New Bedford’s Lucky Dragon Restaurant Was Quite the Surprise
If you've ever driven by the Lucky Dragon Chinese Cuisine Restaurant in New Bedford's North End at 2061 Acushnet Avenue, you might notice the parking lot is always empty. I was one of those people and after countless self-reminders to find out how a luminescent "open" sign can be lit all these years without any action in the parking lot, I finally stopped by for lunch.
As predicted, the lot was empty at arrival, and yes, I was somewhat nervous to enter the abandoned-looking building. Up the stairs and through the entrance I went, where I was greeted by a very nice lady and man. The sound of a gurgling fish tank and kitchen exhaust fans filled the air and, as predicted, I was the only one there.
"Can I take your order?" the woman behind the counter asked. "Yes, I'll have the General Tso's lunch special, please, with a bottle of water." She explained it came with pork fried rice and I was all about that, but are you ready for the kicker? This meal that could easily feed two people was only $6.25!
I took my seat in the dining room, which appeared as if nobody had sat there in years. I counted six tables that could easily sit 24 people comfortably. Other than that, it was quaint and outdated, but that aspect was expected, especially since the menu board looks as though it hasn't been changed since 1974.
I made small talk with the woman and asked what the most popular dish was and she told me the Pu Pu platter and the General Tso's chicken, so at least I made one right decision.
Within minutes, the food was ready and it was piping hot. The chicken was small, but very tasty as it was smothered with sauce. The rice was not greasy and rather good, although if I'm being honest, I've had better. Still, though, I enjoyed it thoroughly.
After polishing off my plate, I noticed that Yelp and Facebook reviews raved about Lucky Dragon's crab rangoons, so as a foodie, I took it upon myself to settle the score and put in a small order to go. With my own eyes, I watched the cook open the fridge and pull out a pan of freshly-prepped rangoons that to my surprise were thrown into an oven rather a friolator.
On my way out, I paid for the rest of my food, thanked the kind people and went on my way. I needed a buffer between dishes to settle the bloat as I haven't had Chinese food in ages, but right before pulling out of the parking lot, I housed a rangoon and was blown away.
So then why is Lucky Dragon always empty? It's the same situation as China Belle in Dartmouth where it wasn't a destination to sit and eat, it's more of a takeout and delivery business. Despite the critics, they must be doing something right to be in business for more than 25 years and quite honestly, I would go back again.
That's the Lucky "tea" and my words of advice would be to not judge a wonton by its shell. My fortune cookie was spot on:
For me, that small step was into the restaurant, and I have no regrets other than the normal "food baby" from the Chinese food, but hey, it comes with the territory. I knew what I was signing myself up for.