Lotus of Siam
953 E. Sahara Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89104
M-Th: 1130-1430 lunch; 1730-2130 dinner
F: 1130-1430 lunch; 1730-2200 dinner
Sa-Su: 1730-2200 dinner only
Reservations recommended one day in advance for dinner.
Lotus of Siam is one of those Asian strip mall restaurants that looks very unassuming from the outside. In fact, the strip mail is set up with its back to the road, so until you actually drive in, you can't even see it. It's there. Look for the mall sign saying 953, pull in, turn right and drive along the strip mall. It'll be about halfway down.
I went for lunch, when their $8.99 buffet is featured, so I can't say whether it's "the single best Thai restaurant in North America", as Jonathan Gold of Gourmet magazine claimed. The steam-table isn't kind to food, so I'm sure I didn't sample Lotus of Siam's dishes at their best. Despite this handicap, they managed serve rather good food.
Highlights included the Spicy Chili Mint Chicken, with basil, green peppers, broccoli, onion, cucumber, and ground chicken. It did have quite a bit of heat, but it wasn't an overwhelmingly spicy dish. The spice was one constituent of a very complex and delicious taste. The Pad Thai was also notable, sweet with a noticeable but not overwhelming bite.
I also enjoyed the Tom Kah (sic) Vegetable soup, with cabbage and baby corn. It had the kind of spiciness that creates a warm glow, which went well with the creaminess of the soup.
The overall impression I had of these dishes was of tastes in balance: not too much pepper, not too much basil, even not too much cilantro for me as a soap taster.
Lotus of Siam managed to deliver a good meal via steam table. I can only imagine what they're like when you actually order dishes from the menu.