August 17, 2000
Lotus of Siam
953 E. Sahara Ave.
I dont' know anything about Issan-Thai food -- but my best guess is that it reigns supreme in the land of hot cuisine. As long as I'm admitting ignorance, you should know that I've never eaten Issan-Thai food before, so I have no basis for comparison, but I can say with authority that the Lotus of Siam, an old reliable in the Commercial Center, is now serving the best Thai food I've ever eaten and I've eaten lots of that, but this place is something else.
Lotus of Siam has always been one of the few reasons to go to the landlord/tenant war zone that is the Commercial Center. For years I've gone there for the bargain lunch buffet and the occasional dinner when I wanted to spice up my life, but not too many surprises. I don't know if the owner has changed, but the chef sure has, and the food will make you rethink the same old same old which characterizes all Thai menus. Soups, stews, curries and vegetables are done to an eye-catching and palette-challenging tee--or should I say, a fiery fare thee well. If you're not ready to have your tongue seriously tickled, you'd better go to another restaurant. There's no gringo-pleasing tomfoolery here, just a list of menu items that push the pain/pleasure envelope to new heights of taste exotica and erotica. Don't be frightened pilgrim, they'll tone things down on request, but I say go for the full Monty if you want to feel why hot peppers are still thought to be an aphrodisiac. It's no secret that capsicum--the chemical that puts the zing in peppers--may also do the same to your love life. It releases certain endorphins that tell you that you're feeling good. So, if you're looking to put some ram in your rammadammadingdong, I suggest making a beeline to the Lotus of Siam for a plate of koy soy--that's raw beef coated with dried hot peppers in a pool of sweet lime juice. That, my friends, should light your fire.
This is John Curtas.
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