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Bank Atcharawan's Chada Thai To Open on October 12

d
Dave Feldman Sep 30, 2012 01:22 AM

A few days ago, Chowhound QAW and I were lucky enough to sample a dozen dishes from Chada Thai, owned by former Lotus of siam manager/wine guru, Bank. It looks like John Curtas was served the almost the exact same meal the next day, and his impressions were very similar to mine: http://www.eatinglv.com/2012/09/chada...

As QAW observed, this food is tailor-made for drinking, either a Riesling or beer. The food is intense and varied. I think it was extremely smart for Bank to put an emphasis on Southern Thai cuisine, not just to avoid comparisons with LOS, but because Southern dishes are hard to find in Las Vegas, and much of it is quite different from Bangkok and Northern Thai food.

My single favorite taste was the heart in the lo-ba (a mixed grill of pork offal, which includes tongue and pig's ear), but the black pepper pork belly was a close second. The whole tilapia and the eggplant salad were also spectacular (don't miss Curtas's slide show).

A few attractions of Chada that Curtas doesn't mention:

1. Chada will be open from 5:00 p.m. until 3:00 a.m. Now there is an alternative to Raku for spectacular, classy food late-night.

2. Chada is family run, including Bank's brother, Jakrapan, the gentle giant who was such a fine waiter at LOS, is "doing a little bit of everything" at Chada, along with Bank's father and significant other in the kitchen.

3. Servings and prices are relatively small. Two or there dishes per person will be more than enough. Just a guess, but I figure $20-30 would be the average check for food (and Chada will be BYOB until the liquor license is granted).

4. In general, there is a tendency to use fatty or rich proteins with light and piquant sauces. It's a winning combination.

I'm always wary of evaluating a restaurant before it opens, but I have little doubt that if the kitchen can produce dishes like we enjoyed, Chada is going to be a hot place sooner rather than later, and deservedly so. Bank is figuring on a no-reservations policy for now. I wish I could be in town for the opening, but hope to visit ASAP.

Chada Thai is located at 3400 Jones, just north of Spring Mountain (in the same mall as China Mama).

  1. TheCarrieWatson Jan 25, 2013 04:08 PM

    I'm so glad you posted this! Going to Vegas in June, and already had plans to visit LOS (for the first time). Now I'm equally excited to try this place too.

    1. q
      QAW Jan 21, 2013 08:41 PM

      And now some particularly good news - Chada is open for lunch.

      1 Reply
      1. re: QAW
        d
        Dave Feldman Jan 21, 2013 10:28 PM

        ...and it is quite the deal. I believe you can either order ala carte or a $15 prix fixe that includes egg roll, salad, soup, steamed rice, a main dish (many different sauces with your choice of protein -- a $2 supplement for shrimp), and a glass of any of these wines:

        Marcel Lapierre Raisins Gaulois
        St. Cosme Cotes-du-Rhone
        Chateau Haut-Mayne Rouge
        Schloss Schonborn Estate Riesling
        Huber "Hugo" Gruner Veltliner
        Jean-Marc Brocard Bourgogne Blanc

        Lunch is from 11-3 p.m.

      2. q
        QAW Nov 9, 2012 11:12 AM

        Round Two, with Mr. Feldman, turned out to be another evening of great conversation (what a week for political "junkies" to rehash), gracious service, and excellent food. Still BYOB for a few moments more, but we came well-stocked.

        Perhaps the biggest highlight of the evening was an off the menu "Pomelo and Banana Blossom" salad, which combined both vibrant favors and some interesting textures - the blossom actually brought to mind a sauteed soft-shell crab. Among the other standouts were the "Pad Hed" - (Shitake and Shimeji mushrooms, with brussels sprouts and lotus root), and the sublime "Century Egg", a preserved egg with a basil/chili compliment. The creaminess of the egg really opened up for the spices to shine, and made for a delightful pairing with our second bottle of Riesling. Kudos to Bank and his crew in the kitchen, and as always to Mr. Feldman, when he graces our fair city.

         
         
         
        6 Replies
        1. re: QAW
          d
          Dave Feldman Nov 16, 2012 11:29 AM

          I ate dinner at Chada three times last week, and I'm happy to say that Chada has lived up to the promise of the pre-opening meal I tried. It was outstanding and exciting. Chada still doesn't have a license yet, but in each case we brought our own Riesling and the restaurant supplied ice buckets and wine glasses.

