All I can say is wow.
I had the distinct pleasure to be present at Dave Feldman's banquet at Lotus on Saturday evening, and I must say that Lotus of Siam exceeded my expectations.
I don't remember everything that was served, but I will list my highlights:
The first dish was the crispy rice with sour sausage. Since there was a vegetarian at the table, they also made one with tofu, but the consensus was that the dish with sausage was superior. The rice was excellent and bursting with flavor. A perfect way to start the meal.
Beef jerky: wonderful texture and layers of flavors, definitely try this one. She also made a version of this with chicken that was similarly outstanding, and a little less chewy.
Shrimp with bacon, wrapped in won ton wrapper and fried: While good, this dish was not up to the standards set by the other dishes. If I got this at the chinese place down the street, I'd love it, but at Lotus I don't think this showed off the chef's ability.
Fried pork skins: The pork skins were nothing special on their own, but were served with a green chile condiment which might have been the spiciest thing I have ever put in my mouth. Outstanding.
Sauteed jackfruit with pork: This was one dish that blew me away. It had a myriad of different tastes, and was just outstanding. It was served with tiny baby onions (shallots?) that added the perfect balance with the heat of the dish. Dave tells me that this is on the Northern menu at Lotus... if you go, don't skip this one. Be warned, however, it was extremely hot.
Shrimp curry: I was so full by the time they brought this to the table, but I HAD to have a bite of it. The shrimp were more like little lobster tails, and the curry sauce was creamy and perfect.
Whole Catfish: The other dish that I will be dreaming about for months. You have to understand, I am from Alabama, and when I heard people rave about the catfish at Lotus of Siam, I had to suppress a doubtful chuckle. I am no longer chuckling. The whole fish is seasoned and fried until the outside is dark and crispy, with a remarkable flavor. The flesh underneath is silky smooth and wonderfully moist. This dish absolutely knocked my socks off.
Soup: After the rest of the entrees, they served a soup made with a leaf that they explained is very hard to get, so the soup can only be offered about once a year. The broth was delicious with the flavor of the leaf, which was not unlike spinach, but slightly more sour. This was a very nice way to end the meal.
Sticky rice with mango: We were lucky enough to get this dish, which is not offered all the time. The comment I made while eating this was that either the rice or the mango on their own would be outstanding and a fitting finish to the meal, but together they just took it to another level. Just perfect, and if I imagine it hard enough I can still taste it. I understand that Bill is VERY picky about the mangoes that he will use, and it shows in this dish.
We were lucky enough to get a visit from Saipan (I think that is her name) even though the dining room was very busy. She was very gracious and very humble about the spectacular meal she had just treated us to.
Please please please go to Lotus of Siam when you are in Las Vegas. I think they are starting to get some tourist business, as I noticed 3-4 taxis pulling up in the front as we dined. Next time I want to try the wet larb, but will definitely repeat the jackfruit and the catfish.
Thanks to Dave Feldman for setting this up and for inviting me to join you. If you want to see a picture of Dave, just look on the wall... at the end of the meal, they gave him a picture of himself taken with a group, and asked him to autograph it.