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Oct 22, 2007 11:21 AM

Las Vegas Chinatown-- Let's thoroughly review it

I went to Las Vegas for the third time since 2000 last week but it was my first trip to the Chinatown area. I was impressed by the two restaurants I tried (thanks to Chowhound recommendations) but it looks like there's potential for lots of good restaurants there. I'm hoping to start a thread where we review several of the restaurants to see what we like and don't like. I'm particularly interested in Korean restaurants.

The first place I tried was Sam Woo BBQ for take out roast duck and roast pig. The roast duck was great, maybe the best I've ever had. I don't eat lot of roast duck but it really stands out for being well seasoned and well cooked. The skin was crispy and the meat tasted great. It went really well with an earthy California pinot noir. The pound of barbecue pork was a mixed lot. Some of it was pretty good. Other was kind of tough. I also got an order of bok choi cooked in garlic. The bok choi itself was fresh and tender. The garlic tended to overwhelm it, though, so all I could taste was garlic. Sam Woo is a chain and it's promising. I'd like to go back and try other items.

Sam Woo BBQ
4215 Spring Mountain Rd # B101
Las Vegas, NV 89102

Sam Woo BBQ Restaurant
4215 Spring Mountain Rd Ste B101, Las Vegas, NV 89102

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  1. The second place I went was the Cathay House for dim sum. This was pretty good dim sum and it could hold it's own with places in Monterey Park or San Francisco. The only dim sum that disappointed me there was the shrimp and chives. The shrimp was bland and the chives overpowered it. Everything else I tried was great. There was a deep fried crab ball (it's the one in the photo with the crab claws protruding) that tasted like fresh crab and not krab. Another photo I have is of a sausage bun and the sausage tasted tangy and fresh, too. I'm not sure what was in the rest. There were a few deep-fried items I hadn't seen before and they were very good. I liked the Cathay House and wouldn't mind returning. I'll bet it's better than any of the dim sum on the strip. I guess it's technically a few blocks east of Las Vegas' Chinatown, but it's still on Spring Mountain Road.

    Cathay House Restaurant
    5300 Spring Mountain Rd # 107
    Las Vegas, NV 89146

    1 Reply
    1. re: SteveTimko

      Forgot to link to it.

      Cathay House Restaurant
      5300 Spring Mountain Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89146

    2. When dining at Sam Woo, the servers have always been quick and efficient. The story is quite different for me when ordering the bbq items to go, though. Although I'm 100% cantonese and can understand and speak the language, I don't look it at all. I've been nothing but courteous everytime I've stepped foot in there, but I've heard the cleaver guys behind the counter say unflattering things about me in Cantonese and on more than one occasion, I've seen them reach for a particularly bony chunk of roast pork or dried out bbq pork when I've ordered it by the pound to go. The dining room is a pleasant experience, though and the dishes are well prepared. The hk bbq items are totally unremarkable, though and I haven't gotten them from there for years (due to both quality and treatment).

      I think Cathay house is excellent. The food is well prepared and it shows in the details. Always hot, fresh, and tasty. The variety of available items is great on weekdays and even better on weekends. I think they're much better than Orchid Garden on Sahara and the best place for dim sum in Vegas.

      4 Replies
      1. re: fledflew

        i've tried cathay house 2 times, ping pang least 10 times, chang's 3-4 times, orchid's...5-6 times....i'm not asian, my SO is chinese, i've probably eaten at 10 dim-sum places in so cal, 4-5 in san francisco ( none in china, 2 in thailand ) and it's one of the rare times my SO and i agree ...we prefer orchid garden - although we do find the quality is much better the earlier you get there ( then again, that might be true of most places ...except a few in so cal....ocean star is an example ) cathay...i found the dishes to be ho-hum, but i cannot give it a thumbs down since we have eaten there in the afternoon , not the morning...changs has dropped in quality each time we've been there...we like ping pang pong but more so late night.

