Monday, February 6, 2012

Portland Restaurant: Lucky Strike

What: Lucky Strike
Where: 3862 SE Hawthorne Blvd
When: Sun - Thurs 4 - 10pm, Fri - Sat 4 - 11pm
Honey's Heart: Dan Dan Noodle and Sauteed Shanghai Baby Bok Choy

I don't think I've mentioned it on the blog yet, but Adam and I got engaged after Thanksgiving! We've been wedding planning and next on our to-do list is hiring a photographer. After meeting with a wedding photographer in SE last week Adam and I remembered we had a Groupon to Lucky Strike.

Founded in 2007, Leopold and You bring Sichuan style favorites from You's hometown. Neither have formal culinary training, but they combine fresh local ingredients and Sichuan spices to their dishes. I am definitely not an expert on traditional Sichuan flavors, but our friends Keith and Rachel have frequented Lucky Strike since Keith's visits to China, claiming it's the closest thing to the real deal that he can find here. Adam and I were excited for some great food while talking about wedding details.

A little overwhelmed by the menu and not wanting to order the typical apps like egg rolls, we asked the waiter for a suggestion. We started out with JiaoZi Dumpling in Spicy Sauce ($6). These pork and cabbage filled dumplings are served with either clear broth or Sichuan style spicy sauce. We opted for the spicy sauce, and although I can be sensitive to spice, I liked that the heat of this sauce didn't overpower it's really great flavor.

For main dishes Adam immediately spotted the KungPao Chicken ($12) sauteed with crunchy peanuts, scallion and sweet and spicy ginger sauce. This is originally a traditional Sichuan style dish and although I can't attest to it's authenticity, it had a different flavor than other KungPao dishes I've ordered. It was spicy with a lot of peppers mixed in, but the sweetness in the sauce made it one of those dishes that you keep eating for the initial flavor and the spice hits you after.  I'm not sure we would order it when we go back in place of trying something new, but it was a good choice!

One of my favorite dishes we ordered was the Sauteed Shanghai Baby Bok Choy ($7) with fresh chopped garlic. If you don't like a lot of garlic, don't order this, but I love it so that was fine with me! The sauce on the bok choy was awesome and with the option to add tofu ($2) to this dish I would absolutely order it again.

My other favorite was Dan Dan Noodle ($5). These spicy Sichuan style noodles were topped with minced beef, crushed peanuts, and fresh scallions. Adam and I both loved the flavor in this dish and for only $5 who could pass it up?

Our drinks took a long time to arrive, but once they did I think we were both pleased. I've been ordering a lot of Moscow Mules, or pretty much anything with a ginger infused vodka or ginger syrup, so I chose the Vice is Cooler ($8) with house-infused lemongrass ginger vodka, muddled cucumber and basil, citrus and soda, served on the rocks. Yum! Adam ordered the Hot Toddy ($8) with earl grey tea, lemon, honey and whiskey in the hopes it might help combat his cold.

This was a great first experience at Lucky Strike, I'll be back to check out their happy hour menu featured daily from 3 - 6pm!