Lotus of Siam – Las Vegas, USA

On the road…

Do you like Thai? The Critic likes Thai.

In Las Vegas, hidden in an ugly shopping center on Sahara called (it’s an original name no doubt) Commercial Center, is Lotus of Siam.

Lotus of Siam, if you do some digging on the internet, has a lot of fans! The accolades and magazine and major newspaper write-ups can be read in their entirety while you are waiting for a table, since they are posted in their tiny waiting room, where you will wait for a table as your nose starts to send urgent messages to your stomach as a result of the aromas emanating from the kitchen. “Best Thai Restaurant in North America” says one such article. Oh yeah, you say which magazine said that? Gourmet magazine that’s who.

The Critic does not know if it is the best in North America or Las Vegas (or even Sahara Blvd for that matter) but it is extremely good and highly recommended. A meal here will be better, more satisfying and much more delicious than someplace on the strip or in one of the hotels.

The Critic usually orders more or less the same things: the Pad Thai, which, if you are familiar with, is a complex mixture of flavors and textures when done right and a mass of peanut-y goo when screwed up. Here it’s the former. Also there is the soup, whose name once again escapes me, but it has lemon grass, coconut milk, shitaake mushrooms, ginger and is served in a pot to share with whomever is lucky enough to be sitting across from you.

Crispy duck is a must – there are three kinds, one is a little simple with Thai basil; another features a curry sauce and a third features…. something else. They are all delicious, having tried them on previous occasions, but the favorite has got to be the sauce-less one. It is such a flavor explosion in your mouth, if you include a basil leaf or two in your bite of duck, that you will think you have died and gone to heaven.

On this occasion the Critic asked for a recommendation and the waitress suggested crab salad. This was some kind of crab meat, lightly dusted and then quickly deep fried and served on a mixture of fresh salad greens that had a sweetish dressing on them. The taste of this dish was very light, fresh and delicate; have this one before the duck, definitely.

No room for dessert as usual, and the bill, with a beer or two, usually comes to under 60 dollars for two people. For that kind of money on the strip, you might get a main course for one.

Go there if you love Thai.

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