Chada Street has only been open for a month, but we couldn’t wait. When you’re excited about a new restaurant, it’s hard to contain.
Bank Atcharawan’s first China-town-area eatery, Chada Thai & Wine, quickly emerged as one of the city’s best Thai restaurants and a true culinary hot spot when it opened in late 2012. When out-of-town critics and national foodie mags do Vegas, Chada is always among their stops. Chada Street takes this food (and wine) in another direction, specifically exploring authentic flavors served from Thai street vendors and night markets through smaller dishes with fewer ingredients.
The food focus might be more concentrated, but the space at Chada Street—located in a bustling, narrow strip mall on Spring Mountain Road—is much more open and airy than the original restaurant. Beautiful, rustic wood is everywhere, and a photo mural of street-food vendors rests above a black marble bar. At your table, a carafe of ice water is poured into metal tumblers. You’ll need it. This is going to get spicy, if you want it to.
There are bountiful seafood dishes, from simple and familiar fish cakes ($7) and fried calamari with garlic ($9) to an elaborate build-your-own wrap ($20) from a whole grilled tilapia and assorted fresh herbs. Yum hoi ($18) combines blanched oysters with lemongrass, mint, fiery birds-eye chilies, fish sauce and lime juice, and the similarly flavored larb pla dook ($8) is a spicy revelation, with chunks of tender catfish coated in rice powder, plus onion and cilantro.
Simplicity shines. A whole or half grilled Cornish hen ($8-$15) with an order of crab fat fried rice ($12) might be your new favorite lunch. The tangy house-made chicken meatball ($6) is beyond addictive, and the same goes for the crunchy chicken wings ($7). But most memorable is the sai qua ($8), a spicy herb sausage from northern Thailand eaten with fresh ginger, peanuts, onion and cabbage. It’s savagely good all by itself.
Chada Street offers more exotic curries and vegetable-oriented dishes (pea sprouts with crispy shallots and ground pork, for example) than its predecessor. But Atcharawan has wisely added a secondary menu with some plates we know from Chada Thai, like pad kee mao drunken noodles and crispy roasted duck with panang curry, for diners who need to be coaxed into this lively new experience. Maybe you have to work your way up to ka nom jeen nam ya—vermicelli noodles swimming in a complex fish curry broth—or green papaya salad with green beans, tomato and salted duck egg ($8). It’s just nice to have a another place where all levels of culinary curiosity will be consistently rewarded.
Chada Street 3839 Spring Mountain Road, 702-579-0207. Lunch: Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Dinner: Daily, 5 p.m.-3 a.m.