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Sep 30, 2012 01:22 AM

Bank Atcharawan's Chada Thai To Open on October 12

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:

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).

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  1. 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.

      1. The full menu is up at Chada's website now:

        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

          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

            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

              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

                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

                  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

                    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.

            2. re: heidipie

              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. 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

              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

                Thanks for the report. Any particular dishes stand out?

                1. re: Dave Feldman

                  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

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

                    1. re: Dave Feldman

                      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

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

                        The sea bass seems to be a consensus winner.

            2. 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.


              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.