Le Thai, Oh My!
If you haven’t already noticed, I’m partial to Asian food. So, remember that when I say: Le Thai is the best restaurant in DTLV (downtown Las Vegas). I know, I know, there are a few other super and wonderful eateries in the DTLV region, but let’s talk about Le Thai.
Le Thai has a distinct advantage over the other restaurants in the area: you can smell the aromas busting out of their tiny kitchen within a two block radius. This is particularly dangerous at 2am on a Saturday when you are dancing on the roof of Commonwealth and the aroma hits you–is there anything better than a steaming bowl of spicy noodles after 6 gin & sodas?
I crave things. Lots of things. Diverse things. Anything from gelato to soup. Le Thai serves the single dish that I regularly crave with a vengeance: Pad See Ewe. Now, I realize that Pad See Ewe is almost as ubiquitous as Pad Thai. Believe me, I’ve tried many, many other Pad See Ewes and, to my palate, Le Thai’s stands above all I’ve experienced. It’s substantially different and significantly better than all others. Undoubtedly the best component of Le Thai’s Pad See Ewe is the sauce: a “sweet soy sauce” with lots of garlic and chilies thrown in. When this sauce hits the sizzling wok, it immediately caramelizes, which makes for a delicious deep and layered flavor. Wide rice noodles, egg, chicken and Chinese broccoli get sautéed in this magical sauce and, voila, everything is right with the world.
At my most recent Le Thai visit, my friend and I feasted on two other noteworthy dishes: the Short Rib Fried Rice and the Papaya Salad. The Short Rib Fried Rice is genius. This ridiculously savory bowl of rice is loaded with tender, perfectly cooked de-boned, braised short ribs chopped into small pieces, so each bite is loaded with beefy goodness (and you don’t have to struggle to cut the meat with your chopsticks!). Tiny minced onions are the supporting actors for the beef, their presence adds a nice crunch to the rice. Benevolently, the chefs at Le Thai allow you to choose your spice level for most dishes on a scale from 1-5. For the rice, we chose 3, and it was perfect. The spiciness is a slow progression of heat which allows you to fully appreciate the deep flavors of the dish while also getting a nice kick from the chilies. Easily the best fried rice I’ve ever had.
Next up, the Papaya Salad. The fresh, light crispiness of the green papaya was a delightful balancing-dish to our entrees. The papaya was thinly julienned and tossed in a sweet-sour-savory sauce with some Thai green beans and tomatoes. I wanted a little boost in flavor, so I poured some of Le Thai’s Waterfall Sauce on top and used the spice rack to add a bit of a kick to the salad. The Waterfall Sauce is named after the effect the sauce has on your salivary glands; the vinegar, cilantro, sugar and green onion literally make your mouth water. Next time I will ask for extra peanuts, but overall it was a great addition to our meal.
Other great things about Le Thai: $8.95 lunch specials, daily happy hour during the week, a variety of curries, Waterfall Beef, Thai-style Chicken Wings, Thai Iced Tea AND Thai coffee!
Inside tip: if you’re going during peak hours, make a reservation.