          Here's my primary recommendation: order items you've never tried before. The more unusual the food is to you, the more likely you'll get to sample what Chada does best. Here are some of my favorites, roughly in order of preference:

          1. An absolute knockout appetizer is the fresh oysters with roasted chili, lime, crispy onion and coarse salt. Honestly, if there was nothing else on the menu, I'd be happy to ride out here, order two of these (there are four oysters to an order), and leave a happy man.

          2. The Century Egg Basil consists of preserved eggs with basil and chili. Fantastic sauce and not funky at all. Unusual and delicious.

          3. The Moo Hong -- Braised pork belly, black soy sauce, palm sugar, black pepper. This dish is very rich but absolutely delicious, especially with sticky rice.

          4. Grilled Tilapia, stuffed with lemongrass, Thai basil and lime leaf, salt crust is gentle and clean. The charming waiters will fillet this for you if you'd prefer. I prefer this to the sea bass but the latter has a delicious chili paste topping.

          5. Pad Hed, Shitake and Shimeji mushrooms stir-fried with Brussels sprouts and lotus root
          This is a great accompaniment to some of the heavier dishes.

          Chada does offer familiar dishes such as Pad See Eww, Mussamun Curry, tom kah kai, etc.

          The menu is online now, although it has been changed slightly to make it easier to navigate. Many of the portions are in-between the usual appetizer and entree, so you have to play a little by trial and error, and we enjoyed ordering a few dishes at a time and adding more.

          To me, Chada is the most exciting new restaurant in Las Vegas since Raku opened and like Raku, it's open late night.

          1. re: Dave Feldman
            w
            westie Nov 17, 2012 03:10 AM

            Thanks for the recommendations Dave. I am looking forward to dining at Chada. I have read some early reports that the restaurant wasn't very busy. What was business like on the evenings you visited?

            1. re: westie
              d
              Dave Feldman Nov 17, 2012 10:30 PM

              There are three rows of tables, two against walls and one in the middle. All three nights, the two wall rows were full or almost full and the center row empty. Two of the night, the staff graciously allowed us to hang around after we were through.

            2. re: Dave Feldman
              janetofreno Nov 17, 2012 08:17 PM

              What's the typical price point for dinner? I HAVE to try those oysters!!!

              1. re: janetofreno
                d
                Dave Feldman Nov 17, 2012 10:40 PM

                Dishes start at $6 for some smaller plates and top off at 19 bucks for lobster tail. Some other fish dishes are in the high teens. Most dishes are in the $8-14 range. Many of the under $10 plates are small portions (often a little bigger than a typical appetizer portion) but not all.

                The fried Cornish hen is only $7 and could be a (delicious) entree. The menu is online at
                http://chadavegas.com/menu.html

                1. re: Dave Feldman
                  v
                  vegasjlt Nov 24, 2012 01:59 PM

                  We visited Chada last night for the second time. They are still waiting on the liquor license. The fresh oysters are definitely a must try. Our other favorites are the Seabass Tod Krueng - nice chili paste sauce, Panang Curry, Miang Puo - crab meat lettuce wraps and Nua Nam Tok - rib steak with spicy sauce.

          2. Beach Chick Oct 23, 2012 04:16 AM

            As a huge fan of LOS and just dined there last month, I'm excited to dine at Chada..sea bass sounds fab.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Beach Chick
              d
              Dave Feldman Oct 25, 2012 08:41 AM

              Great review of Chada from Max Jacobson: http://vegasseven.com/dining/2012/10/... The big news -- the liquor license might come through as early as this week.

              1. re: Dave Feldman
                Beach Chick Oct 30, 2012 05:44 AM

                Thanks Dave..
                Really enjoy the Seven magazine in Vegas.

            2. j
              JRSD Oct 21, 2012 09:54 PM

              I am going to try and head here this weekend while I am in visiting and since it is BYOB was thinking of bringing some really good craft beer. Since the owner has such an extensive wine pairing background, would it be reasonable to ask if he had any interest in smelling/tasting our bottles to see if he could offer pairing recommendations? Seems unlikely that he would have tried anything I would bring as it would not be anything distributed to NV and I would not be able to give very detailed tasting notes.

              7 Replies
              1. re: JRSD
                d
                Dave Feldman Oct 22, 2012 11:29 PM

                I'm guessing that the answer is yes, but I'll contact him and ask. He told me that he was interested in craft beers when I saw him a few weeks ago (he indicated that Chada would offer craft beers as well as Thai beers). Let me try to contact him and ask.

                1. re: Dave Feldman
                  j
                  JRSD Oct 29, 2012 10:08 AM

                  We had an amazing meal there on Sat and I will be back to post a full report.

