Lucky Cricket started out without a “Minnesota Nice” welcome, much due to co-owner and celebrity chef, Andrew Zimmerman’s, controversial remark during an interview to Fast Company stating, “I’m saving the souls of all the people from having to dine at these horseshit restaurants masquerading as Chinese food that are in the Midwest.” A comment that blew up in his face, rightfully so, considering that Minneapolis has many asian restaurants owned by asian families serving up authentic asian dishes. Unfortunately, that wasn’t all. The next controversy was about the food itself being falsely advertised and there were a few scathing reviews about the preparation and flavors…
All controversy aside, I was determined to check out the restaurant for myself and when a friend and I were looking for a place to meet up for Happy Hour it was my immediate suggestion!
Pork Dumplings: Pan fried with a vinegar soy dipping sauce
We got there in time for Happy Hour, but as with all restaurants, the Happy Hour menu is a smaller selection so in order to try a few items we did mix and match. The Pork Dumplings were really delicious. At $7 during Happy Hour it was a $3 discount from the regular price. $10 did feel a bit steep considering you can get them at other asian restaurants for less, but that’s sort of how I felt about the whole menu’s pricing.
Eggrolls: BBQ, Shrimp, and mixed vegetables
These were delicious. Light and airy and not the overwhelming cabbage taste that some eggrolls have. They aren’t Qui Viet Egg Roll quality, but no other eggroll has ever been so that’s probably not even a fair comparison!
Dan Dan Noodles: Egg Noodles, spicy pork, chives, and peanuts
The only non Happy Hour item we ordered was the Dan Dan noodles, because it was a recommendation from the bartender and I figured what better way to get a feel for the food than a staff recommendation! I am a weakling when it comes to spice so the first bite before I mixed it all together did make me cough and my eyes water a bit, but the dish had a lot of great flavor.
The food was good and I don’t think it deserved such horrible reviews, but typical to all restaurants that call the Shops At West End home, it’s more of a convenience to go here than a culinary destination.
Mr. Bali Hai: A shady mix of rums, coffee liqueur, pineapple, and lemon
The Tiki drinks were $7 on Happy Hour so naturally I had to try a couple! I started with the Mr. Bali Hai. I wasn’t sure how the coffee liqueur would pair, but it seemed like one of the less “in your face” sweet tiki drinks. It came garnished with a couple coffee beans and was surprisingly smooth. I really liked it!
Lucky’s Path: Rum, apricot, ginger, cinnamon, pineapple, and lime served frozen
For my next drink I had a sweeter option, so more than one of these would probablly give me gut rot, but BONUS – it came in the instagram-able tiki cup so a selfie followed…duh.
We did have a reservation, but opted for just bar seating once we got there, because there were spots open and happy hour was going on.
The decor is tiki inspired with a fun little bus in the bar area with two booth sections that I didn’t realize was first come first serve or I definitely would have snagged that. How fun!
The food was quick, but the service was a little slow. We didn’t get checked on very often and I found myself having to call attention to us a few times. Like I mentioned previously, our server did give us some good recommendations of food, though, so I guess you can take the good with the bad there.
Overall, it was a good meal with good company and if I needed an in between spot again I wouldn’t be opposed to Lucky Cricket, but it’s not a restaurant I’d make a special trip for.
1607 West End Blvd.
St. Louis Park, MN 55416
Monday – Thursday: 11AM – 10PM
Friday – Saturday: 11AM – 11PM
Sunday: 11AM – 9PM