Lucky Palace–Bossier City, LA

Lucky Palace
750 Diamond Jacks Blvd.
Bossier City, LA
(318) 752-1888
Lucky Palace

Lucky Palace


Although Lucky Palace is thought by some to have the best Chinese food in the Shreveport area, and even described as having Chinese food “like Dallas,” it is quite easy to miss. The location is straightforward (at an exit of I-10) and I knew about it being inside the Bossier Inn and Suites Motel, but I still missed the entrance to the motel until making a second try. Once inside the building I did not see the restaurant but the desk clerk pointed me in the right direction.

The dining room

The dining room at Lucky Palace

Once inside, though, I found an upscale restaurant with a view of the outdoor patio through plate glass windows, a wine bar, and a rather impressive menu (although without the special Chinese menu found at many Dallas restaurants). The soothing jazz and classical music in the background turned out to be a theme I found in various Asian restaurants throughout Louisiana, and the restaurant was non-smoking.

View of the motel pool and patio

View of the motel pool and patio

Prices were in line with the more upscale food served, although by upscale I do not mean the type of large family style dishes served in large cities. It is good quality food, and the dishes are the type that I think most people would enjoy for lunch or dinner.

Appetizers

Scallion pancakes

Scallion pancakes

There are two types of appetizers here–those that come with the meal and those that can be ordered separately. I chose one of the latter, the Scallion Pancakes, because it had been reviewed as one of the restaurant’s “authentic” dishes. I had to agree that it was authentic and very good, but I will tell people who are not as intent on trying different dishes as I am that you will get plenty to eat with the regular dish (and will likely be more than full without ordering an extra appetizer).

Hot and sour soup

Hot and sour soup

Hot and Sour Soup is one of the soup choices which comes on the lunch menu with any selection, and I would definitely recommend it. This had a very good flavor and a substantial amount of ingredients in the soup. I made a note that this was better than any hot and sour soup I knew of in Oklahoma City (I mean this as a suggestion that you should definitely try this one if you like hot and sour).

Pork with Garlic Sauce

Pork with garlic sauce

Pork with garlic sauce

The Pork with Garlic Sauce had a sauce that I thought was a little sweet, but the meat, vegetables, and sauce were all good with this one stipulation. The large amount of water chestnuts and other vegetables were very enjoyable, and overall I thought this was an excellent dish. I would have preferred it to be more spicy because it would have helped the allergies I was suffering that day, but the flavor of the dish was good with the amount of spice it had.

Tea

Jasmine tea

Jasmine tea

They served a brewed jasmine tea which I thought was excellent (I think the dark spot in the tea is a loose leaf which came from the brewing process).

Further Comments
The restaurant is located in an aging motel with a hard-to-find entrance and other problems (such as the bathroom not being accessible). The food is good, though, and the restaurant is very pleasant.

This restaurant is not like the ones in Dallas in the sense of having a “Chinese menu” (usually a separate menu written in Chinese), butI the scallion pancakes and a few other items are authentic, and in my opinion the garlic pork was certainly close enough. The big bonus was the hot and sour soup, which was just about the best I have ever had.

I did not have any problems with MSG, but it will have MSG unless you tell them otherwise. I have to assume that the amount in the hot and sour soup was very small since I ate this along with the other food.


RATING: 22

Cuisine: Chinese
Cost: $$
Hours: Closed Mon.
Accessible: No (even if there was an entrance I did not see, the bathroom was not accessible)
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: Beer, Wine

Most Recent Visit: Nov. 24, 2017
Number of Visits: 1
Best Items: Pork with Garlic Sauce, Hot and Sour Soup

 

Asian Food Details

Tea: Jasmine (brewed)
MSG: Yes
Buffet: No

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Pork with Garlic Sauce
star 5 Scallion Pancake
star 5 Hot and Sour Soup

 

Blu Basil–Lafayette, LA

Blu Basil
5451 Johnston St.
Lafayette, LA
(337) 456-1120
Blu Basil

Blu Basil


Although I know Lafayette is the center of Cajun food, music and culture, this is certainly not the only type of food worth exploring in the area. I had read many good reviews of the Asian restaurants in the city, and Blu Basil seemed to be at the top of the list.

Blu Basil is a Vietnamese restaurant that also serves “Asian Fusion” (according to Yelp). My take on it is that it is Vietnamese food plus other items, rather than the Vietnamese food being Americanized into a fusion cuisine. The atmosphere is quite elegant, giving the customers the feeling that they are at a “special treat” Asian restaurant, yet the prices are moderate (they are higher than I would want to spend every day but are far lower than I have seen for special occasion type Asian restaurants in various cities).

Some on-line reviews indicated that Blu Basil had one of the most extensive Asian food menus in the city, and this is one of the things that initially drew me to the restaurant. When talking to the waitress, though, I found out that some of the more interesting Vietnamese dishes had recently been dropped from the menu due to low demand by customers (one of these was the Banh Xeo). Although I was disheartened by this (thinking that every city deserves a good Banh Xeo), there are other reasons Blu Basil is still a good choice.

I experienced quite heavy traffic throughout the city as I made a tour, aggravated largely by major construction zones as well as what appeared to be major population growth around a street system which had been designed for a much smaller city. Although it is good that some of these problems are now being resolved, I was made more aware of the fact that Blu Basil offers a tranquil haven of good food, soothing jazz music, and friendly employees. The nicely decorated interior made me think I was going to have to pay quite a bit for my meal, but it turned out to be pretty reasonable (I was too late for the lunch specials which are served until 3:00 P.M but dinner is not much more expensive).

