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My Vegas Report, Part I: The best meals… (Lotus of Siam, Mon Ami Gabi)

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My Vegas Report, Part I: The best meals… (Lotus of Siam, Mon Ami Gabi)

susancinsf | May 26, 2005 02:01 AM

Just got back from a long weekend in Vegas with sister Janet. She was there for a conference at the Bellagio, but I was just along for the ride, to enjoy the pool and spa, and mostly to eat!

This was my first trip to Vegas in at least 20 years; obviously it has a changed a bit…and from the perspective of an eater, that change is for the better…

So, in that vein, I will start with the best food of our trip:

Lotus of Siam: well, of course this was first on my list, indeed based on the glowing reports I had heard from Janet, and from other hounds, it was almost enough of a reason for a visit, even without that Bellagio Spa. So, it was stop number one: dinner last Thursday night, a threesome with a friend and colleague of Janet’s.

Well, I don’t know if I can say this is really the best Thai restaurant in the US: after all, there are many areas of the country where I haven’t eaten much Thai. I can say that it beats the pants waaayyy off of any Thai restaurant that I’ve yet tried in the (SF) bay area. I took one bite of the sour sausage with crispy rice, tasted an explosion of deliciousness, and turned to Janet and said, ‘ok, we are eating here again Sunday night’. To Janet’s disappointment, there was no whole catfish available that night, but everything we tried was fresh and vibrant in the way that Thai food should be and so rarely is (at least where I live)...and delicious! And yes, we did eat there again Sunday, just two of us.

I particularly enjoyed the northern larb and the grilled beef with Thai eggplant. Great, very reasonably priced wine list, and our choices were served in Riedel glasses. You gotta love it. One more highlight: both nights we capped our dinner with the mango and sticky rice. Obviously, LOS has some type of special connection: there just isn’t any better mango on the US mainland…indeed, I haven’t eaten mango that good since the last time I was in the Mexican tropics….

Post script: both meals were the least expensive dinners we ate in Vegas. Actually, they cost less than most of the lunches I had. LOS, in addition to being a wonderful place to eat, is a great bargain! I can't wait to go back!

Mon Ami Gabi: I had a long and lovely solo lunch here on Saturday, while poor Janet had to cool her heels in a meeting…I ate inside; why anyone would want to eat on the patio with temps above 100 is beyond me! I started with a farmer’s market salad, which had haricots verts, along with fresh basil and tomatoes. It was dressed perfectly and even though it is too early in the season, even the tomatoes were good (heavy on the smaller cherry tomatoes). It was also a huge portion: a smaller eater than me would probably be happy with just a salad for a light lunch..

But I didn’t stop there. This is Vegas, after all, why be moderate? I ordered steak frites, and washed it down with a Cote du Rhone. The steak was a thin cut, flank I think, and yet cooked rare, just as I requested, with a very nice charcoal grilled taste. Very flavorful meat as well. I got it with the peppercorn sauce, probably just a bit of gilding the lily, but very yummy. The frites are very thin cut, just this side of chips, crispy, not greasy. And again, a huge portion. I didn’t even try to finish the potatoes. I can’t remember when I’ve had a better steak frites: from the first bite to the last, simply delicious…

But I wasn’t done yet! They did such a good job on the steak that I had to try one of the traditional French desserts, in my case, crème brulee. I’m a sucker for a good version, but a truly good version is hard to find, imo. Well, this was one of the better I can remember….

Obviously, this wasn’t a cheap lunch, and it was definitely enough food for two people, but at about $60 including a nice glass of wine, tax and tip, it was a wonderful way to spend my meager blackjack winnings….btw, I ordered off of the dinner menu, which is also available at lunch, so dinner would also be in the $50 p/p range depending on what is ordered, but lunch can be had for much less.

I will definitely go back to Mon Ami Gabi whenever I next get to Vegas. Perhaps Janet will come with me when she hears they have French onion soup on the menu: it was too hot for it last weekend, but Janet is such a sucker for it, so I am sure she will need to try it…:-))

Moreover, based upon the good eating I found this trip, it won’t be 20 years before my next visit. I am already plotting how to get invited to Janet’s next conference there…

Next report: the ok and the downright disappointing: Andre’s and IL Mulino…

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