        as to other chinese places....holy cow....i've lost track - just this last week - went to kj's kitchen ( it was good, not great, but good ! ) and ...a hunan place on flamingo ...whew...i'm still sweating from one of the dishes....chinatown is really stretching on spring mountain and there is no doubt i will get to all the places....and you can't forget the thai, vietnamese, malaysian, etc places in "chinatown" - had another sandwich at hue's this week...did they raise there's hard to eat a shredded pork banh mi for $4 when i can get a better one in monterey park / el monte for $ rent that much more in vegas ?!?!? don't get me wrong - hue's is good and they have some great hot pot's and it's a nice place...
        i still haven't found a korean place that's wowed me.....and man, i feel korean is the most expensive of the asian restaurants in the vegas valley ( but i've only been to about 4 places ) many times as i've been in the shopping center that houses sam woo, i've yet to try it...based on the commentary, that goes to the bottom of the list

        1. re: kjs

          I've been to Orchids Garden twice, Cathay House and Changs once. Almost went to Ping Pang Pong on my last trip, but it didn't look impressive as I saw only one steam cart roaming around.

          I thought that Changs was the best of the group, but it has been about a year since I've been there. Orchids Garden and Cathay House were both pretty good in offering the standard dim sum menus. None were overly outstanding as some of the dim sum places in the San Gabriel Valley in Los Angeles, but they are better than the average dim sum places that I've been to.

          Chang's Hong Kong Cuisine
          4670 S Decatur Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89103

          Orchids Garden
          5485 W Sahara Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89146

          1. re: Wonginator

            Just a quick note: I ate at Orchids Garden for lunch yesterday while visiting friends in Las Vegas. It was their choice...I didn't even suggest dim sum. These are future coworkers, and I was encouraged to learn they are potential hounds as well! I have to say I really enjoyed our meal. It was crowded at around 12:30pm but no real wait for a table. Everything seemed to be freshly prepared. I particularly liked their sticky rice; very tasty.

            The best news is that DH joined us, and because he had no say in where we were going didn't do his usual "I don't like dim sum" thing. And he really enjoyed it; saying he would like to go back sometime. A small victory indeed!

            Also, it seemed quite reasonable. A filling lunch for four was $41 before tip, including a "small" (enough to serve four!) bowl of warwonton soup and a couple of high end items (mussels etc).

        2. re: fledflew

          Had dim sum this past Sunday @ Cathay House and it was wonderful as always....
          steaming hot, flavorful....
          love the ribs with garlic and black bean and the brasied chicken feet....

        3. I think I've tried most of the authentic Chinese restaurants in Las Vegas except a couple, though somehow I've missed Cathay House. I believe Joyful House (4601 Spring Mountain) is the best of the bunch that I have tried. I thought the place that preceded Orchids, Chow's Cuisine, was quite a bit better the present restaurant and can't figure out why that location turned over so quickly.

          1. I've only eaten there once, but I was impressed with Dong Ting Spring, LV's first serious Hunan restaurant:

            I visited Joyful House last trip. As usual, it takes skill to navigate the menu but most of the fish and the dried string beans were excellent. The live fish are usually excellent and quite expensive.

            Dong Ting Spring
            3950 Schiff Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89103

            Joyful House Chinese Cuisine
            4601 Spring Mountain Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89102

            1. There is a little bakery in the mall area............I don't remember the name..... They had Steamed filled buns and other neat items. I bought an assortment and the pork steamed buns and lotus buns were great. There was an interesting steamed item that was glutenous rice and filling steamed in banana or ti leaf that was also good. I am a fan of this Chinatown. Everytime I visit I go here. The big supermarket is a must as well. I bought fresh lichee and jack fruit. they had a great assortment of beautiful chinese vegetables and fresh noodles. They even had durian. The restaurant to the right of the supermarket has beautiful mahogany skinned whole ducks hanging in a case. It wasnt open or I would have purchased one of those.

              1 Reply
              1. re: clamb

                It's Diamond Bakery, and the buns are still great.