Lotus of Siam NYC - 'Upscale Thai Outpost of the Famous Vegas Restaurant'

Discussion in 'New York Area' started by gleff, Feb 6, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. gleff
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    I tried the new Lotus of Siam in NYC in December, it’s the outpost of the Vegas well-known and quite excellent staple. It had been opened just a month or so and I had been very curious.

    I was massively disappointed, and I'm not surprised in the least that the place appears to be imploding. The family from the Vegas restaurant has apparently split with their New York partners, and are separating themselves from the New York restaurant.

    http://boardingarea.com/blogs/viewfromthewing/2011/01/27/lotus-of-siam-new-york-begins-to-implode/


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    The New York version strives to be a more fine dining experience than the Vegas location, and also it seems to adjust the food to the New York palette. While there are certainly Thai places in New York, they’re not known to be particularly outstanding by world standards. And having grown up in New York, I can say that New Yorkers don’t really do spice. At least not Thai spicey.

    So how would it translate? Not exceptionally well. The tasting menu was $65. They say they tailor it to your preferences, I go to Thailand every year and enjoy Thai spicy. I explained my preferences as they should do whatever the chef was most proud of, but to serve whatever would be served to good friends. Thai friend. And not to worry that it might be too spicy, if that’s how it was intended to be.

    That’s the kind of thing I might have asked for in Las Vegas, and gotten amazing food. Here they didn’t really pay attention to my preferences at all and sent out seemingly random dishes at whatever pace the service staff got around to it.

    Service was completely off, they delivered multiple courses at the same time — our soups with a separate appetizer — and other times had significant delays. They delivered all three entrees together, perhaps that was intended but it’s odd for a tasting menu. And it seemed to coincide with craziness on the floor, staff were running around and didn’t seem to be especially well-orchestrated in doing so. And the food itself was equally erratic.

    Here’s the dining room, it doesn’t look particularly Thai-themed which in and of itself is fine. It’s also quite dark, perhaps geared towards New York romance (having grown up near the City, I wouldn’t want to look at me too clearly over dinner, either!). It wasn’t conducive to my habit of discretely snapping food photos but I think they still do offer a reasonable glimpse into what was offered.

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    We began with a tuna tartare that was also a larb. It made me think that we were in for a really interesting fusion experience, it was spicy and flavorful.

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    Next came a mix of fried rice, with ham and peanuts and onions.. a bit salty but tasty.

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    Then things began going downhill. The stuffed chicken and smoked shrimp in fried rice paper were bland and uninspired.

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  2. gleff
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    And soups were the worst Tom Yong Goong and Tom Ka Gai I’ve ever tried. The former was sour with no spice. The latter was sweet with no spice.

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    Both soups were served at the same time as the soft shell crab on apple salad. Again, “meh.”

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  3. gleff
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    All three entrees were brought together: Sea bass, short ribs in penang curry, and green curry chicken. The curry was a reasonable rendition of a Thai dish, but the short ribs were undercooked and didn’t come apart with a fork. Since servers were tough to get attention from, instead of managing to secure a knife I pulled it apart with fork and spoon.

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    The desserts, though, were surprisingly good — ice cream with jack fruit and mango and a tapioca with taro root. Normally Thai places don’t focus on their desserts, American audiences don’t seem to order them, but they did do a nice job here.

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    Disappointed.
     
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  4. joanek
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    "Too sweet" is my main complaint about the Thai restaurants I visit in the US. Can't stand it! I've given up on most of the ones near me in the DC metro.

    And thanks for confirming what I'd heard about L-o-S NYC. I asked about it when I was in the LAS restaurant a few weeks ago (actually, late december), and the person I asked just nodded politely. I took that as a bad sign.
     
  5. gleff
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    In DC area go to Elephant Jumps. And Thai X-ing.
     
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  6. joanek
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    Thanks---don't know the first, and do like the latter. Will look it up. BTW, if you don't know our local food board donrockwell.com, give it a look. I first read DR's stuff on chowhound, after that changed, he started up his own society.
     
  7. gleff
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    I do know DR. If you're active there you may also know Tyler Cowen's stuff? He's my boss in 'real life'.
     
  8. joanek
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    ashamed that I had no idea you were local. Yes, I know of TC---had the "list" back in the dark ages. Just saw him quoted in a Post story last week, not about food! ( half expected them to ID him as the food guy!)
     
  9. doc
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    Yes, the cost outweighs the meal..
    far better choices & more authentic food available in the area IMHO
     
  10. wiredboy
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    I agree with gleff. A friend who raves about Lotus in Las Vegas was visiting me here in NYC. I live just a few blocks up from Lotus and we made visiting it a central experience of his trip. I'm not saying it was dreadful, but there are zillions of places in NYC with similar food and decor for a lot less money.
     
  11. dhammer53
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    The foodies on my wine board have panned this place. I've been to the LAS location and have to say it's delicious and cheap. You have no idea how disappointed I was. Oh well. The only other sub in NY is in Queens. It's a short ride on the #7 train. http://www.sripraphairestaurant.com/

    Cash only. BYO is $10. For $60 a couple, you won't leave hungry.
     
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  12. Once the Hawaiian gets out here, perhaps we can double-date.
     
  13. dhammer53
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    I'm in. Just give me a heads up.
     
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  14. dkelly1110
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    Absolutely agree on Sripraphai. Nice stop to/fro Mets games. Also, nearby in Woodside are some really good burgers at old-school Irish pub, Donovan's.
     
  15. wiredboy
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    You guys are killing me. It's 7:15 in the morning and now I'm craving Thai food! :)
     
  16. dhammer53
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    wiredboy, we can head there for lunch after Passover. Interested? Anyone else?
     
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  17. Weekend, yes.
     
  18. dhammer53
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    Ok. We'll talk. FYI. They allow BYO for the measley cost of $10 per bottle. Sweet wines, in addition to beer, go well with Thai food. Please advise when FH will be available and we'll set a date.
     
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