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Restaurants & Bars 1

Lucky House, Thai in Berkeley

Windy | Mar 27, 200512:33 PM

Lucky House is a Thai/Laotian restaurant on University between Shattuck and Oxford. I've been there twice, and while I wouldn't drive over the bridge just to eat there, the food is fresh tasting and inexpensive. Not the transcendent Thai of Cha Am years ago, but authentic "home style" cooking, as they claim on the menu.

Most of the appetizers are deep fried. On my first visit, we got an order of honey wings, which were sweet, sticky, and accompanied by bits of fried basil. Worked for me.

This time we tried mussels with green chili sauce; they were cooked on the half shell on the grill and didn't thrill me. The dipping sauce wasn't especially spicy.

Lucky House is the rare place where the som tum (green papaya salad) is spicy enough. In fact it was so spicy we could barely eat it and worried I shouldn't have been so emphatic that all the food be hot. Otherwise it's not an exciting dish.

The green curry was thick and flavorful, with green beans and kabocha squash; better when I added hot peppers to it, but a fine base. We ordered it with pork, which was a little chewy. Next time I'd get chicken.

Roast duck with vegetables was excellent; the veggies included snow peas, corn, and broccoli. Very light sauce, perfectly cooked duck.

My favorite dish Friday night was the pad ke-mao, wide rice noodles with broccoli, garlic, and eggs, to which we added chicken. The texture was perfect: soft and chewy, a little well done on the outside from the heat of the pan. When I got home late that night after the concert, I pulled the carton out and finished it cold. (So who makes the best late night pad ke-mao in San Francisco?)

Portions are generous. Both times we took a lot of food home. Service can be a little slow--only one person handling the whole front room. They have free delivery and lunch specials, and the two night I was there, not a lot of customers. If I lived nearby, I'd probably take out from here.

Lucky House
2140 University, open 11-11
510 841-8900

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