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Jan 23, 2013 09:44 AM

Cheap Vegas trip

I will be in Vegas mid April for a Convention which is at the Gold Coast. No rental car and 2 of my 4 night there dinner is provided. Looking for mostly lunches and 2 nights dinner (one of which will be at Ping Pang Pong at the Gold Coast) They have a shuttle to the strip (and Orleans) so any place walkable on the strip that is inexpensive ($25 and under per person) but a must eat. In years past I've eaten at Mon Ami Gabi, Mesa Grill which we enjoyed and one of Wolfgang Puck's palces we didn't. Asian, Mexican, Italian, just about anything is good. I'll probably have a group of guys cheaper than me with me.

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  1. Are any of you in a group? I have driven out of towners around when they needed a ride to, or from an event that I was attending. There were several dining groups last time I looked.

    Have you looked into a rental car, may not be as expensive as you think.

    If you can get down Las Vegas Blvd to Tiffany's Cafe-across from the Olympic Garden strip club, you can get some good grub at good prices. I usually hit it after a late night of fun since they are open 24hrs. They are also on Facebook now.

    Other than that , there are a few places Downtown near the Fremont St Experience that are good like LeThai, and EAT. I haven't been in the Heart Attack Grill yet, or any of the other ones on Fremont St. The ElCortez has an off menu 8oz Prime rib special for $7.95 -- the Atomic horseradish is truly ATOMIC. Good , but you don't want to take a big hit of it unless you want your sinuses totally cleared. I learned my lesson the hard way.

    Charleston /Main area has Casa Don Juan, Bar+Bistro in the Arts Factory, and MINGOS is opening soon behind the Arts Factory.

    1. Must eat, period the end, and "very reasonably priced".... Lotus of Siam:

      especially if you have any interest in food and wine pairings. One of the best, most authentic thai restaurants in the country, and hands-down the best thai-relevant wine list w/ very knowledgeable staff. One of my fave restaurants in the USA, not just LV.

      16 Replies
      1. re: TombstoneShadow

        I just learned about Lotus of Siam here on CH about a week ago. My wife and I and a bunch of friends are going to Vegas in early June and I don't care what else I do, I'm going there. Does it require reservations usually? I can't get their online menu to open. Are their prices pretty reasonable?

        1. re: TheCarrieWatson

          The menu will be back up in a day or so (I noticed the problem and contacted the restaurant). Reservations are usually a good idea. I've never made a reservation for lunch but a friend had to wait more than a half-hour last week. I'd suggest them for dinner, especially on Friday or Saturday -- they don't have to be made far in advance.

          1. re: TheCarrieWatson

            Prices are at or slightly above any other thai restaurant, but not expensive by any means. Nor is the wine list. Keep in mind this isn't on "the" strip, it's in a semi-decrepit strip mall a short cab ride away. They've upgraded the place alot since I was first there, expanded, but still popularly priced. No dress code per se, everyone's casual. Reservation makes sense given the popularity.

            I remember the old place when the mom(?) came out from the kitchen to take a picture with us, we BYOB'd a riesling and gewurztraminer for probably $5 or 10 a bottle... the son(?) was the first guy to introduce me to wine from the scheurbe grape (a cousin of riesling), gave us a complementary pour and it matched the dishes perfectly...

            This is the place to get a group of friends together, order numerous plates of family-style authentic thai food and unless you know the pairings, let them choose the wines for you and dig-in...just a brilliant restaurant.

            1. re: TombstoneShadow

              Man, I can't wait to try this place! I plan on getting out there pretty much first thing upon arrival, since I have a feeling I'm going to want to go again (and again). We always stay in the Fremont area and often don't even go to the Strip at all.
              I love the wine-pairing idea, and I'm glad they will pick wines for you since that is by no means my forte. Thanks very much for the info .

              1. re: TheCarrieWatson

                BTW: here's their wine list in PDF:

                A few reasonably priced and likely great pairings for the food:

                '07 and '09 were awesome vintages in the 5 in the Mosel Kabinetts, a 2009 for $40, and two '09s for $45

                page 7, an '07 mosel kabinett for $55. it would be interesting for you to try an 07 and 09 side-by-side

                page 7 an '09 rheingau spatlese for $60 (a good year in rhinegau


                page 11 an '07 Mosel Auslese for $75, would also be interesting to taste a Kabinett vs. Spatlese vs. Auslese, depending on how big your party is

                Surprised I don't see any Alsace Gewurztraminers, you might inquire as they usually have several nice one's on the list.

                Not to throw too many curveballs at you but I was last there in June 2011. Apparently the former LOS wine guru has a new restaurant, see link here:

                I'll be in Vegas for the WSOP this Summer and definitely plan to try this new place out also. You might dig through the reviews on it. Here's their menu in the mean time, it's more or less in the same price range as Lotus of Siam, to give you an idea:

                1. re: TombstoneShadow

                  Thanks for these recommendations, TS. When you come during the summer, you might want to ask for Aevil (whose nickname sounds just like the letter "A"). He's now the GM at Lotus and heads the wine program.

