Lotus of Siam Founders Pull Out

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Robert Sietsema
Northern Larb at Lotus of Siam
After a flurry of mixed reviews, husband-and-wife team Bill and Saipin Chutima have decided to leave the New York branch of their acclaimed Las Vegas Thai restaurant, Lotus of Siam. Diner's Journal spoke to their daughter, Pennapa Chutima, who said that her parents' health problems and a failure to see eye-to-eye with their partner here were to blame.

Roy Welland, who owned Cru, which occupied the Lotus of Siam space before the Chutimas arrived, allegedly pushed for a more upscale and pricey concept than the Vegas transplants wanted. According to the Chutimas' daughter:

"Our reputation at stake, as a result, we are terminating this relationship in order to protect our morals and values; also, to protect the image of my parents who have worked their hardest for the past 25 years."

The critics agreed. Ryan Sutton of Bloomberg called the new Lotus "an overpriced takeout joint." Our own Robert Sietsema generally approved of the food, but pointed out that "[d]inner -- including wine from a fiendishly expensive list -- can easily top $80 per person."

The extensive and expensive wine collection that Lotus inherited from Cru helped push up prices at the restaurant, she added. As the Chutimas take their leave, however, the pricey bottles will stay put.


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