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mikec

Lotus of Siam (Las Vegas)

35 posts in this topic

It’s hard to believe that six months have gone by so quickly.  It was that time of year again.  Time to head to the city of lights and I’m not talking about Paris (although I wish I were).  It was time to go to Las Vegas again.  This time I was only there for a few days since my four-week-old daughter was waiting for me at home.

We arrived on Sunday night at 9:00PM New York time and went straight from the airport to where?  You guessed it, Lotus of Siam.  I will freely admit that I am in a LOS rut.  I want to eat every meal that I have in Las Vegas at LOS.  I guess it’s because I’m always concerned that my company will stop participating in trade shows in Las Vegas and thus I have to get my LOS fix.  But if I really think about it, the reason for all of my meals at LOS is simple.  The food is so incredibly delicious.

As usual we started with the crispy fried rice with minced sour sausage and the wonton and bacon wrapped prawns.  Both were outstanding and if I were forced to limit my choices at LOS, these two dishes would be in the top three.  Interestingly enough, I asked Bill (the owner) how they made the crispy rice and either he really didn’t know, or he wanted to evade my question.  Either way, I still don’t know if they use some sort of batter or what types of spices are incorporated.  I also don’t know what kind of sausage is used and wouldn’t even hazard a guess.  We are friendly with Bill and I’m going to assume that since his wife is the chef he truly doesn’t know how the rice is made.  

We also enjoyed a spicy beef salad with Thai eggplant.  The Thai eggplant is green and has a distinct crunchiness to it.  The lime, basil, and lemongrass flavorings are so fragrant and tasty that it’s hard to not fill up on this dish alone.  Since Bill was not there when we ordered (we usually let him order for us) we took the opportunity to try the Pad Thai at LOS.  Our previous attempts to order this dish have been met with disapproval from Bill who told us that we can get Pad Thai anywhere.  He is right, we can get Pad Thai anywhere, but not as tasty as at LOS.  It was very good, although it was my least favorite of the dishes that we ordered.  It should be noted that my least favorite is still worth trying, especially if you like this noodle dish elsewhere.  Bill suggested a crispy duck special for our last entrée.  It was outstanding with huge pieces of duck and fried basil.  I loved this dish which had a good deal of heat on it.  For dessert we had the coconut ice cream with warm sticky rice.  

After our meal Bill sat down with us to talk about his native country and the deals possible for someone who is thinking about taking a vacation.  I’ll tell you, I’m hooked.  Now if we can just get a babysitter I’m ready to leave tomorrow.  Another thing that I found interesting was that Bill told us that most of the dishes that we were eating were kept at a spice level of about three (out of ten).  He told us that the roasted jalapeno chicken soup that we had the last time we were at LOS was an eight.  I remember the soup well since it was easily the hottest dish that I had ever tried.  He told us that our waiter typically eats his food at level fifteen.  Frankly I can’t even imagine that kind of spice.  Bill also told us of his plans for LOS and the possibility of expansion, but I’ll keep the details of that under my hat for now.  I finally checked into the hotel at about 1PM NYC time and promptly fell into my first uninterrupted sleep since Madeline was born. :)

The next night we had our corporate dinner at P.F. Changs located in the Aladdin hotel and casino.  P.F. Changs offers good, but uninspired Chinese food in a fun setting.  The price was right, the drinks were cold, and the food hot.  What more could I ask when hosting a dinner for 17 people?

Tuesday night was another meal at LOS.  I was taking some of my co-workers.  They were willing to try the food, but asked to keep it towards the mild side.  Thus I ordered most of the same dishes and added a spicy chicken salad that was very good.  I also order a medium hot crispy rice and sausage for myself. :)  On Sunday Bill had mentioned ordering a frog’s leg special for my meal on Tuesday, but unfortunately he wasn’t there and there were no frog’s legs to be had.  C’est la vie.  Once again we had a wonderful meal at LOS and I will definitely be back in August.

