Sunday, June 25, 2017

I Had Better Food at Aria's Lemongrass than at Lotus of Siam

I thought I knew what to expect at Lemongrass.

It is, after all, an Asian restaurant inside a casino. Past experiences with other Asian restaurants inside other casinos told me I was in for yet another ham-fisted attempt at Thai, Chinese, or a combination of the two. And it was going to cost me twice as much as what I'd usually pay at an actual Thai or Chinese joint.

But when you're given hotel credit to be spent on food and your choice of where to spend it includes restaurants from Michelin and James Beard-award winning chefs, you have to settle on what will stretch your money the farthest.

So Lemongrass it was, because even in a high-priced Vegas casino like Aria, Asian food is always cheaper than the next alternative.

However, I'm glad to report that Lemongrass did not suck. In fact, it was spectacular.

The pineapple fried rice we ordered was light enough on the curry powder that it left a good impression rather an overpowering one. The pad see ew was textbook, with the gailan crisp, the meat velvety, and the noodles absorbing not only the sweet soy seasonings but the "breath" of the wok.

And there was a crab omelette that had so much crab meat, every bite was like discovering a trove of buried treasure.

Best of all was the chicken larb, which was so spicy, so funky, so well-constructed of fish sauce, rice powder, lime, and tons of chilies, that it made me question my entire way of thinking: Asian restaurants inside casinos CAN BE good!

I would even say this particular experience was BETTER than the last time I ate all the usual Issan favorites at Lotus of Siam, Vegas's highly lauded Thai restaurant. And it had nothing to do with the fact that this meal was essentially free!

ARIA Resort & Casino Las Vegas
3730 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109

2145 Pizza - Costa Mesa


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