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Mar 25, 2008 08:07 PM

Las Vegas-first time to Lotus of Siam-what to order?

My husband and I will be at LOS for dinner this weekend. We've been reading the menu and it is quite varied, especially the Northern Thai dishes. Any recommendations on what to order for a first time dining experience? We are adventerous and are open to anything!

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    1. I gotta tell you. We went for the first time in Dec. and we were not impressed. We ordered somethings we were told to get and somethings recommended, by the staff, off the northern (?) Thai menu. OK at best.

      That said they have an unbelievable wine list. We were standing at the pouring station and the co-owner (?) let us try some open wine. Very generous and knowlegable.

      5 Replies
      1. re: The Old Man

        Same thing happened to us last year. Went in without a gameplan and took the recs of the waiter which all ended up being deepfried, heavy and not impressive or memorable. I'm still excited about going back with some good recs on what to order being that there is so much positive written about it.

        1. re: climberdoc

          Yes, I want to try it again with list in hand. I so much wanted to be blown away.

          1. re: The Old Man

            Thanks for all of your replies, I did do a search of the boards on this restaurant ahead of time, and it was a lot to weed through since there is so much written on it here! I appreciate themis taking the time to narrow it down to the most pertinent threads.

            I'm always a bit skeptical of restaurants with too much hype, but I'm looking forward to Lotus of Siam considering the many glowing reviews here. I'll give a report on our return.

            1. re: PattyOh

              To help you feel a little more comfortable about the hype aspect, it is worth noting that Saipin Chutima was just named one of the five finalists this week for the James Beard award for "Best Chef - Southwest". The others were Sharon Hage - York Street (Dallas), Ryan Hardy - Montagna (Aspen), Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson - Frasca (Boulder), and Andrew Weissman - Le RĂªve (San Antonio). It is a nice tribute to be elevated to that kind of company when basically running a "mom and pop" place in a dilapidated strip mall.

              1. re: QAW

                As good as it is (and I'm a huge, huge fan - one of my favorite places anywhere), it ain't fancy so don't get your expectations too out of whack. Go in open & I think you'll end up loving the flavors.

                I almost always order the crispy rice & sour sausage appetizer, the softshell crab salad (special) and the some form of coconut ice cream (with our without mangoes depending on season). Other than that, we tend to listen to specials & take advice from the folks there.

      2. Two dishes that I've enjoyed recently: the northern-style spicy chicken soup and the tofu salad. I had never considered either until someone else ordered them when I was with a group....and I loved them both!! (and I don't even like tofu!!!). DH has grown so fond of the soup that it now replaces his long-time favorite Tom Yum Goong. And when I suggested we take my son and his GF to dinner there when they were visiting Vegas his first words were "Can we have the tofu salad?"

        1. Our favorites are the crispy rice and sour sausage appetizer, the Thai beef salad (the best I've ever had), and when in season, the mango and sticky rice for dessert.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Michelle

            All are good, agreed. And even if the mango isn't in season, get the sticky rice with the coconut "ice cream" (its made with coconut milk) and if you must the fried bananas. Myself, I don't eat anything having to do with bananas, but the rest of my family very much enjoyed them when we ate there last Saturday night....

          2. I've finally had a chance to get back on this board to post a follow up on our meal. We had a fantastic dinner experience.

            Based on the recommendations on this board as well as from local ladies waiting to be seated behind us, we started with the crispy rice and sour sausage appetizer. This was a real flavor explosion with nicely contrasting textures, a great way to start the meal. We then had the two specials of the night: a crispy duck in red curry with a cognac cream finishing sauce and the drunken noodles with seabass. The curry was the best we've ever tasted, really complex without being too hot or overpowering, I'd go back for that dish anytime. When we got the drunken noodles, we weren't too impressed by the looks of the seabass that looked deep fried and dried out, but one taste changed everything. The fish was light, moist and very fresh. Even though we had no room left, we still got the sticky rice with mango and coconut icecream to share and it was worth it.

