After moving to Las Vegas, my husband, Frank and I found all kinds of eateries; we took advantage of graveyard specials and cheap steak dinners. We had all sorts of options, yet we were missing Chinese food. Despite all the choices, none we tried served up dishes like we grew accustomed to back in Chicago.
We had no idea it would vary so greatly, we were in for a quite a surprise when we tried Chinese food in Las Vegas. Egg rolls like we knew them didn’t seem to exist. Everywhere we went we tried spring rolls, small, crispy and flakey with cabbage and carrot. Some were quite good, but they never satisfied the craving for a true egg roll. Fried rice we came across was light in color and lacked zest. It was bland, served with peas and carrots. And the sauce for sweet and sour chicken was thin and red.
The Chinese food we knew and loved had egg rolls that were fried until they blistered and were filled with shrimp, pork, cabbage and they had a hint of peanut butter. They were packed with flavor. Fried rice was always dark in color and rich in flavor, peas were never added, it only had carrots, egg, bean sprouts, onion and your choice of protein. Shrimp was always my preference. Sweet and sour chicken or pork was served in an orange thick sticky sauce. There were a handful of other dishes we loved, but these were the ones we found with the most inconsistencies. The differences were puzzling to us. We knew what we wanted but we didn’t know what set it apart.
We tried restaurants in Chinatown on Spring Mountain Rd., on the strip, off the strip – you name it – some claimed to serve Cantonese, while others boasted Szechwan or Hunan, but none seemed to have what we were looking for. Our search went on for more than five years, until, one day when Frank had a working lunch at Victorian Room inside Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall and Saloon. When he learned that in addition to their café menu, they also offer a variety of Chinese dishes on a separate menu. He ordered all the dishes we had been in search of, and much to his surprise he found dark fried rice and egg rolls filled with shrimp, it was only the sweet and sour dish that was lacking, while it was good, it wasn’t the thick orange sticky sauce we longed for.
After his lunch, he shared his joy with me. I was envious and knew I had to try it for myself. We went for lunch one afternoon. The fried rice was as close as it could be. I felt like I had struck gold. We’ve been going ever since.
Lately, the Victorian Room, has been running an all you can eat promotion priced at $9.99 available 11am-11pm daily. It’s your choice of Singapore noodles, chow mein, pork chow fun, sweet and sour chicken or pork, lemon, Kung Pao or general chicken, or stir fry vegetables served with rice, egg drop soup and a fortune cookie.
The shrimp fried rice I find scrumptious is also $9.99. The shrimp are not the shrimpy ones you often find; these are nicely plump medium shrimp. It makes the regular price quite a value. The egg roll is ridiculously priced at $9.99 for one at dinner, but during lunch (11am-5pm) prices are discounted it is $5.99. Still pricey, but it’s worth it every now and again to satisfy a craving.
On a recent visit, I enjoyed the shrimp fried rice, and Frank chose the Kung Pao chicken, from the all you can eat selection. The Kung Pao has large chunks of chicken and veggies in a slightly spicy sauce. We’d prefer it to have more heat, but we realize it’s probably just right for most. Either way, it was a tasty dish.
There are not many places you can dine on the strip for less than $25 for two, but you can at the Victorian Room. It’s an unlikely place for Chinese food, but their offerings are quite good. Additionally, it’s special to us, since it offers familiar flavors of Chinese food we enjoyed while living in Chicago.