Is Lotus of Siam worth the trek for a Portlander?
Hi! I'm visiting Las Vegas in March and am researching foodie options. Everybody raves about Lotus of Siam, but the thing is, my home town has really good Thai food. I'm wondering if anyone out there has tried Lotus of Siam and ALSO eaten at the best Thai places in Portland, Oregon? (Pok Pok, etc) If so, can you please comment on whether I should make the effort and pay for a cab ride for the off strip experience? Will it really be that mind blowing-ly better? Thanks!
lotus is the best thai i've had outside thailand where i spend as much time as possible. but don't know portland. the cab ride isn't all that far-- up the strip, right on sahara, less than a mile to commerical center--maybe $30 round trip. since eating at lotus is less money than most strip places, you probably break even or better.
I've been to both LOS and Pok Pok. Food is comparable. Pok Pok has a funkier vibe as LOS is in a basic strip center shopping center. Both are great but with all the great restaurants in Las Vegas, if you are short on time and/ or have other dinner/meals in mind, you could afford to skip it.
I haven't been to Portland since Pok Pok opened. I've heard great things about it. I have eaten Thai food extensively in Los Angeles and frequently, but less so, in Chicago, the two cities with the deepest pool of good Thai restaurants, an I feel that Lotus beats any of the restaurants by a substantial margin.
I just ate at Lotus four times last week and I can't think of another place I'd rather eat four times in one week. The menu is much, much bigger than Pok Pok, and I'd be surprised if you couldn't eat many meals there without duplicating a single dish served at any restaurant in Portland.
Okay I can't stand it. I have to try LOS. As a newbie to Thai food but who does love Chinese food but isn't the most adventurous what do you suggest eating there? Should we do the lunch buffet to be able to try numerous things? I've read that the buffet isn't as good as ordering off the menu but think it might be the way to go for a first time at Thai food.
My votes (copied from 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.
56. NUA SAO RENU-Sliced charbroiled beef served on
bed of sliced cabbage, topped with our own tamarind
sauce and fried dry chili.
B: with PANANG-Crispy duck topped with Thai style red cream
curry sauce with cognac.
Definitely skip the buffet.
I've been to both LOS and Pok Pok many times. Two of my favorites, but not really the same experience. LOS is large, bright and has an extensive menu, including many Northern Thai specialties.
The wines at LOS are also great, esp German whites.
I think LOS is worth a trip to Vegas all by itself. If you love Thai food, you should go. As mentioned by others, the buffet is not at the same level as the regular dinner menu.
Ok, having decided that all the raves about Los were some type of big joke, I'll give the menu another chance. It's not that I've found Los to be bad, just that it is slightly above average. In fact I have started going to ocha when in Vegas as I've found the food inexpensive and pretty good. Lemon grass at the aria is good but relatively expensive. I will say that it's been a while since I've ordered off the Los menu. Going later this week, will report back.
If you haven't gone yet, please don't do the buffet at all. It really isn't worth your time. I've gone to LOS multiple times a year for several years. Just did Pok Pok the first time this year. You can see my Portland trip report here where I describe the Pok Pok meal in Saturday's meal
I'd say LOS is worth the trip to compare at least one time. I probably had the reverse situation as you where I wasn't sure if Pok Pok was worth the trip given. But I felt I owed it to myself. I'm very glad I did and will return in future trips. As mentioned, it's two different animals. You may not find LOS worth repeating depending on taste, but I think it's worth at least one trip to compare.
When going to LOS, I'd suggest the Northern Menu and Chef's specialties in the back of the menu. Those would probably give the biggest contrast to Pok Pok's offerings. Good luck and hope to hear back.