Just came back from Las Vegas and five more wonderful meals at Lotus of Siam. I saw no indication whatsoever that the quality has suffered since the restaurant's increased popularity.
I must have sampled 10-15 dishes I never tried before, along with old favorites. Some highlights:
Saipin's latest interest seems to be in salmon. She prepared two salmons for us during one meal, one perfectly grilled with the best Penang sauce I've ever had, the other delicately poached with a chili "salsa."
Roasted duck curry, with just the right hint of coconut milk.
Absolutely spectacular dishes made from fresh-water giant prawns flown in from Thailand. These cost more than double the price of anything else on the menu, and are definitely worth it. I could have sworn the sauce had butter in it, but Bill assured me that the richness came from the (high) fat content of the prawns.
Also had a dessert that was brought in by a relative of Bill's form Thailand. I've forgotten the name (Pepper?) but it tasted much like peanut brittle, and is always served with fresh bananas (which help to cut the sweetness). Plenty of peanuts, and a strong taste of sesame and honey, but also several grains, including corn and wheat, I think, but also a pleasantly sour grain of some sort.
A bracing mushroom salad, with a dressing similar to the wonderful tofu salad that is off-menu but always available upon request.
A few other random Las Vegas notes:
I did enjoy Kim Tar very much (thanks, Pepper!), and enjoyed the kibitzing between regulars at lunch and the friendly staff.
Finally made it to LaMars, the first time I've been to any of their non-KC doughnut establishments. They *are* the best doughnuts I've had in LV, but several of the samples seemed excessively sweet, particularly marring my old favorites, the blueberrys. But I loved the round caramel cake doughnuts (as opposed to the long johns) and the powdered sugar doughnuts were creditable.