Lotus of Siam - First Timer Report
We found ourselves in Vegas after spending Xmas in Lake Havasu. We were very excited to try Lotus of Siam after reading many glorious reviews, some of which comparing it to the best Thai food we used to eat weekly in Queens, Sripraphai. We woke up last Wednesday and attempted to hit the Bellagio buffet, but the line was just insane so we figured we best just get ourselves some delicious Thai food.
Started our meal with the NAM KAO TOD, crispy rice and minced sour sausage. Couldn't resist this starter after reading many many positive reviews of it. It was delicious and crispy, and yet refreshing. Definitely the most interesting and tastey of all the dishes we tried at Lotus.
The Duck Chili-Basil was also pretty good with a very large duck breats. Strangely, it seems that menu refers to Thai Basil often as "Mint". Best version of this dish that I've had since moving out West. The skin could have been crispier, but the chili-basil sauce was delicious. The meat was relatively tender and somewhat shreddable, with some subtle flavor of 5-spice.
I considered getting a Lobster dish since we were in Vegas and being extravagant seemed to be in order, but our server said the lobsters are like 4 or 5 pounds which is just way too much for me to eat alone, since my dining partner doesn't like lobster. So I settled for some fried prawns with garlic sauce. A huge plate of fried prawns arrived. The shells had been removed but also fried and were included. The dish was relatively devoid of any garlic sauce, except for a small smattering of fried garlic in the center of the plate. The prawns were quite a bit overcooked and so tough. I think I would have preferred these if I had ordered them with a Chili-Basil sauce (my fav). The fried prawn shells were really good, though, reminding me of when I order amaebi at a sushi restaurant and they take the shell and fry it and serve it separately. I should have gotten some sort of fish preparation instead...
Lastly I ordered us some Pad Kee Mow, drunken noodles, with pork.
Hadn't read any great reviews about these, but it's one of our fav dishes, so I thought we should try it out. Unfortunately it was not so good. The noodles were very stuck together and it was a bit greasey.
We ordered everything at 8 on their 10 scale of spiciness. Everything was really nicely spiced and I was sweating up a storm, but I wondered if they really hit it with an 8's worth of heat. I tried to avoid offering a number, and asked for "thai spicy", but that didn't seem to work. So we settled for 8. It worked out nicely.
Overall the meal was quite good and the best Thai food we've had in a long while. Although good, nothing really seemed to place Lotus of Siam in the same leauge as Sripraphai. It was tastey and warming, but to me it seemed like a notch below Sripraphai. Although it is very hard to say with only one visit under our belt. And so that's why we pretty much had to go back a 2nd time for dinner the next night, right before our flight home.
We got there around 5:15 and although they weren't officially open yet, we were ushered in to wait in the small lobby.
Started off with an order of the Northern Larb. Definitely different than the larb we are used to, this tasted more like a braised ground meat, than just stir fried. Delicious and different with some 5-spice flavor.
The chicken in the red curry was super tender and the curry had a really nice flavor.
I wanted to try something else from the Northern Menu so opted for the Kang Hung Lay, Pork Stew Northern Curry. The sauce for this dish was similiar to Indian or Burmese curry. Or also sorta like Massaman curry minus the peanut and coconut milk. We're big pork fans, especially tender stewed pork, but this dish was a major disappointment. The pork was not fork tender. It wasn't inedible, but you really shouldn't need a knife for any sort of stew. The smaller chunks of pork were more tender and delicious, but most of the dish comprised of rather large chunks of pork which just weren't stewed long enough.
Despite the poorly executed pork stew, we still highly enjoyed this meal. Especially after eating a mediocre buffet meal for lunch earlier that day at Treasure Island.
I would love to be able to try Lotus of Siam again with a larger crew so that I can sample more dishes. I'll definitely give it another try next time I'm in Vegas. For now, however, Sripraphai remains the king of all Thai food in North America.
I eat there all the time. and have to agree that the noodle dishes are not my fav. Did you order of the special menu? There is one curry noodle dish on that which is excellent. I have yet to have anything on that menu that is disapointing.
Next time get the crispy cat fish salad which is one of the best most refreshing dishes I have ever eaten.
The whole fish is also excellent. Grilled steak dishes as well. I have yet to try the lobster which always looks and smells excellent.
I'm guessing the noodle dish you are referring to is the khao soi, and I think it's by far the best noodle dish at LOS. The lobster is great, Brian, but I'm not sure Paul Bunyon could eat that by himself.
I don't know how to account for the consistency problems you mention, brian. I've never encountered anything equivalent to your experiences with the pork stew or the prawns.
But maybe we're not on the same wavelength if you think Sripraphai is on the same level as Lotus of Siam or the better places in Chicago or Los Angeles.
We ordered the Northern Larb and the Pork Stew off of the special Northern menu. Larb was tastey and different, but the pork was a bit too tough and not stewed enough.
I've had crispy cat fish salad before at Sripraphai in Queens. If it's what I'm thinking of, it consists of catfish meat which has been fried until completely crunchy.
Next time I'll just have to get a whole lobster for myself, me thinks...
Having eaten at both LOS and Sripraphai (but only once at each), I have to give the slight edge to LOS. Everything I had there was spot on, including the wine list with lovely Rieslings that paired perfectly with the very spicy food. Service was outstanding and the host was fully committed to our enjoyment. I just loved it there!