York location. I wanted them to redeem themselves.

    I walked in shortly before noon, and was seated straight away. They brought me the menu, which is very very extensive, and I began to peruse.

    • [​IMG]
    What I hadn’t noticed on the way in was that there was a lunch buffet set up. All you can eat for $9. I took a look, though that wasn’t what I was there for. It looked ‘ok’, like any small Chinese lunch buffet that could be found anywhere in the country, at least any one that gets a pretty good volume of business such that things are fresh rather than sitting out, I saw them refilling the buffet frequently.

    And therein lies the problem, perhaps. Everyone else in the restaurant was eating from the buffet. I ordered off of the menu. And I wonder whether they just weren’t really equipped to pay attention to a single dish when they were busy cooking en masse.
    I started with the Nam Prik Ong (Northern red chili dip) which was good, but the last time I had it was in Chiang Rai so it’s unlikely it was going to measure up. I also ordered the Salmon Penang.

    With so many things on the menu, I ordered based on what I felt like eating and what sounded good rather than giving the restaurant a fare shake in a controlled experiment. I should always order their spicy soup or coconut soup, it’s such a basic dish and I believe you can tell a lot about a Thai restaurant from the way they prepare their soups. I didn’t do that this time.

    Really I was missing out because I was dining alone, how many dishes would I order? It was lunch, I was only so hungry, so I stuck with the two.

    They asked me how spicy I like my food, I told them that I wanted it to be as spicy as it’s supposed to be. That I visit Thailand each year, that I am not afraid of spice. And the Nam Prik Ong had some flavor to it, so we were off to a reasonable start.

    • [​IMG]
    The salmon in penang curry though was a mistake. It was completely flat. There wasn’t much flavor, almost strictly coconut milk. The piece of salmon was a bit underdone. A fine enough piece of fish I suppose but one that could have been eaten in any restaurant of any kind, if it hadn’t been placed on a bed of coconut curry. Thoroughly disappointing.

    • [​IMG]
    And so I walked away unhappy, I can’t really say whether the place has gone downhill or whether it’s just not a good idea to come for lunch, that all of the good work comes at dinner. Perhaps the lunch buffet killed it. Perhaps the last two years’ economy in Vegas killed it. I suppose I’ll give it one more try, and definitely at dinner, also of course with more people to try more things. But I’m not in a terrible rush to do so.
     
    joanek likes this.
  2. joanek
    Original Member

    joanek Silver Member

    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    208
    Status Points:
    445
    I had a wonderful dinner there just a few weeks ago---didn't seem to have slipped a bit. I try to steer dining companions away from ordering anything that isn't on the Northern menu---figuring it's best to stick with what made them famous. BTW, we discovered an amazing sushi deal in Vegas at Yama Sushi. All you can eat at about 25 bucks...but what makes this different is that you can order anything on their menu as part of the AYCE. Anything! Everything! And it was excellent fish.
     
    aabrock and gleff like this.
  3. gleff
    Original Member

    gleff Co-founder

    Messages:
    3,616
    Likes Received:
    6,793
    Status Points:
    4,670
    As I say, it may just have been a mistake to go for lunch.
     
  4. IMGone
    Original Member

    IMGone Silver Member

    Messages:
    560
    Likes Received:
    327
    Status Points:
    575
    I've eaten here a number of times with small and big groups and haven't known anyone to be disappointed with their dishes. There is always a wide variety of items ordered. Wish I could recall the specific entrees but its been a while.

    The area is kind of sketchy, but the food is good. Reservations for dinner with a group is definitely recommended.
     
  5. joanek
    Original Member

    joanek Silver Member

    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    208
    Status Points:
    445
    Gleff, I saw you ordered the Red Chili dip. I always get the green ---I'd love a comparison, if you've tried both. And I think you're right---dinner is the time to go. (I've heard there was recently a split at L-o-S NYC---know anything about that?)
     
  6. gleff
    Original Member

    gleff Co-founder

    Messages:
    3,616
    Likes Received:
    6,793
    Status Points:
    4,670
  7. Love this place ... I would come back to just eat the 'garlic prawn' dish - yum!
     
  8. aabrock
    Original Member

    aabrock Silver Member

    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    25
    Status Points:
    165
    Make it to Vegas twice a year and have yet to eat here...shame on me! With the exception of the Lemongrass in the Aria and the Indian buffet in the Hawaiian Marketplace there is a real dearth of non-Chinese and non-Japanese Asian food on the Strip...this place sounds just the ticket.
     
  9. joanek
    Original Member

    joanek Silver Member

    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    208
    Status Points:
    445
    Can anyone tell me the (taste) difference between the red and green chile dips? I always go for green and love it....so I've never strayed. Should I? (or maybe I just need to head out west one weekend and do my own taste test!)
     
  10. Travelrus

    Travelrus Active Member

    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    17
    Status Points:
    85
    I was there in December. Dined alone so there was only so much I could try.
    The coconut soup Tom Yum Khai was very flavourful and spicy enough when I'd asked for medium. Ordered a red curry from the northern menu and was disappointed. Should have anticipated it: curry without coconut was just like a broth, and though it had good flavor, there were only few pieces of veggies and chicken in it.

    What dishes do you usually order to judge a Thai restaurant for it's authenticity? I usually get the soup, the pad Thai (must not have ketchup) and a green curry.
     
  11. Fredd
    Original Member

    Fredd Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,167
    Likes Received:
    3,181
    Status Points:
    1,970
    That could be.

    We haven't eaten there, but we toured Thailand last October with a restaurateur / chef brother-in-law, including a lot of eating and a two-day private session at Chiang Mai's A Lot of Thai Home Cooking Class. He raved about Lotus of Siam on the trip.

    I e-mailed him this link and he replied "I can't speak to the NY restaurant; in fact, I wasn't even aware they had one. They sure didn't mention it to me six months ago when we feasted on most everything on the menu. He is right, the lunch buffet is pedestrian at best. However, if one waits until 1:30 or 2:00 he can get the full attention of the kitchen. I have had a couple so-so meals there, but never anything less than "good". Most everything I've had has been "wow". I agree with the one fellow [joanek] that recommended the Northern Menu, which you normally have to ask for."

    If and when we get there, we'll plan on dinner rather than lunch and look for the Northern menu.
     
  12. gleff
    Original Member

    gleff Co-founder

    Messages:
    3,616
    Likes Received:
    6,793
    Status Points:
    4,670
    They've separated themselves from the New York restaurant though it still bears their name. It was a disaster, and they were apparently embarassed by it.

    I'll definitely return but not for lunch.

    In the meantime I'm sad, in transit back from Thailand myself at the moment..
     

Share This Page