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Dec 7, 2012 07:37 AM

Lotus or Chada

First time eating at a Thai restaurant in Vegas which one must I choose? Thanks.

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  1. You aren't providing much context. How much Thai food have you eaten, and are you familiar with Northern and Issan food? This isn't a matter of quality but of the differences in menu and style. LOS has a huge menu, and the execution is amazingly consistent despite this. LOS offers the usual Bangkok cuisine, but also offers any Issan and Northern specialties. But it is a bustling place, albeit with usually caring and efficient service. Chada is quieter (despite often playing rock music at a comfortable volume), with a much smaller menu, with some forays into Southern Thai food. Many of the dishes at Chada are small plates, perfect for trying a bunch of dishes and sharing. Chada just obtained its liquor license, and I'm sure Bank is thrilled to finally get started on the wine and beer program there; Bill Chutima and Bank set up a phenomenal wine program at Lotus, and now Aevil and Penny are continuing to study and provide wonderful wines.

    It's hard not to recommend LOS for a first-timer, especially anyone who hasn't eaten extensively in Thailand or at least a great Thai-food city like Chicago or Los Angeles. Nothing has happened in more than a decade to disprove Jonathan Gold's contention (which he reiterated in Saveur this year) that LOS is the best Thai restaurant in North America. It's my favorite restaurant in Las Vegas, or possibly anywhere. But I don't want to minimize how good Chada has become in a very short time span. Along with Rich Table in San Francisco, it's the most exciting new restaurant I've tried in 2012.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Dave Feldman

      You've raised an interesting point, Dave. I love Thai food yet I've never given any thought as to the style. I suppose it's like the difference between Hunan and Cantonese Chinese food. The places in L.A. I'm familiar with are Sanamluang Cafe and Sri Siam but I have no idea what the style is. What are the differences?
      I now live here in Las Vegas and haven't had Thai food yet as LOS is a bit too far from Summerlin.

      1. re: mucho gordo

        My thai food experiences are only the few mom/pop type places in my area. My husband has traveled to Bangkok twice recently and has enjoyed their food but I would not say we are very well familiar with the different types of cuisine. I am just trying to figure out which would be the better dining experience for us.

        1. re: mucho gordo

          I grew up in Los Angeles and have very fond memories of Sanamluang Cafe, and it's homey food. It's been years since I've been back, but places like this and Sapp are dear to me. I don't think I've ever been to Sri Siam -- I just checked the menu and it looks exciting. Both places seem to have mostly Bangkok-style food. I don't read Thai, but it's hard for me to know what many of these dishes are without seeing them the Thai transliterations.

          I drive from Summerlin to LOS and vice-versa all the time. It's a shorter drive than from Sanamluang Cafe to Sri Siam. :-)

          1. re: Dave Feldman

            Sri Siam is excellent, Dave. You will seldom see "round eyes" in there. My favorite dish from Sanamluang is their Cha-Po. I have no idea if it's Northern, Issan, Southern style or what nor can I tell the difference between them.
            As for driving from Summerlin to LOS, I'm 73 with some physical limitations and try to stay away from the strip, especially at night. If you ever need a dining companion, let me know and I can guarantee you parking in a handicapped space.

            1. re: mucho gordo


              My email address is in my profile. Why don't you shoot me an email with your contact info and the next time I'm in Las Vegas, it would be my pleasure to pick you up and drive you to Lotus or Chada and back. Maybe we could even have a little Chowhound meetup of locals and any tourists in town.

        2. re: Dave Feldman

          I totally agree with Dave's opinion on Chada. The food was so good with quality ingredients we had two meals at Chada in three day trip last week. Along with Julienne in Santa Barbara, Chada provided one of the best meals I've had in 2012.
          As Dave explained, you cannot lose at either Chada or LOS. If there will be just two of you I will point you to Chada. You can try more dishes since Chada have smaller portions hence lower price for each dish. If you will have bigger party, it's hard to beat LOS's various and well prepared dishes.