January 15, 2012

Thai Food in Las Vegas

It is in a rundown strip mall. The parking lot is dimly light. Nearby is an acupuncture clinic, a karaoke bar, and a few other Asian restaurants. This is a long way from the neon lights and mirror glass of the rest of Sin City along Las Vegas Boulevard. But if you love to eat and you love Thai food, this is the place to be!

Las Vegas is not one of my favorite cities. I do not gamble. I prefer quiet wine bars and cozy local restaurants to flashy clubs and trendy dining establishments. But, my husband’s family lives in this crazy city so I end up here often. On our most recent trip to Sin City I finally found my reason to like this desert oasis - Lotus of Siam.

Before eating at this restaurant I had read several reviews and blogs about it - the majority of which agreed that this was the best Thai restaurant in North America, if not the western hemisphere. In addition, many of the reviews mentioned the restaurant’s extensive wine list which features top quality bottles from around the world.

One of two wine cellars at Lotus of Siam
We parked in the dimly light parking lot. Lotus of Siam is marked by a neon sign like everything else in Las Vegas. Inside the restaurant was brightly light and bustling with activity. After sitting down we began studying the menu and the wine list. Yes, both are very extensive and worthy of studying. The choices and more numerous than a standard Thai food menu and include many dishes from northern Thailand. Luckily, the servers were very knowledgeable about the menu, as well as food and wine pairings. After selecting our food, the waiter suggested one of the many German Rieslings on the menu to accompany our dishes.

Tod Mon Plar
We began our meal with Tod Mon Plar, a fried fish cake appetizer that was served with cucumber salad and chopped peanuts. The fish cakes contained curry paste and were slightly spicy. This flavor was perfectly complimented by the sweet chili sauce on the cucumber salad. While some of the flavors in the dish were familiar to me - like curry paste and sweet chili sauce - but combined they created a delicious new experience.

Khao Soi
Next our entrees arrived - Khao Soi (northern Thai egg noodles with curry) with shrimp for me and barbecued chicken for Jonathan. My curry arrived in a steaming bowl of creamy coconut curry broth with thin chewy egg noodles and shrimp garnished with cilantro and crunchy noodles. The broth was spicy, sweet, and absolutely wonderful! I ate everything I could scrape from the bowl. Jonathan enjoyed his chicken and several samples of my noodles.

Thai BBQ Chicken
Even though we were quite full from our meal, we ordered fried bananas for dessert. These were good and very similar to Filipino turon. They were served warm and crispy - a lovely ending to an amazing meal...

Fried Bananas
A few days later, before leaving Las Vegas, we returned to Lotus of Siam. On our second visit we ordered Tod Mon Plar (fish cakes) again. This time Jonathan ordered Khao Soi (the curry dish I had on our previous visit) with beef and I got Pad See Ew with shrimp. With our food we again took our waiter’s suggestion and ordered a German pinot noir. As with my noodles a few days earlier, my Pad See Ew was delicious. Actually, it was more than delcious - it was the best Pad See Ew I have ever eaten!

Pad See Ew
Next time we are back in the city of neon lights I know exactly where I want to eat - Lotus of Siam!

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