Editor's note: Lucky Strike has closed.
If you want to sweat, Sichuan spot Lucky Strike is more reliable than a party at Holocene. Inside a red-tinted eatery that looks like a Chinatown haunt taken over by '90s-era ironists, the spice can get serious pretty fast.
Lucky Strike's classic hot pepper chicken bath ($12) will send fluids out your eyes and nose, with Sichuan peppers numbing your tongue to everything but heat. You can eat a plate of pig intestines ($11) whose vaporous spice will cause the same tumult in your own digestive tract.
But there's a secret to Lucky Strike: It also offers dishes of surprising subtlety.
The simple sauteed bok choy ($7) is a perfectly executed swirl of garlic and soy, always just delightfully crisp enough to maintain its structure. The pickle-fish-mushroom soup, meanwhile, comes in a pot big enough to run a soup line, but its pleasures are more delicate—lightly pickled cabbage and chili in a broth with noodles made of mushroom.
A simple beef shank appetizer, meanwhile, is livened in texture by nuts, made bittersweet with celery alongside the peppers. Rather than treat the place like a dare, the trick is to play subtlety against spice.
Pro tip: If you decide to get the hot stuff, go for the Vice Is Cooler cocktail with cucumber.
GO: 3862 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 206-8292, luckystrikepdx.com. 4-10 pm Sunday-Thursday, 4-11 pm Friday-Saturday. $$.