That was 13 years ago. Pailin wasn’t famous then, Jitlada wasn’t owned by Jazz and Tui then. Cancoon was around, but it was only known to Thais.
Last year, Mr. Gold wrote another ode to LoS. I spoke of this pair of reviews when I took a cooking au pair from Bangkok to Vegas last month. She smiled, but asked why there’s is an elephant in the room when we walked in. The elephant looked something like this:
Yes sir, Lotus of Siam serves a lunch buffet. Pretty sure they didn’t catch a James Beard with the slop being dished from the steam trays:
As recently as 2008, the behemoth of a wine room below didn’t exist. But back in ’07, there was already a sizeable (for a Thai restaurant) wine menu. And as the years wore on, this became more of a thorn in Lotus of Siam’s existance as far as I’m concerned. I keep asking: Why is this necessary? Well, for one, wine makes money at almost no cost except stock and space. It’s of little comfort the clear focus since 2008 for Lotus of Siam has been growing the wine profit. The wine cum Thai food model has been so success the “sommelier” — why doe a Thai Issan restaurant need a sommelier — has gone on to open his own Thai wine bar.
Number three: a celebrity photo wall. With nary a Thai person except the owner. Now, an astute fella would recognize the same git-up at another infamously famous Thai restaurant in Los Angeles, Jitlada. I don’t have a good retort except to say, the photo frames at Jitlada are strewn about haphazardously, as if an after thought. Here at LoS, the celebrity is methodical and annoying.
Number four: the trophy wall. The praise keeps coming, and the restaurant keeps resting on the laurels. It’s a vicious, vicious cycle. There’s no need to maintain any sense of quality or old-world tastes when the US media keeps latching onto the same few sentences (and dishes) from 10 years ago. Instead of improving and bringing more Issan dishes, the nam prik ong literally tastes like pork bolognese now. It packed nearly NO heat, no taste of prik khing curry. This was a bowl of pure shame. And to quote the cooking au pair: “this doesn’t taste Thai.”.
The kaeng som was even a bigger bowl of depression. There’s hardly any tamarind, no funk from, no body. This place is a sham. Why do people keep going back?