With all due respect, those who diss the food at Lotus (with the exception of Jet Tila), don’t know what they’re talking about. And even Jet doesn’t put it down…he simply doesn’t find it as extraordinary as some of us do.
For the record, ELV and his staff have eaten here dozens of times over the years, are known to the management, and have endured service lapses like the rest of you. But we’ve always paid full boat for our meals (with an occasional glass of wine thrown in as a “thank you” by the management). We’ve also eaten in every other Thai restaurant in town, and don’t know where else you can find the variety and the freshness and the vivid flavors put forth by this kitchen on a daily basis. (Those who judge this place by its lunch buffet are missing the whole point of the restaurant.)
That “point” is the northern and Issan specialties (all in English on the menu), done to their full extent (but gringos should avoid asking for them “Bangkok hot”), and paired with the extraordinary rieslings that make the wine list the best German list in the country.
Concerning “Bangkok hot” (or “10” on a 1-10 scale), be forewarned: ELV (on a personal dare with himself) asked for the squid salad (pictured above) to be seasoned to an “8” and it took him six big glasses of ice water and two Thai iced teas before he could speak or breathe normally — after only three bites!
In his profile in the New Yorker last November, Jonathon Gold (the Pulitzer Prize-winning author who has called LOS the best Thai restaurant in the country) said that such extreme degrees of heat in Thai food create an almost “hallucinogenic effect” that allow the vibrancy of other flavors to come bursting into your brain.
We at ELV don’t no nuthin’ ’bout know hallucinations — at least not since we dressed like this — but we can tell you that the rush is something to behold…but not something we’d recommend for anyone with a heart condition. When done right (like it was with our squid), the shock and awe of the heat blankets your mouth with chile while creating this massive spike of endorphins that let you appreciate the interplay of flavors and textures even as it threatens to overwhelm them.
Great Thai food takes this can’t stand the heat/must have another bite/attraction/avoidance principle(s) to a level other cuisines never approach. It is one of the great joys of eating Thai food, and it is a joy in Las Vegas to have a restaurant where they know how to play these pain/pleasure pipes with perfect pitch.
LOTUS OF SIAM
953 East Sahara Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89104-3028