                  1. re: JRSD
                    Beach Chick Oct 30, 2012 05:46 AM

                    Can't wait to hear about your meal at Chada and LOS JRSD..

                2. re: JRSD
                  d
                  Dave Feldman Oct 23, 2012 07:18 AM

                  I heard from Bank: "I can definitely help, just ask for me as I will probably be in the kitchen."

                  Hope this helps.

                  1. re: Dave Feldman
                    j
                    JRSD Oct 23, 2012 08:44 AM

                    That is a HUGE help, thank you very much! I love being able to check a suitcase full of beer for free on Southwest.

                    1. re: JRSD
                      d
                      Dave Feldman Oct 23, 2012 12:33 PM

                      Don't forget to pack a few clothes, too.

                      Bank is a modest guy, known for his expertise in wine, so if he says he can help, I'll bet he can. I'd be really interested in hearing about your adventures with beer pairings.

                      1. re: Dave Feldman
                        j
                        JRSD Oct 23, 2012 08:35 PM

                        Changing clothes is overrated!

                        I will make sure to report back.

                3. t
                  TravelScholar Oct 20, 2012 10:51 PM

                  O.M.G.!! If you like Thai food, or just well prepared food in general, then get ye to Chada Thai & Wine, and make haste!! I just had dinner here tonight, and the food just had flavour!! Some of the dishes had so many layers and layers of different sensations that it really made my taste buds dance. Chada is now one of my favourites in Vegas, and maybe anywhere.

                  Standouts:

                  MIANG POU
                  Lettuce wrap, crab meat, ginger, roasted coconut, peanut, lime and onion

                  PANANG CURRY
                  Slow cook beef in Panang curry
                  ^ Not your typical rendition of this dish. This one actually had depth to it beyond coconut milk and dried chilis. Sweet, savoury, hot, and just wonderful.

                  SEABASS TOD KRUENG
                  Pan fried and glazed with chili paste
                  ^ Chili paste was hot, but not overwhelming. Seabass was very fresh, cooked perfectly, with it's butteryness a perfect counterpart to the slightly sweet/hot chili.

                  SEN MEE KANG POU
                  Crab curry served with thin rice noodle
                  ^ Lots of crab meat, and the shellfish flavour really came through. Very well-balanced.

                  There was also a ribeye steak salad that I don't see on their web site menu (it's not any of the ones on there). It was 2nd or 3rd item from the bottom, far left hand column of their menu in the restaurant, and absolutely fabulous!!

                  MOO HONG
                  Braised pork belly, black soy sauce, palm sugar, black pepper
                  ^ Probably the weakest dish of the bunch. Not bad by any means...but just not quite at the same level as the rest.

                  The place was nearly empty when we were there (Saturday night, 8pm). There is no excuse for this. With the quality they're putting on the plate, it should be booked solid.

                  1. WildSwede Oct 15, 2012 05:12 PM

                    Thank you for the review. Think I may need to add this to my list of places to try while there next weekend!

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: WildSwede
                      d
                      Desertdoc Oct 19, 2012 10:33 PM

                      Went tonight and had an excellent meal. Too many empty tables. This place should not be under the radar. They are making excellent food and it is byob right now(ie. screaming deal). This place deserves Monta/Raku/LoS volume.

                      1. re: Desertdoc
                        d
                        Dave Feldman Oct 20, 2012 08:36 PM

                        Thanks for the report. Any particular dishes stand out?

                        1. re: Dave Feldman
                          d
                          Desertdoc Oct 21, 2012 05:41 PM

                          The sea bass was amazing. Great piece of fish and the chili paste had nice heat, but not too crazy. The green papaya salad had some nice flavor as well. Interestingly, the pad thai was also really good.

                          1. re: Desertdoc
                            d
                            Dave Feldman Oct 21, 2012 07:53 PM

                            Thanks Desertdoc and TravelScholar for these reports. I'm planning on visiting Chada in early November -- can't wait.

                            1. re: Dave Feldman
                              q
                              QAW Oct 21, 2012 11:03 PM

                              Sorry Mr. Feldman, but we could not wait until your return. Just finished an outstanding walk through many segments of the menu this evening, with a couple of wonderful BYOB rieslings to wash them down, courtesy of an out-of-town Chowhounder. This time around it included an extremely meaty cornish hen (terrific crunch from the batter), and a superb sea bass, glazed with chili paste. The tamarind sauce for the grilled squid meatballs was also a hit, and as expected, these flavors really do show an enhanced vibrancy when paired with a good riesling (or beer, although that will be saved for another time). It looks like the liquor license will be granted by the end of the month, so we can look forward to Bank's own list on your next visit.