Vermicelli Dishes

Grilled chicken bowl

Grilled chicken bowl

One of my favorite dishes at Vietnamese restaurants is the vermicelli bowl, and Blu Basil had several from which to choose. The Grilled Chicken Bowl actually had the extra bonus of coming with spring rolls, and although this almost made this dish too much for my appetite, I certainly thought it was enjoyable. The good points of the dish included high quality meat, a good mixture of vegetables, a good fish sauce, and of course the very good spring rolls. The negatives included the fact that they did not offer lemongrass chicken and the fact that the dish did not include mint among the mixed vegetables. Neither of these detracted greatly from the dish, although if I lived in the area I would hope these would be available in the Vietnamese food.

Tea

Jasmine tea

Jasmine tea

For hot tea the restaurant serves a very high quality jasmine tea served with loose leaves. I was somewhat amused by the lemon and honey they give you to put in the tea, but it was quite good without these additions (but at least everyone has a choice). In addition to the jasmine tea I ordered they also offer green and chrysanthemum hot tea, Vietnamese iced coffee, iced tea, orange juice, and freshly squeezed lemonade. All of these items currently cost $3.50 and at least with respect to the jasmine tea, I thought it was well worth it.

Further Comments
In a sense I felt that the food here was really better than in other Vietnamese restaurants to which I have given the same rating, but it is taking into consideration the fact that Blu Basil does not have as large a choice as other restaurants (such as the fact that no lemongrass chicken is available). I will say, though, that adding the spring rolls on top was an unexpected bonus that few other restaurants include.

The menu included quite a few dishes that either looked like more exotic Vietnamese dishes or were “fusion,” so I think if you come here expecting to pay $$$ instead of $$ you might well find some very good dishes.

They have a large variety of pho, and it seems as if they have the basic dishes well covered as well as the more expensive and elaborate ones.


RATING: 23

Cuisine: Vietnamese
Cost: $$
Hours: Closed Sun.
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: Beer, Wine, Full Bar

Most Recent Visit: Nov. 27, 2017
Number of Visits: 1
Best Item: Grilled Chicken Bowl

 

Asian Food Details

Tea: Jasmine (loose leaves)
MSG: No
Buffet: No

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Grilled Chicken Bowl

 

Little Chinatown–Kenner, LA

Little Chinatown
3800 Williams Blvd.
Kenner, LA
(504) 305-0580
Little Chinatown

Little Chinatown


I should probably explain that while I hope my articles will be of interest to as many readers as possible, my choice of restaurants to visit is ultimately based on my own interests, including what I wish to discover about dining in various cities. Probably my number one passion is Chinese food, and when I heard from the people at Bao & Noodle that there was another Chinese restaurant in the New Orleans area that I should visit (at least that they told me about), I thought I should check it out (although at the expense of some of the local cuisines due to my time limitations).

In Oklahoma City I found that the best seafood was at Chinese restaurants, and the same proved to be true on my New Orleans visit. Little Chinatown in Kenner (near the New Orleans Airport) had some of the best and definitely some of the freshest seafood I have ever experienced, and with the bonus of being prepared Chinese style this was really hard to beat.

The dish I ordered (a seafood hot pot) was the most expensive item I saw on the menu, but was recommended by the waitress as one of the ones she personally liked to eat. My standard practice is to ask employees at a restaurant which dishes are their favorites, and when one of them turns out to be as outstanding as this one I think it is perfectly justified to give the restaurant one of the highest ratings possible. I recognize that many other dishes are probably not going to be this good, but I assume that some probably will (thus I feel fairly confident in the rating I have given).

In any case, seafood is one of the local specialties of New Orleans, and Little Chinatown for me did a better job of presenting it than any other restaurant I visited.

Seafood Clay Pot

Seafood bean noodle clay pot

Seafood bean noodle clay pot

The Seafood Bean Noodle Clay Pot was a typical Chinese dish in that I did not really understand what would be in it until it was set on the table (although I took their word that it would be very good). The seafood consisted of some items that I believe were local and some that may not have been, but all were extremely fresh (or I will at least say that enough of them were that this was an outstanding dish). The bean noodle was a glass colored vermicelli style noodle that although having a good flavor, mostly served to highlight the main ingredients of the dish.

This was a spicy dish (about four chiles on my “5 chile” scale), so they were obviously not trying to make it so spicy it was hard to taste the seafood. I did enjoy the balance of flavors, however (and would recommended it spicy to anyone who does not have a problem with spicy food).

This is a Hong Kong style restaurant, but they do serve spicy dishes such as this one.

The Restaurant
In contrast to Bao & Noodle, Little Chinatown is larger, has a more varied and extensive menu, and I would say more reasonably priced (although both restaurants are a good value for what you receive). Bao & Noodle is exclusively spicy food (except for the bao) and the spicy dishes Little Chinatown has do not seem to have the full-blown type of heat I found at Bao & Noodle. In any case, these are two very different types of Chinese restaurants, but I thought both of them were excellent.

Little Chinatown said they do not use MSG, and this seemed to be the case with my dish.

Although the menu at Little Chinatown is limited compared to the the high end Chinese restaurants on the west coast, and the setting is definitely not the same, I thought the food here was of a comparable quality.

 


RATING: 26

Cuisine: Chinese
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: N/A

Most Recent Visit: Nov. 26, 2017
Number of Visits: 1
Best Item: Seafood Bean Noodle Clay Pot

 

Asian Food Details

Tea: Jasmine (bags)
MSG: No
Buffet: No

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Seafood Bean Noodle Clay Pot