On 26 January 2002, thirteen Angelenos sailed into Las Vegas to dine at Lotus of Siam. As best we can reckon, we had almost thirty dishes, drank a gallon or two of Singha beer, two bottles of 2000 Marcel Deiss Gewurztraminer and were enchanted by the attention shown us by the restaurants manager, Bill Chutima. Two of us had spent the preceding weeks planning the menu, and the food was terrific. The consideration shown the two vegetarians in our group by Bill and the restaurants chef, Renu Chutima, was gratifying. Not only were fish sauce and shrimp paste held in abeyance for a number of lovely dishes, entirely new dishes were prepared using unusual vegetarian combinations. While we opted to bring our own wine, the waiters chilled and presented it ably. (By the way, do not try to get a corkscrew onto an airliner as part of your carry-on luggage.) We dined on jackfruit larb, pomelo with Thai eggplant and green spongy vegetable, fishcakes, an extraordinary pork stew, a variety of differently prepared chicken wings, chewy and deeply flavored beef jerky Issan style, very spicy squid salad, Thai papaya salad with chunks of freshwater crab, a briny and crispy mussel omelet (a Thai hangtown fry), several catfish whole and sliced, red snapper with curry paste, fish egg and sliced cabbage, Panang charbroiled salmon fillet served with a creamy curry and cognac sauce, seared scallop with red curry sauce, a savory deepfried tofu dish, sautéed vegetables and broad rice noodles with a dark and pungent sauce, a light and fresh mushroom salad and, for dessert, bananas deepfried in springroll wrappers with coconut ice cream. What the restaurant calls prawns are another creature entirely: they look like small lobsters and come with a spicy curry sauce. As we chatted with Bill after the meal, he plied us with exquisite Rieslings and Sauternes from his fine cellar and urged us to come to Lotus of Siam for another banquet soon. If we do, we'll again be breakfasting at Lenôtre Patisserie at the Paris casino, where the croissants float above one's plate and the fruit-filled chaussons are a comparable miracle of puff pastry.