                              1. re: QAW
                                d
                                Dave Feldman Oct 22, 2012 11:19 PM

                                OK, I give: I'm officially jealous. But I shall seek my revenge!

                                The sea bass seems to be a consensus winner.

                    2. d
                      Dave Feldman Oct 13, 2012 09:31 PM

                      The full menu is up at Chada's website now: http://chadavegas.com/menu.html

                      Have any Chowhounds been there yet.

                      One small correction: it looks like the hours have been changed from 5:30 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. 7 days a week.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: Dave Feldman
                        heidipie Oct 15, 2012 04:51 PM

                        Hey, we'll be in Vegas this Saturday--we don't go often at all. We haven't been to LOS either. Would you say either LOS or Chada would be a slam-dunk over the other?

                        1. re: heidipie
                          d
                          Dave Feldman Oct 15, 2012 08:26 PM

                          I can't compare two restaurants when I haven't been to one when it is open yet! I think Lotus is as close to a sure thing as any restaurant I've ever been to, but the idea of going to a new exciting place is a lure, too.

                          1. re: Dave Feldman
                            heidipie Oct 16, 2012 06:56 AM

                            Thanks, Dave. It was hard to read between the lines whether anybody excited about Chada was knocking LOS--glad there's such Thai bounty to choose from this weekend!

                            1. re: heidipie
                              d
                              Dave Feldman Oct 16, 2012 11:49 AM

                              I don't write too much about Lotus too much anymore here, partly because it is far from undiscovered and because I fear coming across as an unrepentant fanboy. But my admiration for the place just grows and grows. They have more than doubled their capacity, do hundreds of covers every day, doubled their staff, and yet it is remarkably consistent. I recently had four dinners there. Two of those times, Saipin wasn't even in the kitchen, yet the food was as good as ever, and as soulful. No matter how many awards it wins, or celebrities show up there, it remains a family business, with many employees working with the Chutimas for ten or twenty years.

                              That's one reason why Chada Thai's opening is such a big deal. Bank and his brother Jakrapan (aka Bon) were like part of the Chutima family. So while it's hard for LOS to lose Bank and Bon, there is no doubt LOS will thrive. And it will be fascinating to see how Chada turns out. What I did not know until this month is that Bank's father, who is involved with Chada, used to own Ruen Pair, an excellent Thai restaurant in L.A. that is still going strong. Chada is a family business, too, and I think that is part of the reason for the soulfulness of the food I tried.

                              1. re: Dave Feldman
                                WildSwede Oct 16, 2012 02:58 PM

                                Wow! Thanks, Dave for the info. Yes, Ruen Pair is highly esteemed down here and very good. I always make it a point to eat at LOS when I am in LV and cannot wait as I will be there again next week. Can you confirm that the opening of Chada is not until 10/30? I am hoping it is before that since I leave on the 28th. Thanks again!

                                1. re: WildSwede
                                  q
                                  QAW Oct 16, 2012 03:33 PM

                                  Chada is open now. But they are still awaiting the liquor license. There is a Lee's Discount Liquors not too far away at 6850 Spring Mountain, for easy BYOB access.

                                  1. re: QAW
                                    WildSwede Oct 16, 2012 04:39 PM

                                    Awesome! Thank you!

                          2. re: heidipie
                            t
                            TravelScholar Oct 23, 2012 03:50 AM

                            Both are great in different ways. Chada is a different experience to LOS. Different dishes, different flavour profile. And, I'd say the portions are a little smaller at Chada, lending themselves well to ordering more dishes and sharing amongst the table. So, no...I wouldn't say that one is a slam dunk over the other. However, at the moment, Chada gets the edge from me because the flavours were so bold, and whilst LOS was fully booked last Saturday night, I was able to get a table at Chada with ease.

                        2. d
                          Dave Feldman Oct 8, 2012 09:05 PM

                          And now Max Jacobson weighs in: http://unicaworld.com/foodwinekitchen...

                          1. q
                            QAW Sep 30, 2012 06:59 AM

                            Those flavors were great, weren't they? Perhaps it shows the influence of Bank being very "wine forward" in putting the menu together - there was a vibrancy across the board that will only be enhanced by the kind of wine program that has been almost entirely lacking along the Spring Mountain corridor. Once the ink has dried on the liquor license, we will be among the first to request a few varieties of Tasting Menu's; some Riesling flights with these dishes would make for a special evening.

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