Monday, March 7, 2011

Lotus of Siam: Best Thai Food?

I have a deep rooted love for Thai food.  I’m surrounded by it in my neighborhood and find myself eating it at least 3-4 times a month.  I had heard Lotus of Siam, an apparently legendary Thai restaurant in Las Vegas (some have praised it as being the best Thai restaurant in the nation), was opening up a location in New York City.  An authentic Thai restaurant over 150 dishes deep in Vegas, the newly opened NYC location had an abridged menu and higher prices.   In my honest opinion, extravagant Asian food doesn’t make sense.  It’s an oxymoron.  Traditional Thai food isn’t meant to have all these extra bells and whistles.   This is my long-winded way of saying I was initially a bit hesitant at trying this restaurant.

I don’t regret a single bite.  My friend and I shared two dishes and both were absolutely delicious.  I still think it’s overpriced for what it is, and I get that rent is high on 5th Avenue, and anywhere else in Manhattan for that matter; but in any event, I probably won’t be a repeat customer.  And it looks like the creators agree – Bill and Saipin Chutima abandoned this venture back in January according to Diner’s Journal stating it’s against their original vision: “homey and affordable.”  I wish owner Roy Welland listened. Anyways, back to the most important part, the food!

Chilean Seabass "Drunken Noodle" served on stir fried flat rice noodles with a spicy thai basil sauce: The Chilean Seabass was deep fried, tender, flaky goodness topping off the equally tasty spicy drunken noodles.

Braised Shortrib Penang shortribs braised with cinnamon & star anise in a penang curry sauce: The shortribs…what words can describe these shortribs?  If there were a bone, these would have fallen off of it.  The slices of shortrib were so tender that there was no need for a knife.  The outer crust of the shortrib had a spicy kick to it and the penang curry sauce gave it that traditional flair.

Service: Not bad, could be better.  It was a busy Friday night, but that shouldn’t compromise the service.  It took a while for our initial drinks to come, and when I asked the bus boy if I could order a drink, he snapped back that I should order from my waitress. 

Ambience: Somewhat trendy, energetic.  Nothing in particular shot out at me with the décor – one thing I noticed that was very cool was the kitchen doors that opened automatically.  Open sesame! 

Score: 4 out of 5 piggies. The food did not disappoint.  But will I pay the price and go again?  Maybe if I am really craving that seabass, but most likely not.  I’m going to stick with my faithful Wondee Siam or Pam Real Thai. 

Lotus of Siam
24 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10003
(212) 529-1700


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