Sunday, November 15, 2009

Las Vegas: Lotus of Siam

Lotus of Siam needs no introduction. With MANY accolades displayed in their small waiting room to the known long lines you have to endear if you didn't make a rezzy, this is the place to be if you want Thai-Issan classic food (other than going to Thailand itself).

This is Thai cuisine at its finest, which is located in a strip mall off the strip. Don't let its looks deceive you.

See the James Beard Foundation nod on the far left. Yup, Chef Saipin Chutima was nominated for Best Chef of the Southwest in 2008. This is the real deal and every foodie should take notice. Serious eats: Lotus of Siam should be on your to-do list.

When you walk into the dining room, you'll notice three distinct dining areas. In the center of the room is the main dining area and off to the left and the right are two sets of booth-like tables. The third dining area is located at the front of the restaurant (south-end). Having a reservation or not, you'll be seated in the next available table.

On the west side of the room, you will find an array of photos in frames with what we thought were famous and not to famous people who dined here.

The decor and decorations were minimal unlike other Thai restaurants that we've been to where they've transformed their restaurant into a mini Thai village.

Thai Iced Tea - $4.00

First off, we ordered a pair of Thai iced teas. I had thought about ordering a Riesling from their extensive wine list but for this trip we wanted to go with the classics.

Tom Yum Kung - $4.95 (cup)
Hot and sour with shrimp, lime juice, lemon grass & straw mushroom.

Tom Kah Kai - $4.95 (cup)
A distinctive soup of sliced chicken with coconut milk, straw mushroom galanga, lemon grass and a touch of lime juice.

Beef Pad Sw-Ew Noodles - $8.95
Stir-fried flat rice noodle with egg and Chinese broccoli with black soy sauce.

Shrimp Pad Thai - $8.95
Thai small rice noodle stirred fried with egg, green onion, bean sprouts and chopped peanut.

Chef Special: Garlic Prawns - $19.95
Deep fried prawn with shell and sautéed with our special garlic sauce, topped with ground black pepper.

Sea Bass with Sa-mm Rod Sauce - $22.95
Deep fried Sea Bass, topped with sweet, sour and spicy sauce.

Coconut ice cream - $3.00

I wish we had a larger party of about 4-6 people so that we can order more dishes and serve it family-style. Maybe next time.

By the time we left the restaurant, the small waiting room was filled eager diners waiting to devour great Thai cuisine. The strip mall was a hustling and bustling with people, cars and cabs.

Would we be back? Definitely! I'm glad we got to experience Lotus of Siam before its major renovation which is coming up in two weeks. By the time it reopens in December, we'll be back in Vegas. We can't wait!

Things to know:
  • Lotus of Siam will be open on Thanksgiving Day but will close the day after until December 23, 2009 for renovations.
  • Reservations are HIGHLY recommended for dinner. Call 702.735.3033 at least one day in advance. You should also call before you arrive to reconfirm your reservation.
  • If you don't have a reservation, try to arrive when the restaurant opens at 5:30pm. Expect to wait 30-60 minutes on the weekends.
  • The restaurant is located in a strip mall off of east Sahara Ave. There is no signage from the street to show you where the restaurant is located. The strip mall is between State St. and Market St. Make a right into a small street called Commercial Center Dr. If you pass S. Maryland Pkwy, you've gone too far. Click here to see a map.
  • Don't worry about parking. There are many spaces available. What you should worry about is actually getting a table.
  • Dress code: Casual.
  • Price range: $$
  • If possible, bring a large party (about 4-6) so that you can order more than 4 dishes.
  • Lotus of Siam has a notable wine list for German Rieslings. Apparently, your go-to guy for wine pairings is Suchay "Bill" Chutima (Saipin's husband and owner).
  • Spicy levels: 0 to 10. 3 was mildly hot. Get a Thai iced tea to cool off your tongue.
Lotus of Siam
953 E. Sahara Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89104


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