Lucky Cricket fuses Chinese and Hawaiian elements to create a unique and odd dining experience

Andrew Zimmern's "Lucky Cricket" offers great food and subpar scenery

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Lucky Cricket fuses Chinese and Hawaiian elements to create a unique and odd dining experience

Lucky Cricket blends both Hawaiian and Chinese food.

Lucky Cricket blends both Hawaiian and Chinese food.

Knight Errant file photo

Lucky Cricket blends both Hawaiian and Chinese food.

Knight Errant file photo

Knight Errant file photo

Lucky Cricket blends both Hawaiian and Chinese food.

Brooks Carver, Varsity Writer

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Lucky Cricket—a Chinese restaurant and tiki lounge—opened its doors to the public for the first time last November at The West End. The restaurant is the ambitious creation of celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern, former host of the famous TV show Bizarre Foods on Travel Channel and business partner Michael Mcdermott. According to the official Lucky Cricket website, Zimmern hopes to revolutionize the Chinese dining experience in the midwest by offering a “unique take on the bold flavors of honest Chinese cuisine.” 

The hype surrounding the new take on modern Chinese dining was through the roof, mainly due to Zimmern’s relevancy and the absurd concept of combining Chinese food with a Hawaiian tiki element. I decided to go check out the restaurant for myself to see what all the fuss was about.

I made a dinner reservation on a nice Tuesday evening with my mother. When we arrived, we were greeted by friendly staff and shown to our table in the “main dining room.” I was immediately impressed by the interior design of the restaurant. The walls are covered with surfboards, posters, and many other miscellaneous Hawaiian-themed trinkets and pictures. In addition to that, wooden crab traps and taxidermied puffer fish were suspended directly above our table. The ceiling is also decorated with an intricate wooden pattern to give the room a dim, yet, tropical feeling. American pop music played throughout the building, which felt kind of strange—almost like a missed opportunity. I personally think that the fusion experience would have been enhanced significantly with some traditional Hawaiian or Chinese music. Unfortunately, I was only able to catch a glimpse of the tiki lounge, but from what I saw, it seemed fun.

Both drinks were served in Tiki mugs, so that was pretty cool.”

— Brooks Carver

The menu, however, didn’t really match the vibe of the restaurant. I guess that’s just how fusion cuisine works, but still, something about mixing Chinese with Hawaiian still didn’t feel quite right. For our drinks, we ordered Lucky’s Lemonade and a Cherry Zinger. Both drinks were served in Tiki mugs, so that was pretty cool.

For our entrees, I ordered the Hong Kong-style Beef Noodle Soup, and my mother ordered the Kung Pao Shrimp dish. We also got a plate of Szechuan Wontons as our appetizer. The food was good, but the service was strange. They brought out my mother’s entree right away, before the appetizer or my meal, and they didn’t give us cups of water until after the other beverages had been served.

Nonetheless, the food was still pretty good. Now, I don’t claim to be a food critic, but I will do my best to provide my thoughts on the dinner. My soup was very dense; it contained all sorts of ingredients such as braised beef, mustard greens, and noodles. It was very hearty, and I thought it was a solid meal. As for the Kung Pao Shrimp, I tried some of it, and it tasted very great. A lot of flavor and spice. Same with the wontons. By the time we were done with the main course, we were too full to try any of the desserts they had to offer.

My final thought on Lucky Cricket is as follows: The restaurant is a fun place to eat if you’re looking to try something new with friends. We went on a Tuesday, but it seemed like it would be an enjoyable place to dine on the weekend. 

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