Lucky Dragon – Fast, Tasty and Cheap in North Kansas City
Lucky Dragon is your standard Chinese restaurant, providing flavorful inexpensive food in a hurry. They have a large selection of lunch specials that you’ll find for under $5 all 7 days of the week between 11 and 2:30. Additionally they have some okay appetizers that you can get at any time of the day.
On my first visit I enjoyed the Cho Cho Chicken which is just your basic chicken on a stick for $4.25. You get 6 slightly sweet and pretty salty servings of chicken that was a little greasy but probably better for you than most chicken sandwiches you’d get at a fast food joint. They tasted better when I doused the chicken in the hot mustard that was provided without me asking for it. Every time I visited they did a good job of providing the essential condiments of duck sauce(what is that stuff anyhow?), hot mustard and soy sauce along with sufficient napkins. By the time I was finished eating all 6 of the chicken sticks my jaw was sore so the meat isn’t exactly tender.
Two days after Christmas I stopped in late in the afternoon to pick up 3 Spring Rolls for $3.50. The gentleman told me it would be 5 to 10 minutes before they were ready. The food was out in 8 minutes and during that time I realized that Fox News is more annoying when the reception is poor. Somehow my hyper-vigilant brain can tune out the 24 hour news cycle when the drone is consistent but when the satellite mutes intermittently I can’t help but watch the morons yammer on. The place was fairly dead, chairs were up on the tables and no one was eating inside. Another family was waiting for their takeout and seemed entranced by the TV despite the bad reception. Perhaps they were just trying to ignore one another like I do when I’m around family and the TV made an excellent excuse. Perhaps I’m projecting instead of reviewing a restaurant.
As for the food, the spring rolls were delightful. They had a flaky crunchy crust, were served very hot and had a lightly spiced blend of cabbage and carrots. I devoured the food without pause or any need for the sauces provided.
I ordered a small serving of Hot N Sour soup on a third visit and wasn’t very pleased. True, it was only $2 but the soup was overcooked. The ingredients were mostly falling apart and the button mushrooms looked suspiciously
liked they came right out of a can. But there’s nothing faster than getting soup at a restaurant and it was spicy and plentiful. I should mention that I stopped by during the work week at lunch hour and the place was jumping. The parking lot was a little bit busy and 70% full. The seats in the restaurant were 100% full for the buffet and a fair amount of working class guys were shoveling it in. That doesn’t bother me a bit, but it is busy around then so if you want to eat in plan accordingly.
For my fourth visit I enjoyed Princess Chicken as a lunch special. It’s a large serving of fried rice, choice of crab rangoon or egg roll, choice of hot n sour or egg drop soup and the entree. I again chose the Hot n Sour soup but was pleased to find that it was a nice blend of tofu, canned mushrooms, bamboo, egg drop and pork. The soup had a nice cayenne heat that tingled my lips a bit and got my nose running. There were a few chunks of what I think of as oriental mushrooms, they weren’t shitake but they were flavorful and chewy in a good way unlike the again present canned button mushrooms.
The crab rangoon was large and had decent tasting cream cheese in it but no chunks of even imitation crab just a hint of crab flavoring to taunt me.
More importantly the princess chicken was quite nice. It was served very hot and the light sauce was sweet with a spicy aftertaste. The sauce really surprised me as I’m used to a sauce this dark being syrupy and overpowering. The vegetables were lightly sauteed but still crisp and flavorful. Unfortunately some pieces were too large for someone to eat with just the light fork and spoon provided. I was in my traditional garb, overalls, but if I had stopped in with casual business attire I would have been pissed at the food I ended up dribbling on myself due to it’s chunk size. Chunk Size would probably be a good name for a punk band, just a side note. Despite that small gripe, I enjoyed the veggies being allowed to have to their flavors come out and the balance of onions, broccoli and carrots worked well with the amount of breaded meat and rice provided.
The amount of food provided was enough to give me two and a half meals. In this case, the leftovers didn’t taste better than the original meal but I still wolfed them down so that’s saying something.
Almost all of your traditional Chinese dishes are available in the lunch special format although some of the more popular ones do range up to $5.25 like General Tso’s Chicken, Orange Chicken or Sweet & Sour Shrimp.
Overall, I recommend Lucky Dragon to you if you’re just north of Downtown/River Market area. The food is just what this blog was designed to locate: fast, tasty and inexpensive. You could stop at the national chain down the street and get a crappy burger that looks like mortar scraped onto a bun and send your cash out of town. Instead buy some food that you can recognize, have leftovers and the profits go to a guy who is renting/owning a house in KC, paying taxes and living the American dream. You win, he wins and I win. Who doesn’t love winning? Cats, I suppose. They seem like they’re above all our silly games. But they kill mice and that makes them okay in my book.