Lucky 8’s China House Merely Passable

The tongue-in-cheek suburban American Chinese spot disappoints
Allison Austin Scheff  |   June 2012   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
Capitol Hill's Lucky 8 China House

If you grew up, as I did, in suburban America, you likely ate at a place similar to the Chinese restaurant of my youth, the Golden Wok. Chunks of pork were fried in a stiff batter and served in a pool of ruby gloss; chicken was fried and then topped with a mellow sauce and slivered almonds. Such Americanized Chinese food was a staple of my youth, and it still holds a place in my heart.

So I was looking forward to the opening of Lucky 8’s, which owner Bracey Rogers—a former restaurant server and wine buyer—promised would bring just that type of knowingly inauthentic Chinese food to Capitol Hill. Even better: they deliver!

But Lucky 8’s dishes struggle to taste decent straight out of the kitchen, and become very poor when they sit for even a little while (so much for delivery). The coating on the fried meats—General Tso’s chicken ($10.95), sweet and sour pork ($9.95)—sloughs off the meat in a wet, mushy pile unless eaten immediately; the chow mein ($8.95–$11.95) noodles are cooked to such a soft finish that the noodles at the bottom of the box disintegrate. Not to mention how overcooked the shrimp were, and how oversalted nearly everything was.

Lucky 8’s stays open late, likely to cater to neighborhood bar hoppers. But I can’t imagine that, even with a solid buzz, the food will ever taste better than passable.

Lunch and dinner daily. Capitol Hill, 1407 14th Ave.; 206.328.0888; lucky8schinahouse.com $

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