BY BRITTANY SEEMUTH
The snug atmosphere of Lucky Liu’s, located at 1664 N. Van Buren St. in Milwaukee, is exactly where anyone who suffers from the chronic complaint of “I can’t hear you over the din of everyone” should go. I happened to go on my first date with my significant other here, so I like to think there really is some luck to be found at Lucky Liu’s.
The menu offers a blend of Chinese and Japanese dishes.
I ordered my usual egg drop soup, which is my favorite to start.
Add the finely ground pepper to the soup that is provided at every table. Trust me. The egg drop soup has such good texture and rich green onion flavor. I normally hate eggs, but whenever I eat this, I just want to yell, bring on the eggy goodness!
I’ve found that most people tend to order carryout or delivery at Lucky Liu’s, which is why the dine-in section of the restaurant is usually desolate. Some people might consider a near-empty restaurant a bad sign, but I’m here to tell you, ignore the sign, people.
My dinner companion ordered the wonton soup, which is a hearty mushroom-based broth with a mild beef aftertaste. I liked my soup more, but that’s no surprise. I’m proud to be a biased egg drop lover.
If you order from the specials, you are also served soup, rice and spring rolls – do it because the spring rolls are delicious.
They come two per order and are served with a honey mustard (which is okay) and a spicy mustard (which is really good). A word of caution: the spicy mustard is a must, but don’t overdo it, or you will be looking for the nearest emergency exit.
For the table, we also ordered the Singapore noodles and the Phoenix and Dragon dish.
The rice noodles were served in a tangy yellow curry sauce with shrimp and fried egg. The noodles were delicately thin and a little on the dry side, but the flavor of the dish was solid, with broccoli rabe and a generous amount of red pepper flakes. I would order it again.
The Phoenix and Dragon was a two-part dish in one; the “phoenix” was made with chicken in a plum sauce with a slight spice. The “dragon” part of the dish is made with shrimp, lots of water chestnuts and a bit of broccoli in a spicy garlic sauce. Not bad, but I preferred the Singapore noodles.
All of the food pretty much comes at the same time. I’m not complaining, but I sometimes wonder if I should ask to pull over another table.
The sushi came out with the Singapore noodles.
I ordered the spider roll, which is prepared with soft-shell crab, and then the shrimp tempura. Both rolls made the bite appear too large, but I made it work.
The compact Boston roll was made of lettuce, mayonnaise and shrimp. This wasn’t my favorite. I guess there’s just something about shrimp and mayonnaise that doesn’t seem quite right to me.
The Philly roll is made with smoked salmon and, of course, cream cheese. The smoky salmon delight meets every Wisconsinite’s cheese desire. I always blend a healthy amount of wasabi with the soy sauce for dipping. You should too; it makes a difference.
FYI, if you decide to order a glass of wine, the server always pours the wine to the brim of the glass. Typically, wine is poured to about one-third of the way to the top in all other restaurants. The selection of wine is minimal, but that’s okay.
With lengthy hours offered every day of the week, and the knowledge that you will get great food and still be able to enjoy a conversation with your dinner guests, be sure to make Lucky Liu’s your next stop on a much-needed night out with the ones you love.