A few months before going to Vegas, JT excitedly sat me down to look at the Lotus of Siam menu. He got some hot tips from poker friends that it was the place. We were both amped since the Thai scene in PDX has been treating us ho-humly as of late.
Lotus of Siam is known to be the single best Thai Restaurant in North America by my favorite food critic, Jonathan Gold. It also got props from my pals Gourmet Pigs and the Gastronomer in addition to poker locals.
The restaurant is actually located in a Vegas strip mall, but inside it looks like a classy establishment with an exposed wine cellar on one wall and richly colored carpeting. The menu as well as the wine list are extensive and everything is moderately priced.
Rieslings pair fantastically with Thai food, so we each ordered a glass to go with our dinner. Justin selected a Spatlese Pfeffingen Ungsteiner Herrenberg Scheurebe, Pfalz 2008, which was too sweet and syrupy for my blood, but he enjoyed it as he likes those kinds of things. I choose a dry Koehler Ruprecht Kabinett Trocken, Pfalz 2009 proving to have some tropical notes with mineral and a fresh finish.
Although I am not sultry for the poultry, the chicken satay (above) was tender and full of chili-ginger-garlic-peanut flavor that I forgot I was even eating bird meat. The green papaya salad was a tad underwhelming, not just because it looks kind of sad and boring, but because the out of season tomatoes were more mealy than not and, who really wants to eat a quarter of a raw cabbage on their birthday? I suppose expectations got the best of me here, I thought this salad would be more interesting.
The complex and velvety panang curry with tofu turned the tides. The bold spice and heat was perfectly balanced by the rich coconut milk making me say Dang, I haven't had a better panang.
Although there were so many delicious looking dishes on the menu, it was a must to order a classic dish. The chicken pad thai with shrimp was fair, but not mind blowing. It might have been the too-skinny noodles or the seemingly over-mixed dish that made this version a notch above good partly due to the perfectly cooked shrimp and tender chicken.
I was hoping for some mango sticky rice for my birthday dinner "cake" but mangoes were out of season and instead a coconut sticky rice was offered, which I declined. Lotus of Siam will be getting more visits from us in the future and there will be more adventuresome ordering. Definitely, a spot to stop.
953 E. Sahara Ave
Las Vegas, NV 89104