If you have been wondering who would be occupying the space that was formerly CRU on Fifth Avenue, wonder no more. Lotus of Siam is taking a stake and a gamble on expanding their restaurant that sits in Vegas to Gotham City (NYC).
“Ten years ago Jonathan Gold, writing in Gourmet, called Lotus of Siam the best Thai restaurant in North America.” ~ Florence Fabricant for NYTimes
It’ll take some time for that to happen in this city, as others have tried what Bill and Saipin Chutima, the owners of Lotus of Siam, are trying to do….making a name for themselves in a city where restaurant critics and patrons are known to be harsh. Saipin Chutima does all the cooking and her husband Bill does all the talking. Cooking about a third of what their Vegas menu offers, Saipin hopes to stand out among all the other Thai restaurants in NYC (and there are a lot!).
“The Chutimas are shipping ingredients to New York, like wing beans with ruffled edges, turmeric root and rau rum, a slender herb that is at once pungently soapy and spicy. Mrs. Chutima toasts and grinds spices herself, making mixtures of coriander and cumin for noodle dishes.” ~Florence Fabricant for NYTimes
Hailing from Lampoon Thailand, Mrs. Chutima will be bringing a new flavor of Thai to town. Lampoon is in the northern part of Thailand in a region called Isan. The food there is know to have influences of Chinese and Burmese mixed in with traditional Thai. Having sampled a large number of Thai restaurants in NYC, the Chutimas know what they are up against. But what they have taken to heart is the advice of what and how “New Yorkers” eat. Instead of using her regular choice of beef, Saipin will be cooking with meat supplied by Neiman Ranch. Patrons of their Las Vegas restaurant have also told them that Amish and “Belle Rouge” chicken is the choice to stock their poultry needs.
Also something to look forward to is Lotus of Siam’s wine list (I’m thinking the old wine cellar at CRU came in handy). Though the location in NYC will not nearly have as many as the 600 plus bottle offered in Vegas, they will be trying to keep the prices lower than most other restaurants. The one in Vegas currently has prices that are almost the same as retail! Focusing mainly on German Rieslings, Mrs. Chutima doesn’t know the name of them, but what she does know is what bottle pairs well with each of her dishes.
I’m excited for Lotus of Siam to open early next month! By the looks of it, this may just turn out to be my new favorite Thai restaurant! All signs point to GREAT!
Lotus of Siam, 24 Fifth Avenue (Ninth Street); (212) 529-1700.
*Note: To read the full article from NYTimes, visit my What’s New? – NEWS page. http://amysuestastybites.com/page-8/news/
‘Eating is Believing!”