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On the urging of many Chowhound folks, we visited Lotus of Siam on our last visit to Las Vegas. Very impressive food, every thing else was a terrible turn off.

Tacky, formica inside, almost sleazy strip mall outside. Extension cords hanging from uplifted ceiling tiles. A steam table in the center of the room. Dee had already turned to leave.

Captain said "I will order for you. You want to taste our best?"

From that moment on, every thing which emerged was better than the last. Rice soaked in vinegar and deep fried as it exploded to thumbnail size burts of taste. Scallops, lobster, and peppers in a peanut sauce base. Vermicelli with diced something (cat?) in a lemony broth. More, and more, and more.

Bill for the whole shebang was $25 at lunch...


Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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i had the hottest dish of my life recently at lotus of siam. due to some miscommunication with the waiter, our green papaya salad came out "crazy thai spicy" instead of the northern larb. the otherwise (and normally) innocuous looking papaya salad put a hurtin on everyone at the table. tears. red eyes. red faces. the whole deal.

the food was brilliant. the waiter was very friendly and went out of his way to make suggestions. i did appreciate that they had a separate "northern thai" menu. i had not seem many of these dishes before. the northern larb was quite different from the version that i'm used to. much deeper in flavor. less spicy. not acidic (no lime juice). quite a good dish. i think i'd get one and one the next time.

after lunch i headed over to the hilton for the Star Trek thing. i had a romulun ale at the "geek bar" and felt like a complete idiot.

i'll definitely return (to the restaurant).

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We had an outstanding meal at LOS about two years ago, also under the care of the owner. Memorable, and worth returning again and again. The flourescent lights, travel posters and formica tables are soon overlooked, mainly because one's eyes are tearing from the heat.

But the single most extraordinary Thai meal we've ever had outside Thailand was at Arun in Chicago. Why this place isn't on the national radar is beyond me. In a discussion with a new, highly expert egulleteer, Arun (the man and chef) was described in terms that put him in a league with the biggest shots in the business. This was also a few years ago, If the restaurant is still functioning at the same level, it is worth a trip to Chicago for no other reason.


Who said "There are no three star restaurants, only three star meals"?

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robert, in my estimation, Arun is very well known. i live in new jersey, as plotz so gleefully points out (as a character flaw of course of course) and i knew about Arun 6 years ago when i was a wee-foodie-in-training. it's been written up several times in the main stream food mags, and has most likely been mentioned on TV programs.

and, it was certainly one of the best thai experiences that i've had (outside of NJ :biggrin: )

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Although I think that the food is stellar at LOS, I am surprised that nobody has mentioned the wines. I think that Bill's selection of Germans is one of the best in the country and a superb match to his food. He will happily guide you towards some real treats.

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robert, in my estimation, Arun is very well known.  i live in new jersey, as plotz so gleefully points out (as a character flaw of course of course) and i knew about Arun 6 years ago when i was a wee-foodie-in-training.  it's been written up several times in the main stream food mags, and has most likely been mentioned on TV programs. 

and, it was certainly one of the best thai experiences that i've had (outside of NJ  :biggrin: )

Nobody tells me anything.


Who said "There are no three star restaurants, only three star meals"?

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dlc, great catch on the wines. i think that i've been thinking so much about mentioning the list that by the time i got around to posting i totally forgot. mentioning LOS without mentioning their list does the restaurant a disservice. quite a list.


Edited by tommy (log)

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When I was in Vegas during COMDEX last year, I also went to Lotus of Siam on two different nights. I also had the Northern Beef Larb, which was probably one of the single best thai dishes I haver had. Definitely get this one as hot as it goes. Their Pad Kee Maow seafood noodles are also fantastic.


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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I suspect this post will never die as everybody seems to love this restaurant.

Based on eGullet reviews, we went to LOS last year and loved it. We were hooked. We just got back from Vegas last week and again made a trip to LOS. I agree with the poster who pointed out that the food soon consumes you and you don't worry about the decor.

