Lotus of Siam, Las Vegas

by Heguiberto on June 14, 2012

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Lotus of Siam seafood soup

Lotus of Siam seafood soup

The April issue of the Saveur Magazine is themed “The Las Vegas Issue: a guide to the world’s hottest dinning destination.” Sin City includes all types of indulgences and food plays a significant role in the experience. Saveur covers a whole bunch of restaurants from different cuisines on and off the Strip. Many of them ship fresh food in by air from all over to the heart of the desert. Like everything else in this town, extremely decadent.

the somewhat underwhelming Lotus of Siam storefront

the somewhat underwhelming Lotus of Siam storefront

Because I love Thai food I couldn’t help but notice an article about Lotus of Siam, a Vegas Thai restaurant off the Strip that, according to the author, has been consistently making authentic Thai food for many years. Apparently Chef Saipin Chutima has a legion of fans.

This past week we went on vacation to Arizona (more to come on that). On the way back we scheduled a 24-hour stay in Vegas. We took the time to enjoy some of the stuff the city offers: shopping, shows (we saw Cirque du Soleil’s “O” at the Bellagio) sightseeing and of course, food. We skipped gambling as we all know the house always wins. The food part leads me directly to a late lunch at Lotus of Siam. In a word: wonderful.

me in front of the famous Welcome to Las Vegas sign

me in front of the famous Welcome to Las Vegas sign

Hoover Dam and Lake Mead are some of the many attractions in the Las Vegas area

Hoover Dam and Lake Mead are some of the many attractions in the Las Vegas area

As I mentioned the restaurant is located off the Strip though not too far away. We had a car so it was relatively easy. You could take short cab ride. Had it not been a hundred degrees then you could probably even walk though like LA, I don’t get the sense that anyone does that much in this town.

Lotus of Siam interior

Lotus of Siam interior

From the outside Lotus of Siam was a bit underwhelming. In a huge and fairly depressing strip-mall, the place looked like a hole-in-the-wall dump. This isn’t the kind of spot that you’d think would enchant Saveur. Inside the restaurant is very large and amazingly had two large glassed-in wine cellars. I cannot recall ever seeing that at a Thai place before. The article did mention that you can have a beautiful multi-course meal here with wine parings. We stuck with Thai beer.

white wine cellar at Lotus of Siam

white wine cellar at Lotus of Siam

For lunch at least, Lotus of Siam offers a Vegas-style all-you-can-eat buffet and the option of ordering off the menu. We went for the later.

First to come was the seafood hot pot. The broth was hot, sour, and sweet, with herbal tones imparted by mint, Thai basil, fresh ginger, cilantro, and lemon grass. It had mushrooms, mussels, bits of salmon, shrimp and bay scallops. We ordered it “medium spicy” which was about right until we got to the last dregs in the bowl. These were fiery. I loved having this soup with sips of Chang beer.

Next we had the seafood salad. This had squid, shrimp, more mussels, iceberg lettuce and a number of other ingredients that have slipped my mind by now. It had a zippy sweet, salty, sour and spicy sauce which contrasted well with the coolness of the lettuce. Delicious, the sauce was so good that I reserved some to drizzle over my fried rice that was about to arrive.

flavorful seafood salad

flavorful seafood salad

For the main course we ordered a dish of vegetable Thai fried rice and steamed sea bass. The fried rice was perfect, flavorful and light. I ate most of it because I can get a bit greedy with rice sometimes. The sea bass was steamed on a bed of Chinese cabbage and young celery leaves. It had a beautiful glossy look. The fish came with a lively sweet, smoky, spicy sauce that reminded us somehow of Thai-style Mexican salsa.

beautiful veggie fried rice

beautiful veggie fried rice

Lotus of Siam sea bass

Lotus of Siam sea bass

intensely flavored Lotus of Siam sauce for sea bass

intensely flavored Lotus of Siam sauce for sea bass

By then we were stuffed to the gills so dessert was out. Overall, we enjoyed ourselves at Lotus of Siam. The food was tasty and ample. However I think that the sea bass and probably at least some of the shellfish were previously frozen: not a huge problem but they do taste different that way. The service was good and the atmosphere pleasant. Certainly locals know about this place as it was quite crowded. A banquet in the middle of the desert! Kudos to Saveur for turning us onto this excellent place.

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