            At the end of our meal, I realized as mentioned here that everything we ordered had a fried or crispy element to it. But we didn't find anything greasy or heavy, and the textures complemented the dish.

            Service was very good. Even though we ordered thai beer, our server brought us each a tasting of wines with each of our courses, a very nice touch.

            Thanks to all for your suggestions.

            9 Replies
            1. re: PattyOh

              Thanks for reporting back, Patty -- that's the best way to pay us back! It's nice to hear that the fresh mango is back for dessert.

              1. re: Dave Feldman

                It certainly is...especially since DH told me tonight that he has a brief errand Thursday evening in the neighborhood, and that if I accompanied him he would treat me to LOS afterwards.....

                I think I'll try something I've never had before and report back....any suggestions for something different?

                1. re: janetofreno

                  Sort of hard to reply when I don't know what you've had. But I was just looking at the LOS menu and I realize that I don't think I've ever had the combination beef noodle soup (#109), which sounds like it might be what is more commonly called boat noodles. If it isn, you're in for a treat. Also, the barbecued beef is wonderful. It's remarkably light. So is the raw shrimp.

              2. re: PattyOh

                Okay. Now I'm starting to get a bit skeptical of LOS after you comment about the fried/crispy element. Hopefully some Chowhound will set me straight. The one time I dined there, I took the advice of the waiter on what to order and ended up with 5 dishes all deep fried including the "crispy" rice. I'll preface this by saying that I just don't do deep fried food. As a climber, general fitness fanatic and Chowhound, I've had to give up on deep fried food. The grand revelation is that it really was not a great loss. Anyway, I'm excited to give LOS another chance, but I have no desire for the deep fried extravaganza I had to stomach last time. Is a great meal at LOS possible for me?

                1. re: climberdoc

                  Lotus can actually be ideal for someone that wants to eat healthy - my single favorite post-workout meal is their Chicken with Fresh Ginger (great for the digestive system). But since I work out a lot (and also eat about 10 meals per month from there, mostly carry-out), I have found a lot of other items that really work if I want to stay "on track". Any of the Larbs; many of the salads (Spicy Beef, Papaya, Straw Mushroom, and the Glass Noodle "Yum Woon Sen", to name a few); the Catfish Num Tok (or Salmon, when they have it); and any of the Scallops preparations (Garlic Pepper, Red Curry or Chili Mint are all light touches that bring a lot of flavor). And for a healthy way to enjoy some protein, a steamy bowl of En Tuan (hot & sour beef and beef tendon) is hard to beat. A whole charbroiled catfish is also a healthy way to enjoy a lot of flavor (they bring several different sauces on the side) if there are dining companions along.

                  1. re: QAW

                    Thanks QAW!

                    It's back on the list for my June trip.

                    1. re: climberdoc

                      While I can't say I avoid all fried food, I try to keep it to a minimum as well. Eating relatively healthily while on trips to Vegas can be a challenge but I've managed to not gain even one pound during our last several trips while still enjoying myself and feeling like I'm splurging. At LOS, one healthy dish we've enjoyed is the spicy shrimp salad which I think is pretty light. Once we tried the jackfruit curry from the northern menu which I think was reasonably healthy - we ordered it too mild on the spice scale though, only a 3 or 4 I think, so it was too bland. If I ever get it again I'll definitely up the spice level. But whatever you do, save enough calories for the sticky rice dessert - I'd give up a noodle dish for that dessert any time.

                  2. re: climberdoc

                    For what it's worth, the sea bass in the sea bass and drunken noodles special is fried, yes, but not like you might expect. It's not battered and fried. The sea bass alone is quickly flash-fried. When it's done right (and this was when we had it), this type of fried food is actually *very* low in fat. Lower than a comparable stir-fried dish would be. Alton brown explained it well once--in his corn dog episode, I think?

                    In general, I'm not too interested in fried foods. But this was truly excellent, and not at all what most people imagine when thinking of "fried" food.

                    1. re: modthyrth

                      I agree, the sea bass in that dish didn't seem fried at all, though it was. Truly an excellent dish.