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Lucky You Cafe is a Hong Kong Canteen With a Hint of Chinatown

But how sticky is the General Tsao's Chicken?
2020-10-20 12:00:00
Photos: Brandon McGhee
On The Radar: On the Radar is a SmartShanghai column profiling new restaurants, bars, and other new places you might like to know about. Sometimes we stumble across these venues and sometimes... we are invited. As such, these are our first impressions and not a formal review.

Lucky You Cafe


Quick Take: Charlie's opens a classic Cantonese diner with a nod towards some Chinese-American staples.

What Is Is: What it says up top. Charles of Charlie's, who has flirted with food from South China before, has taken over the space that used to be Tsui Wah and turned it into a sleek Cantonese diner restaurant.

Roomier than your average canting but still seeing some lines during lunch time. Booth seating and big banquet tables with very deliberate banquet chairs in a really very cavernous space. They could probably pack in nearly a third as many people if they tried, but it's nice they leave lots of space for all the wait-staff to come top up your tea every two minutes.

Disclaimer before the menu: I'm not American, Chinese, or Chinese-American. I'm European. I had P.F. Chang's when it landed here for twenty minutes. I don't know what Panda Express is. I am familiar with Hong Kong diners.

Lucky You Cafe looks more like the latter than the former. The menu is 95% stuff like beef and broccoli, char siu, crispy pigeon, chicken feet, abalone and vermicelli noodles with XO sauce, with the "Flushing, NY Chinatown" flavor represented by just a couple plates, the highlight being the General Tsao's Chicken. Prices fall roughly in the 48-78rmb range, and the portions are decent. They've also got desserts like fried custard and tong sui. Plus, they've got a pretty good soft-opening deal until October 29, where you scan a QR code by the cashier to buy 100rmb coupons for 79rmb, effectively giving you a 20% discount on every 100rmb you spend. Didn't get a fortune cookie, though.

First Impressions: Lot of the neighborhood's elderly showing up for lunch when we went. That's usually a good sign. Lucky for Lucky You that they can slot themselves right into the crowd that were used to going to Tsui Wah.

Atmosphere's good. Food's good. Comforting. The Green Beans with Lao Gan Ma could benefit from more Lao Gan Ma, the beef noodles seem lighter on the MSG than what you'd get in an "authentic" shop, the char siu was excellent and that's some gooooood General Tsao's Chicken. Sweet, crisp, sticky enough to seal bathroom tiles. It's probably the one thing I'd come back for specifically, especially on the lunch set. 45rmb for a plate of that, some rice and a soup would do me very nicely.

Lucky You Cafe is located at 291 Fumin Lu, near Julu Lu / 富民路291号, 近巨鹿路.