We spent quite a bit of time talking with our waiter and getting recommendations. I think we made a good impression as we got some lovely wine at the end of our meals, on the house. Sweet guy - you wouldn't know he likes his food at 15+ by the looks of him. :shock:

We were there on a Tuesday night and the place was quite empty. We asked our waiter and he said the locals don't really appreciate it. He said their typical customer is from New York. Being from Vancouver, BC, Canada, I encouraged him to dump Vegas and move the whole operation to Vancouver. They'd have line-ups out the door every night!

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But the single most extraordinary Thai meal we've ever had outside Thailand was at Arun in Chicago. Why this place isn't on the national radar is beyond me.

Robert

I have to completely disagree. I must admit that I have only had one meal at Arun's. But the reason is that I would never go back. My meal was a pale imitation of Thai food. There was not one flavour in the whole evening that reminded me of the streets of Bangkok! There was not one flavour that even approached the flavours of David Thompson.

The whole meal seemed to be orchestrated towards satisfying local Chicago socialites who wanted to pretend that they were eating Thai food.

If they want to try soe real flavours they should zip up to OHare and grab a plane to Bangkok and try the food at the Vientiane Kitchen or fly to Sydney and try Sailors Thai or London at eat at Nham.


Roger McShane

Foodtourist.com

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A dish that I haven't seen people mention that is my absolute favorite is the pork stew on the Issan menu. It remainds me of a rendang curry from malaysia but better. I also cna't get enough of his fish dishes.

I can't wait til I am back in LV so I can eat here again and again.

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Woo hoo, we're headed back to Las Vegas at the end of the month, and I'll finally get to go to Lotus of Siam!

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Just dined at LOS this past weekend and have to say that it was even better than my previous 2 visits. I had raved about this place with a group of people I don't know that well and put myself out on a line when demanding that we dine at this relative out of the way spot. I even told everyone what we would order. In addittion to what I ordered the group wanted pad thai. I was a little leary but in fact the pad thai ended up being as good as any other P T dish I have ordered. The crispy rice dish was exceptional as was salmon penang, issan pork stew, spicey chicken wings, and soft shell shrimp. The end of the meal was no less great with the sticky rice/mango/cocunut ice cream/ and fried banana.

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I convinced my Vegas companions to go to Lotus of Siam with me on Saturday night. It happened to be Valentine's Day and they were full, but we called ahead and they took a reservation. In the entry area, I was surprised to see reviews posted of Renu Nakorn in Norwalk (near Los Angeles). The waiter informed me that the owners are the original founders of Renu Nakorn, and they sold the business and opened up Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas. I guess I missed this bit of history in the reviews I've read, but it explains a lot.

Disclaimers: I didn't get to order everything I had planned to. I had a cold, and wasn't tasting or smelling at full capacity. We did not order wine.

LOS is located at 953 E Sahara Avenue, sorta between the North end of the Strip and Downtown. The layout of the mall is a bit weird, because the storefronts face an interior parking lot, rather than the main street. It's called the Commercial Center or Plaza or something like that. There are several other promising looking ethnic restaurants in the mall.

front.jpg

Nam Kao Tod - Chiang Mai sausage, puffed rice, toasted peanuts. We all liked this a lot, and in my case, in spite of the texture issues I have with puffed rice that is stale or moistened.

namkaotod.jpg

Nua Dad Deaw - Issan style spiced, dried beef. This was good too. The sauce looks like it would be dangerously spicy, but it was sorta watery and bland. I got a piece of jerky with fat in it, and it had a little of that dry aged steak taste to it. The lean pieces weren't so interesting, IMHO.

nuadaddeaw.jpg

Unfortunately, I ordered this dish by mistake, thinking it was the the whole fried catfish. Still, very good. Broiled catfish filets with tangy spicy dressing.

catfish.jpg

Also ordered, but not pictured. House special fried rice (excellent), pad thai (a bit moist for my tastes), and somtom salad (not spicy enough, but very good taste and balance).

