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For years I have kept an eye on some of the restaurant options in Las Vegas. Being that I love a good meal, and I have been to the city numerous times, I have tried several of the restaurants in Vegas. Food is pretty important for me as it isn’t just a way to avoid being hungry, but we also like to be sure and expose our kiddo to foods beyond basic macaroni and cheese. For years I have been meaning to visit the highly rated Lotus of Siam for their famed and award winning Thai food. However, it is (very) off-strip, and thus my well-intentioned plans usually gave way for something more convenient…until now.
This time I grabbed a friend and cabbed it to Lotus of Siam for lunch while my husband stayed behind to lead a conference call from the hotel room. The cab ride was about $20 – $25 each way from the South end of the Strip, so this is a place that would be cheaper to get to on a trip where you had a rental car.
It is in a very nondescript shopping mall, so if you aren’t headed there on purpose there is little chance you would stumble upon it. I think that is actually part of the charm. I have heard you really need reservations at dinner, but they don’t take reservations at lunch. We got there around noon on a Thursday and had no problem being seated right away. They offer a buffet as well as a menu at lunch. While I do enjoy the variety that comes with a buffet from time to time, I wanted to order off the menu in order to enjoy fresh food that was cooked for me.
I’m pretty sure most, if not all, of the awards and stories written about them (as shown in their entry way) were earned from ordering off the menu.
I fell in love with Thai food while living in New York City several years ago, but I get virtually none these days living in East Texas. I wouldn’t even begin to pretend to be a Thai food expert, but I can tell you the difference between bad food, good food, and great food. This food was pretty great at pretty fair prices.
I also know enough to know that I wanted some recommendations on what to order on their very extensive menu. I have read many posts on sites like Chowhound, but I found this post particularly helpful with narrowing down the menu. We also got some recommendations from the waiter. Here is what we went with:
Nam Kao Tod (Crispy Rice with Sausage):
If you have never had it, know that crispy rice is different than fried rice. Each individual grain of rice is a bit crunchy. I think the texture is amazing, but do know going in that it isn’t fried rice. I thought some of the flavor from the herbs was a little strong, but overall I thought this was an interesting and delicious dish.
These fried shrimp were juicy and sweet and not at all fishy or tough. They were very fresh and I could have eaten a mountain of them if my stomach and wallet were big enough. They did leave me smelling like garlic for quite a while, but I think that was a small price to pay.
It may not be “cool” to order pad thai in a Thai restaurant, but since when was I ever cool? It is one of the few “Thai” foods I can get in Texas, and so I was happy to try it at what is considered a good Thai restaurant. The flavors in it were all very good – better than most for sure. However, I have to admit I have gotten used to some level of sweetness in pad thai thanks to eating the Americanized versions, so I missed not having that in this dish. There are more adventurous dishes to try for sure, but not sure you can go wrong with this stand-by.
Mango Sticky Rice:
We were so stuffed by the time we got to dessert, but I was not leaving without mango with sticky rice. It is rich, creamy, and full of flavor. The mango was actually so fresh that it was a dessert all by itself, but add in the rice and sauce and it was amazing. I highly recommend saving room for this dessert.
My friend and I split the cost of lunch (she wouldn’t let me steal the bill and earn more points!), and I think we each paid about $25 + tip for the items above. If our goal was simply to eat lunch instead of try several different items, we could have easily spent less and ordered less and still have been full. The prawns are the most expensive item we ordered at about $22 each, but they were one of the highlights of the meal that was filled with deliciousness. The mango sticky rice was my second favorite item we tried that day.
Best Thai food in Vegas?
Gary from View from the Wing was in Vegas the same weekend I was and instead of visiting Lotus of Siam again (he had been there before), he headed to neighboring Komol and he offers his opinion of that restaurant here. In fact, he says it is even better than Lotus of Siam. I’ll have to visit it next time and find out if I like it better – the only hard part would be not just going right back to Lotus where I had a fantastic lunch. They also have an extensive wine list that I have yet to try for myself.
While in Vegas was also enjoyed pretty extensive dinners at the new Hakkasan at the MGM and Shibuya, also at MGM. While Lotus of Siam was much more affordable than either of those, I will write a few thoughts on those restaurants in a future post in case anyone is considering visiting them on a future Vegas trip.
In the meantime, have you eaten at Lotus of Siam or Komol? What was your favorite?