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Nov 25, 2003 09:12 PM

Sriraphai survives Las Vegas Lotus challenge

  • c

Last weekend I had the pleasure of dining at a GREAT Thai restaurant in Las Vegas...Lotus of Siam...

Among the accolades for Lotus was that it was "on a par with Sriraphai", which of course is pretty high praise.

As my ex is a great lady from Thailand, not bragging I'm an expert on the cuisine....Sriraphai has withstood the challenge.

The strength of Lotus is it's regional emphasis on "Issan" or northern Thai regional dishes. Probably one of the few restaurants with such emphasis ALSO they just have an awesome lineup of German and ALsatian wines to accompany the food.

But, while Sriraphai's food offerings are incredibly consistent at a high quality level, I found Lotus to be uneven. Not surprisingly, the un-eveness was in their non-Issan dishes. The Issan offerings were fantastic and when we dine there again (which we will definitely do), we'll go with Issan Only AND we won't fall for that "how spicy you want it" question which of course is a giveaway that they will "americanize" the meal. THe answer to that question should always be "I want it authentically spiced, DON'T hold back anything".

On related matter, next time at Sriraphai, try bringing a bottle of any high grade 2001 Alsatian...Gewurztraminer or a mixed vineyard offering...we brought a Gewurz Grand Cru from Albert Mann that was out of this world AND the delightful staff at Lotus gave us 3 tasting flights of different wines from Germany and Alsace, all fantastic.

At this point, I'm comfortable placing Sriraphai on a par with the great Thai restaurants of Chicago, and honestly believe it's one of the Top Ten Thai Restaurants in the country!

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  1. Agree with your assessment. Lotus of Siam is a must whenever in Vegas. The food is phenomenal and they are also super nice.

    1. I agree with the "how spicy do you want it" ploy. I spoke with the waiter (at Lotus) and told him I usually order "pet mak mak", I don't want things inappropirately spiced. He looked me in the eye and said "are you sure". That's when I knew it was going to be a good meal. I answered "ging ging" (true heart,or I'm not kidding) and the food was great. The papaya salad was very hot as it's supposed to be and the Khao Soi not nearly as hot, but with some chili oil on the side. Very authentic.

      3 Replies
      1. re: saeyedoc

        "Pet mak mak" means "very spicy". It doesn't mean "appropriately spiced".

        1. re: Brian S

          In that case, does anybody know how to say "appropriately spiced"? Because I was hoping to add that one to my vocabulary.

          I went to Lotus of Siam twice a few months ago and thought it was great. I had the opposite reaction -- I didn't like the one or two Isaan dishes we ordered (maybe I just don't like Isaan cuisine, because my one trip to Zabb in Jackson Heights didn't do much for me either), but I thought everything else was fantastic. To me, it was about on the same level as Sri, but different somehow. There were some flavors I hadn't encountered before, but I wouldn't say it was any better than Sri overall. It was spicier, but I suspect that was because it's out west, and people generally aren't wimps about spicing out there, like so many in NYC are (witness all the complaining about the NYC branch of Phoenix restaurant Los Dos Molinos being too spicy). We got it at level 6 on Lotus's scale of 1 to 10 and I was worried that wouldn't be hot enough, but it was hardcore, almost too much for me, hotter than 80 or 90% of my meals at Sri. But I'd say both Sri and Lotus of Siam had about an equal level of complexity of flavors and spices.

          1. re: Brian S

            I know what it means, it usually does get the appropriate message across though.

        2. what are some of the really good Issaan dishes at Lotus?

          3 Replies
          1. re: kevin

            Mike, have you tried the Issan food at Zabb?

            1. re: kevin

              I think it's fine to do a Lotus/Sri comparison on this board, but any specific questions regarding Lotus's food should be asked on the appropriate board.

              1. re: kevin

                I think Issaan cusine is best known for their salads which can be meat based.