Coconut milk ice cream, sticky rice, and banana fritters. Excellent!

dessert.jpg

It was a very enjoyable meal, and I'll definitely go back. One reason I HAVE to go back is that our waiter didn't ask us how spicy to make the dishes and I didn't specify either, and all the dishes were all very mild. I was disappointed that they didn't ask, that they came out at gringo heat, and that I didn't specify (although, I do see it as a test - if you don't specify, how hot do they prepare it?)

Some have said that it is hands down the best Thai restaurant in America. I'm not saying that it isn't, but I still need to be convinced. I'm looking forward to my next visit.

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Some have said that it is hands down the best Thai restaurant in America.

haven't been to l.o.s--will for sure on next trip to vegas. but in the meantime i am curious if those who say that this is the best thai restaurant in america have eaten extensively at the thai restaurants in hollywood around the thailand plaza.

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I am staying at the Stratosphere next month for 2 nights during a convention. Foodzealot, how far is from the Strat?


Moo, Cluck, Oink.....they all taste good!

The Hungry Detective

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I am staying at the Stratosphere next month for 2 nights during a convention. Foodzealot, how far is from the Strat?

it's a cab ride from pretty much anywhere. but it's only 10 or 15 minutes tops i'd think.

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It's very close to the Stratosphere actually. It's only like a mile away. If it's not too hot you can walk it.


I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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It's very close to the Stratosphere actually.  It's only like a mile away.  If it's not too hot you can walk it.

Chris, a mile sounds about right, but I find distances in Vegas to be deceiving, somehow.

mongo, you may not be surprised find out that your nemesis Jonathan Gold is the origin of that statement (unless I am mistaken). IMHO, LOS is of similar quality as the best in Thai Town, but the "buzz" is on their Northern dishes, so it's not quite a straight across comparison. I believe Jitlada has some, so I'll have to try to find comparable dishes.

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Just got back from Vegas this weekend.. After a couple of failed attempts, I had dinner one night..

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While deciding what to order we got a quick bacon wrapped shrimp, wrapped in a crispy wanton strip.. Served with a sweet and sour sauce.. As good as you think..

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Started with the papaya and catfish salad.. An incredible tastey and spicy papaya salad w/ cashews and perfectly fried catfish pieces.. On the salad alone I drank two malt Thai beers..

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We then had crispy puffed rice in a sour fish sauce..With lots Thai basil, red onion,nuts and ham pieces.. Good stuff, lots of different flavors and textures..

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In a larger group I would have gotten the catfish.. But a smaller fish, we opted for a sweet and sour whole fried pompano..

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Pork Penang: Pork was cooked wonderfully, the Penang Sauce is solid..

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The food is always really good and never disappoints.. For me, its a great way to take a breather from the Hotels...


Edited by Daniel (log)

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I'm going to be heading to LV in Jan and am trying to organize what we'll be eating while there. After reading all the LOS posts, with not one bad entry, I really want to go. While I usually opt for the hottest food available, my better half can't handle too much heat. Will the food at LOS be bearable for him? I hear that their scale of 1-10 for hotness starts at hot.


Don't waste your time or time will waste you - Muse

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I'm going to be heading to LV in Jan and am trying to organize what we'll be eating while there. After reading all the LOS posts, with not one bad entry, I really want to go. While I usually opt for the hottest food available, my better half can't handle too much heat. Will the food at LOS be bearable for him? I hear that their scale of 1-10 for hotness starts at hot.

http://www.lotusofsiamlv.com/

LOS can definitely accommodate. Check out their website menu.


Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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I'm going to be heading to LV in Jan and am trying to organize what we'll be eating while there. After reading all the LOS posts, with not one bad entry, I really want to go. While I usually opt for the hottest food available, my better half can't handle too much heat. Will the food at LOS be bearable for him? I hear that their scale of 1-10 for hotness starts at hot.

not all thai dishes are spicy. i wouldn't worry about it. the waitstaff is excellent and will take care of you.

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rjwong and tommy, thank you both!


Don't waste your time or time will waste you - Muse

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