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Is Lotus of Siam worth the trek for a Portlander?

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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!

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  1. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

          5 Replies
          1. re: julesrules4food

            garlic shrimp. short ribs penang. beef salad. drunken noodles. sea bass. sua rong hai. avoid the lunch buffet.

            1. re: julesrules4food

              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.

              (chefs choice)
              CRISPY DUCK
              B: with PANANG-Crispy duck topped with Thai style red cream
              curry sauce with cognac.

              Definitely skip the buffet.

              1. re: julesrules4food

                The buffet is about $10 - as Thai buffets go it is about as good as it gets. A la carte menu is better and more expensive. If money is tight you could combine the buffet with a couple of dishes from the main menu.

                1. re: kagemusha49

                  "The buffet is about $10 - as Thai buffets go it is about as good as it gets."

                  Faint praise, in my view. The food from the menu is so much better than the buffet it's not even funny. YMMV.

                  1. re: kagemusha49

                    Personally i've warned people off the buffet as I think it's not representative at all of the quality of LOS's offerings. But I suppose for a $10 lunch buffet, you could do a lot worse.

                2. Yes.

                  1. 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.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ridgewalker

                      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.

                    2. Thanks everybody for your input- I am going to play it by ear, but will keep LOS in the mix. Sounds like it is worth the trip.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Portlandian

                        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
                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/805061

                        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.