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May 17, 2013 12:06 AM

Raku vs. Lotus of Siam and perhaps a Buffet brunch

Meeting my brother in Vegas next Tuesday. Have reservations at Raku (dinner or midnight) and Lotus of Siam (dinner). Could be only two of us -- hoping he can recruit more from his convention. Have been to LOS before, so don't want to miss Raku if he gets tired or loses at the tables.

What are the best dishes at Raku? He eats anything -- I'm not crazy about foie or offal. Stick with the grilled skewers or get into noodles, etc? I'm looking forward to the chicken breast with crispy skin -- lambchops or beef worth trying?

Just doubtful that we would be up for two roundtrip cab rides in one evening....

Lotus of Siam -- best dishes there? I'm not afraid of spicy -- I like grilled, stir-fried, and deepfried dishes. Big fan of mee krob as a starter. I'm more tempted to go to LOS early (7) and Raku later if we have more than two.

I fly out at 1:30 so I'm thinking a brunch buffet at 10-10:30 so I can finish and catch a cab by noon. I called the Cosmopolitan and was told their Wicked Spoon costs $24 for lunch weekdays. I've read some reviews which like the small portions, presentation, and desserts. I hit the Bacchanal at Caesars Palace last October for breakfast and liked it a lot. Staying at the Hard Rock -- they have a shuttle which drops off at the shopping center (sorta near Wynn/Encore) so I could be dropped off there shortly after 10...

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  1. For me, Raku's tofu alone is worth a flight to Las Vegas.

    1 Reply
    1. re: foggy_town

      Totally agreed. Get the tofu two ways. I found the chicken underwhelming, but had a wonderful special of yellowtail belly.

      Raku hands down, especially if it's just going to be the two of you.

      When my man and I went to LOS, we were a bit bummed not being able to split more than 2 apps & 2 entrees.

    2. At Raku, if you like uni, get the uni seaweed soup. It was fantastic! I also really liked the duck skewers, grilled yellowtail, and surprisingly the enoki wrappped with bacon, that was well executed. The ground chicken don was good too. Really enjoyed the housemade tofu, but I've had a lot of fresh tofu, so it wasn't that special, to me. The only dish I didn't think was very good was the uni/ikura/radish dish. Even though I love uni, that dish just didn't work for me.

      1. We ended up going to Lotus of Siam for a relatively early dinner, and then after hitting downtown we made it to Raku for a latenight meal.

        LOS was great. Ordered the sour sausage with crispy rice (#14) on the rec of our server as a starter. Good dish, interesting flavors and fun textures. Entrees were the duck breast in a panang curry and the deepfried prawns over drunken noodles. Duck was boneless with a wonderful crispy skin, very tender and rich, and the curry was great -- spooned it over white rice and also over the noodles from the shrimp dish. Prawns were huge and generous -- there were at least four huge butterflied and that many big, long shelled portions with the legs and shells attached. Only mistake was too little spice -- server told us a "3" was equivalent to Tobasco (nowhere close) so next time we'd ramp it up. Brother ordered a nice German wine where the sweetness complemented the meal.

        Raku was much smaller than I'd imagined -- we were early for our reservation, so after a wait got seats at the counter. My tastes are limited, so I loved the robata skewers -- the chicken breast with crispy skin, the skirt steak with crisp garlic (outstanding, juicy, a bit fatty), the pork cheek (very good), the ground chicken (billed as a specialty, we found the flavor and the texture to be bland). We ordered a special of two types of Spanish yellowtail sashimi (6 slices each, $31) and he had one of the special tofus. Enjoyed the greetings on entrance and exit, and the service and understated decor (loved the pottery).

        Didn't make a buffet. For lunch after arrival I walked a long ways to get to Bouchon, only to find out they do not have a french onion soup on the menu. Made do with a big, crisp, excellent oatmeal raison cookie from one of their bakery shops. Went to downtown for gambling and walking around and gosh, it was happening on a Tuesday evening. Tons of people in the street, rock band playing, street performers, costumes, and the light show. Revelation.