Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lotus of Siam: best Thai in a strip mall?

Chicken Satay

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


JustinM said...

Damn, I would want a whole head of cabbage for my birthday, but I can see your point. I'm glad you liked it so much. (BTW I went to many Thai restaurants in Portland when my brother was in college because he loves Thai food, and I was always underwhelmed.)

Gastronomer said...

I totally dig this place. Next time, I recommend the drunken noodles with crispy duck. I loved this dish so much on my visit. XO!

weezermonkey said...

I don't like green papaya salad.

There. I said it.

Esi said...

I'm convinced that the only good Thi food comes from random strip malls

Helen said...

I like Thai food too but it's hit and miss in my city. Last time I ate Thai, I had some serious heartburn. I love green papaya salad and make it often in the summer months....along with the stinky fish sauce haha!

Anonymous said...

If you haven't been to Chiang Mai in Portland you are missing out. AMAZING northern thai dishes, super friendly people and reasonably priced.

Banana Wonder said...

JustinM - Hah, I know what you would do with it... and it's always reassuring when other Angelenos concur with me on the Thai front.

Cathy - Duly noted! Can't wait to go back.

Esi - Word!

Helen - I need to make my own green papaya salad.. that is what is going on this summer when it is hot.

Anon - Yea, I have been to Chiang Mai and I wasn't a fan, but I might have not ordered the RIGHT dishes. What do you recommend?

layana said...

Those look delicious. I think I need to go to Lotus of Siam and try out those Thai food. I love everything with tofu.