                  1. re: TombstoneShadow

                    I just read about Chada this afternoon and that is on my to-do list for sure. Thanks for this post - for me it's like a gold-mine of information. This is the most excited I've ever been to visit LV.

                2. re: TombstoneShadow

                  Actually, the "son" was almost certainly Bank, the GM who left to start Chada Thai and Wine. And Mom was certainly the chef, and co-owner, Saipin. It's also important to note that it was her husband, Bill, who started the wine program at Lotus; he is extremely knowledgeable about wine, although his modesty keeps him from flaunting it. He mentored Bank, and Bank went on to study and become obsessed with wine.

                  1. re: Dave Feldman

                    Dave, it definitely was Bank...

                    Curious, how would you compare and contrast the 2 restaurants today... in terms of food, wine, ambiance, etc... and are Saipin and Bill still running LOS?

                    Thanks in advance!

                    1. re: TombstoneShadow

                      Sorry, TS, I misunderstood. Bank isn't the Chutima's son (his father actually owned Ruen Pair, a fine Thai restaurant in L.A. that is still going strong).

                      Saipin and Bill are still running LOS, and I expect it to remain a great restaurant as long as they do. I've never encountered a restaurant, anywhere, with such a large menu where the food is so consistently good. The wine list is still great. Prices have crept up a little, but it's hard to find Rieslings at these prices anywhere else.

                      Perhaps the ambiance is nothing special, but I so enjoy being in either room, especially at dinner, with full rooms of enthusiastic diners chowing down.

                      Chada is more like a boutique. The menu is smaller. There are more small plates, perfect for after-hour eating. It might not be quite as consistent yet, but there is a lot of good food (as per the Chada thread here) and several dishes I've never seen at any Thai restaurant I've encountered. The liquor license hadn't come through yet, and I'm hoping some Chowhound might report about the wine list. Several craft beers are available, as well as the usual suspects.

                      The ambiance is different from any Thai restaurant I've been to -- dark, spare, and hip. Modern rock plays most of the time -- at a very comfortable volume -- and even when the restaurant is crowded, somehow when I've been at Chada the mood is relaxed -- perfect for conversation.

                      1. re: Dave Feldman

                        The Chada ambience you describe reminds me of Sanamluang Cafe in North Hollywood. I call it "retro 50's diner"

                        1. re: mucho gordo

                          In size yes, but Chada has a more upscale and subdued atmosphere, the plating is more elegant, and the portions tend to be smaller.

                        2. re: Dave Feldman

                          Dave, thanks alot... somehow from your description I think I'm favoring LOS at this point if I could only choose one, it's just so classic.

                          1. re: Dave Feldman

                            If it wasn't clear, I meant to say that the liquor license hadn't come through yet when I last visited Chada.

                            1. re: Dave Feldman

                              clear as a bell. by liquor you mean hard stuff, yes? They are listing a wine list on their website now. BTW, it looks real deep and reasonably priced. Can't figure out why a thai restaurant would even list most red wines though... thanks again.

                              1. re: TombstoneShadow

                                No, Chada only serves wine and beer. But it it didn't receive the license to serve wine until about a month ago, after I was there.

                                You'd have to ask Bank about the red wine. My guess is that 1). the expectation is that some people are going to go to Chada primarily to drink wine, and perhaps order a dish or two as a snack. 2. Some of the dishes, such as the steak and the lo-ba, are probably a more suitable match for red wine than white.

                                I know that Bank's intention was to focus primarily on low- and mid-priced wines, although knowing Bank, he probably has some special bottles in the back. Lotus has always had some special bottles on reserve as well.

                3. 12 13 i guess lunch at estilario? milos 3 course menu in the cosmo be like 5x as much at dinner

                  1. I'm not sure why more people don't mention the Oyster Bar at The Palace Station. While the prices may not look "cheap" they are when you see how much food you get. And the quality is excellent. Now I wouldn't even begin to make a comparison to the likes of Bartolotta but for less than $30pp you can have a beer and a huge bowl of gumbo, pan roast or what have you. Make sure to go after 3/or 4pm and get the crab cakes. Not sure I have had a better cake in Las Vegas. The place is truly a delight to go to. Waits can be painful if you go at peak times but share time in line and go play craps. Oh, be sure to order the Bloody Mary Oyster Shooters!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: LVI

                      you should be a food writer, I'm getting hungry just from your description...

                      1. re: LVI

                        That sounds good where is Palace Station on the strip?

                        1. re: countgrog

                          Palace Station is not on the Strip. It is on West Sahara west of I-15 freeway. The oyster bar is worth the trip. It is open twenty four hours.

                      2. Try the Prime Rib Lift at the Orleans. It's on West Tropicana west of the Strip.
                        If you do not mind going downtown Triple George Grill is very good. It's also on
                        Ellis Island Casino, right behind Ballys on Koval Lane, has an off the menu $7.99 steak special.
                        The Bellagio buffet doesn't close between meals. Get in line about thirty minutes before dinner starts and pay the lunch price.