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October 20th, 2010 Ethan Smith | Food Reviews & Stories
 

Lucky Strike: Restaurant Guide 2010

     
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Dinner 4 pm-midnight Wednesday-Friday and Monday. Lunch and dinner noon-1 am Saturday, noon-midnight Sunday. $ Inexpensive.
[SZECHUAN CHINESE] A meal at Lucky Strike used to entail a trek through the crucible of strip malls and payday lenders to Southeast 123rd Avenue and Powell Boulevard. But that changed in June, when Lucky Strike abandoned its modest dining room for far more central digs at Southeast 39th Avenue and Hawthorne Boulevard. The food remains phenomenal. Jiaozi dumplings, plump with savory pork and cabbage, nestle in a pool of ruddy chile sauce. A mound of verdant Chinese chives hides chunks of pork belly studded with ginger and mouth-tingling Szechuan peppercorns. And Lucky Strike’s signature “hot pepper chicken bath” lives up to its intimidating hype, with angry-looking red chiles spilling from the plate with each stab of the chopsticks. A survey of Lucky Strike’s new space does not bode as well as the grub. The decor is a tawdry caricature of Far East aesthetics: deep-red walls, gaudy gold chandeliers and, writhing across the back wall, a Chinese dragon that would be at home on an Ed Hardy belt buckle. However, despite the tacky decor, despite the syrupy cocktail list (Lucky Strike gained a full bar in the move), co-chef-owners Rita Jia You and Stefan Leopold’s Lucky Strike remains one of Portland’s most unique and satisfying culinary experiences. Nothing has changed about the crusty-edged Guinness pork ribs ($10), caramelized to a rich brown in soy and Irish stout. And the “spicy noodle with pork ribs” ($8)—a knot of noodles twisting through tender pork and aromatic broth laden with star anise and the ubiquitous Szechuan peppercorns—is still among the best things I’ve ever eaten. ETHAN SMITH.
Ideal meal: Spicy noodle with pork ribs; complex flavors with well-balanced heat make for a near-perfect dish.
Best deal: Nearly everything on the menu is under $10, averaging around $7, meaning a party of four can feast for $80—tip and Tsingtao included.

 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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