Lotus of Siam - favorite dishes
In a different thread, I waffled about where to eat for my one night in Vegas and have decided to forego Jaleo for Lotus of Siam since it has been on my go-to list for much too long.
In that regard, what are some favorite dishes. There will be two of us and I would love help designing the optimum ordering strategy for maximum tasting. He has more heat-tolerance than I do so I won't order anything that will burn my mouth for hours...
Lotus of Siam
953 E Sahara Ave Ste A5, Las Vegas, NV 89104
3708 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109
for a starter it's tough to beat the nam kao tod - a salad made with sour sausage. For a main the Northern Thai stuff us interesting - like the jackfruit curry. Everything's good. The heat can be adjusted to suit your taste - I'm up for the 9 or 10 heat - and frankly it's not a killer but you may not be ready for it. It is hard to find anything bad on the menu. One strategy would be to go for lunch and you order the buffet (which is a steal but not as awesome as a la carte) and then sample some of his dishes. The buffet dishes are not particularly hot - but you can always add spices to them.
First of all, the waiter will ask you about what spice level you prefer (from a scale of 1-10). If you don't like spicy food, I'd go for a 3.
Some other ideas:
hoh mok plar (steamed catfish w/egg, chili sauce, and cabbage). The sea bass hoh mok is even better, albeit pricier. Delicate and homey.
Khao soi (egg noodles with curry sauce and coconut milk, with pickled vegetables on the side), usually served with chicken or beef. Also served with delectable short ribs (more expensive).
LOS does a fabulous job with its charcoal grill. Perhaps the most famous example is the whole barbecued catfish (if you order this, ask politely if you can have both the chili-lime and tamarind sauce on the side -- normally, you get one). The steak is also wonderful (and the "spicy" sauce listed on the menu really isn't hot at all).
It'll probably be too late, but definitely ask if they have the sticky rice and mango for dessert. Chances are, at this time of year they will "only" have the coconut "ice cream" (actually condensed coconut milk -- not dairy at all) with sticky rice.
You can hardly go wrong with any salad or soup that looks good.
The crispy rice and sour sausage appetizer is probably their single most popular dish. It's an addictive and accessible dish.
Wadejay -- Bill once told me that the garlic chicken wings (not to be confused with the spicy chicken wings) were the least authentic item on the menu. Saipin improvised it. These wings are featured on the buffet every day, but are best eaten straight out of the kitchen. I never order the buffet at lunch, but I've been known to beg for the right to steal a few of these wings (which Jonathan Gold once mentioned as his favorite chicken wings of any kind he'd ever eaten). They are actually the first thing I ever ate at LOS, and sometimes when I'm eating wan fried chicken wings at a mediocre restaurant, I pine for them.
If you are interested in wine, LOS has a superb program, especially with Rieslings. Ask for Bank or Aa (pronounced like the letter A) -- both will be happy to guide you.
I don't know that it is worth changeing your travel plans just for the buffet. I merely suggested it because it is a steal at $10 and you can get a variety of well prepared dishes including the wings and soup and can add spices to suit. The regular menu is both more expensive (but still reasonable) and more excellent.
The menu and quality of food (at least in my experience) is exactly the same at lunch and dinner. I've asked Bill & Saipin why they haven't dumped the buffet at lunch, and their answer speaks volumes about the type of people they are -- they don't want to price out their loyal, local clientele that kept them alive during the early days of their stay in Las Vegas (Lotus was the first Thai restaurant in Las Vegas, and the Chutimas took over LOS).
So I would schedule Monday lunch or Sunday dinner depending upon your other plans.
I feel you! The bizarre thing to me is that the garlic wings are the least popular (in terms of sales) of the 3 wings offered, and I think they are the best.
I've gone the longest without going to LOS since the Chutimas took over, but I'm remedying that in December. Have fun and report back.
My favorites are as follows (cut and pasted from the online menu):
23. TOM KAH KAI (Bangkok Style)-A distinctive soup of sliced
chicken with coconut milk, straw mushroom galanga, lemon
grass and a touch of lime juice. C=4.95, B=9.95, HP=13.95
56. NUA SAO RENU-Sliced charbroiled beef served on
bed of sliced cabbage, topped with our own tamarind
sauce and fried dry chili. -- 13.95
...and under "Chefs Choice":
B: with PANANG-Crispy duck topped with Thai style red cream
curry sauce with cognac. – 20.95
Hmm. Might have to go soon.
re: Steve Green
Three of us ended up sharing the Garlic chicken wings (meh - good, but not GREAT), the Nua Sao-Renu mentioned by Steve above (very good; tender), Tom Ka Gai (exceptional version of this classic soup), and the Sai Oua (drunken noodle with sea bass - hands-down FAVORITE of all three of us; amazing dish).
I had a JJ Prum Riesling, my BF had two Thai iced tea, and a friend had Jasmine tea.
We all enjoyed ourselves tremendously and would happily return.