David Wong’s Pan Asian
Vietnamese Chicken Ravioli – Chicken, Shiitake Mushrooms, Celery in Wonton Skin with Sesame and Chili Sauces
Green Papaya Salad – Roasted Peanuts, Garlic, Tomatoes, Green Beans, Carrots, Sweet Lime Dressing
Beef Pad See Yew – Pan Fried Flat Noodles, Chinese Broccoli, Black Soy Bean Sauce, Egg
Chicken Drunken Noodles – Pan Fried Flat Noodles, Basil, Garlic, Onions, Tomatoes, Green Beans, Bell Peppers
Chicken Stir-Fried Linguini – Asparagus, Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, Garlic, Basil, Onions
Basil Fried Rice – Shrimp, Chicken, Tomatoes, Onions, Garlic, Basil, Green Beans, Bell Pepper, Egg
Beef with Green Curry – Green Beans, Bell Peppers, Basil, Coconut Milk served with Jasmine Rice
Duck with Red Curry – Pumpkin, Chinese Eggplant, Grapes, Cashews, Bell Peppers, Basil, Coconut Milk served with Jasmine Rice
Beef with Panang Curry – Green Beans, Bell Peppers, Basil, Coconut Milk with Jasmine Rice
Tucked away in a tiny shopping plaza on South Durango Drive it is likely that many have driven past David Wong’s Pan Asian dozens of times without even noticing the Restaurant is there, and yet in reality the kitchen has been serving the West Side of Las Vegas for over six years while also amassing a fairly large number of Chefs and industry folks who consider it a part of their regular dining rotation.
A Husband and Wife operation, he the business end while she does the cooking, it was as part of a group of nine including two children that several smaller tables were combined to form one large space on Saturday night just past 7:00pm, the arrangement accounting for more than half of Pan Asian’s Covers on this particular night though at least three-fold as many came and went over the course of ninety minutes with call-in or online orders.
Called Pan Asian based on an embrace of several styles of cooking ranging from Vietnamese to Malaysian to Thai, the menu having undergone many changes over the years based on old pictures and reviews found via Social Media, Autumn 2017 continues to see David and Lisa largely focused on Thai dishes such as Drunken Noodles and several styles of Curry, a chalk board of specials hanging overhead adding another five or six choices to a double-sided laminate with prices so low that one wonders how the place continues to offer such large portions without having raised prices more than a few cents over the last few years.
Employing one additional server in addition to the Husband and Wife in the kitchen, her demeanor exceedingly pleasant as she kept up with water and share-plate requests effortlessly while also packaging and acting as cashier for numerous take-out orders, it was after a lengthy perusal of the options and accounting for two guests deferral of Pork that a two-course order of nine plates was requested, five Thai Tea’s and three additional orders of Rice pushing the total bill to just $22 per adult including tax and tip.
Using good ingredients and working as a very small team, Mr. Wong joining Lisa at the stove to make sure everything came out as requested in a short amount of time, it was after no more than fifteen minutes of talk as one of the youngsters watched College Football on the television that the first five plates were delivered 2-2-1, the Green Papaya Salad starting things off with a good bit of heat at “Level 6” while the Vietnamese Chicken Ravioli felt a little one-dimensional with Celery blunting the flavor of both finely ground Chicken and Shiitakes.
Immediately happy that someone had suggested Thai Tea to begin, the Sugar and Cream helping to quell bold spicing when transitioning from plate to plate, it was immediately on the heels of the Ravioli that two plates of Flat Noodles were presented next, the Pad See Yew recommended by Carson Kitchen Chef John Courtney packing a lot of funkiness thanks to the fermented Black Beans but still letting the thin Beef show while the Drunken Noodles bested World Famous Lotus of Siam in terms of not only flavor, but also by possessing less oil and a lower price.
Rounding out the Noodles with thin “Linguini” stir-fried similar to the Pad Kee Mao but with Asparagus Tips in place of Green Beans it was with share plates refreshed that a trio of Curries plus a generous portion of Basil Fried Rice were next presented, the Rice an all-around crowd pleaser with plump Shrimp and chunks of Chicken Breast hidden amidst Grains that were generally fluffy but occasionally crisp plus plenty of spices and good Produce.
With many at this point already starting to get full and family-style helpings decreasing dramatically for some it was nonetheless with wide-eyes that all took in the golden Duck resting in a pool of creamy Pumpkin Curry, the $21.95 daily special $6 cheaper than Lotus of Siam and far better executed with plenty of crispy skin and supple Flesh to go around, the sliced Beef in both Green and Panang Curries also very good though fairly similar to one another save for the fact that the Green version was a bit more spicy while the Panang was subtly nutty.
Finishing off the remaining Jasmine Rice with residual Red Curry, only a few spoonfuls of the Green returning the kitchen at meal’s end, it was with most too full for Dessert that the check was requested, a shock to all when everything rang-up at just over twenty-dollars each including tax and a 20% tip for a lot of good food, attentive service and such a pleasant evening.
FOUR AND A HALF STARS: Called by two independent local Chefs “a hidden gem” while several at the table lamented having either never known about the place or having not been back in so long there is no doubt David Wong’s Pan Asian belongs on the short-list of Las Vegas’ best bargain dining in addition to receiving some “Best Thai” nods, though obviously both the size of the space and the menu indicate David and Lisa have no interest in challenging the likes of Lotus or Chada in terms of breadth or creativity.
RECOMMENDED: Duck in Red Curry, Beef Pad See Yew, Basil Fried Rice, Beef in Panang Curry.
AVOID: Vietnamese Chicken Ravioli.
TIP: Online ordering and phone-ins available, Open 11a-9:30p Monday through Saturday even though the website suggests they are open Sunday.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.