Next time you’re in Vegas you MUST try The Lotus of Siam. ( http://www.saipinchutima.com) Actually, I would almost do the four hour drive from LA just to go this family-owned restaurant. (With a quick visit to my favorite Goldfish slot machine, of course.) What an experience! Outstanding, authentic, and simply deeelicious Thai Food. (Ranked #27 of 3877 restaurants on Trip Advisor) And reasonably priced, too.
I discovered this hidden gem on Top Chef Masters, when some celeb chef was singing its praises. I thought it would be a fun place to take my brother Neville, and his wife, sweetheart Petra—visiting from South Africa.
Can you tell which one’s my brother? (or boet as they say in SA)
Cuz, Dale who lives in Vegas, and her boyf, Will were good sports and braved it too, and happily everyone was impressed.
It’s about a 15 minute car-ride from the Las Vegas Strip in a nondescript strip mall. The lineup of cabs out front is the first sign that the general public have caught on, and if you don’t have a resy you could wait for hours. The walls are covered with magazine articles and Zagat Ratings. The gorgeous wine cellar is another clue that this isn’t your average hole-in-the-wall.
We took our server’s recommendations, and each perfectly balanced dish was interesting, with huge depth of flavor.
Here are some of my faves:
Crispy Garlic Prawns
Giant garlic prawns. And I’m not talking “shrimp.” These are the real deal: meaty, gorgeous, deep fried with crispy shells that eat like chips. (I don’t usually do fried, but these were definitely worthy.)
Beef Short Ribs
The short ribs are un.bee.lievable. Fork-tender and tasty, with lovely, light, fresh noodles. (I could easily have polished that one off myself!
Crispy Duck Panang Curry
I’ve never tasted such succulent and tender duck. The curry sauce didn’t over power, and despite being pan fried it wasn’t too rich.
Green Papaya Salad (Healthy Pick)
If you haven’t tried this before, it’s not what you’d expect. I’m not a huge fan of fruit in salads, and this can be misleading because when you think papaya you think sweet fruit, right? But the green, unripe papaya is crispy and fresh—fab way to sneak in some greens. I couldn’t actually find this on the menu, but since it’s something I always order at Thai restaurants (and it was on the server’s top ten) it was a no-brainer.
It was a little embarrassing to order Pad Thai (which you’ll find at any Thai restaurant in the US) at this exotic establishment, but hubby, Sam, had to have at least one safety net. And I thought it would be good to have something for comparison and contrast. This Pad Thai was simply the best I’ve ever had—not too sweet and perfectly balanced.
Seafood Soup (Healthy Pick)
I was skeptical because seafood soup can be bland, but not this one! In fact, it set most of us on fire, so we sent it daring brother Neville’s way. But again, very flavorful and certainly the most healthy choice of the night.
And fun to watch it being dished up.
Is this a perfectly balanced plate, or what?
We’ve eaten at Mario Batalli’s Carnevino, Gordon Ramsey’s Steak, Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill and other $100/ head institutions, and Chef Saipin Sutima (with recipes from her grandmothers and her husband’s grandmothers) beat the bunch. (And it didn’t hurt that it was $30/head)
In all honesty, I wouldn’t have minded some alone-time with those short ribs or the shrimp, but it did feel nice not to get up from the table feeling stuffed.
Oh, and love the peppermint patties for a 25c donation. Perfect ending to a perfect meal.