Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lotus of Siam - Review

Updated: The original creators have left the restaurant


Lotus of Siam - Dude Grade: B-
24 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10011
Phone: (212) 529-1700

I love me some Thai food. It's such an exciting cuisine where it marries heat, sweet, salty, and sour leading for some big flavor bombs. My golden standard used to be Sripraphai in Woodside, Queens but it has been dethroned by this newcomer. Lotus of Siam originally opened in Las Vegas and it was roundly praised as the best in the city and some even said best in the country. Now, the chef/owner (Saipin Chutima) is opening up a branch in NYC and we are definitely lucky. Definitely the best Thai food I've had in the tri-state area and recommended from this dude although the prices are a tad high.

Our Menu

Tod Mun Plar ***
A WTF caliber fish cake with great flavor and texture - uber fluffy. You could really taste the fish with the spices enhancing the fish cake perfectly. Add the refreshing and bright red curry and cucumber salsa and you're in heaven.

Kao Pad Kra-Pao
stir fried rice with fresh chili, garlic & thai basil
The wife and I tend to like Thai fried rice since it's satisfying and generally really flavorful. This however was pretty bland. No salty, sour, sweet, spicy thing going on. Just rice that's barely seasoned.

Pad Thai *
The wife loves pad thai, so we always get this dish. This was riding the borderline of greatness as the texture of the noodle was ridonkulous - chewy and uber satisfying. Also, the texture of the ingredients were spot on. Unfortunately, this was slightly on the sweet side which was a little bit of a bummer. Still a very good dish.

Kang Dang **
red curry made with fresh & dried red chilis, coconut milk, thai basil & bamboo shoots

My usual go to dish is a red curry and this is one of the best versions I've ever had. Great creamy texture and a big punch in flavor. Also, surprisingly the rice texture and flavor were awesome - uber satisfying.
Tapioca Pearls ***
Couldn't find the dessert menu anywhere online, so didn't get the name; but this was a big time WTF dessert. I never think about ordering dessert at a Thai restaurant, but this piqued my interest and I was rewarded with a texture and flavor bomb. The texture of this thing was great with a nice soft chewy thing going on with the pearls. Also, the dish was creamy and slightly sweet - not too sweet. An overall awesome dish.

Sticky Rice **
Another great dessert that was pretty satisfying. The rice had a nice chewy texture backed by a subtle sweetness. The egg custard thing on top tasted exactly like the chinese egg tarts (dan tat), but with a more a fluffy egg texture. Pretty delicious.

Rating System
--- What the F - in a bad way | (no stars - poor to average) | * Good | ** Great | *** What the F – in a good way

Overall Restaurant Experience
  • Food (B+) - Generally pretty delicious food and surprised that the desserts were WTF caliber. Watch for the spice though, since my wife thought each dish was a little too spicy for her.
  • Service (C+) – Food came out very quick although the servers didn't seem very pleasant.
  • Atmosphere (B) – They didn't change anything from Cru's original decor - maybe new chairs? Still the same decor with lots of variations of blond and dark brown wood. We got there at 7:30pm on a Tuesday and were seated immediately. Even with the snow outside, the place was completely packed. There were more groups than couples and the age varied widely from 50's to 20's.
  • Price (C) - Prices are a bit expensive for Thai food. About $18 for a thai curry where you can generally get that for $13. Is it worth the $5 difference? I believe it is not, but it was still a very tasty curry dish. Also, a lot of entrees are in the 25-30 price range with some people complaining about the portion size - I didn't mind though.
Closing Comments
Sripraphai used to be the king, but the quality has slipped over the last 5 years. This place is the king for me now and although the prices are a bit high, I will definitely go back to try the other dishes - especially the entrees.

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