After learning from Han's post that there's another Asian shopping complex in the Union City area, I set out with 8 other friends on an expedition. The complex is off 880 on Fremont Blvd, anchored by a 99 Ranch. Doing a quick drive through, we didn't see anything that appealing. The eating places included: Wienerschnitzel, Uncle Yuen's Chinese Fast Food, 2 pho places, Afghan Food Mart, and New Ocean Seafood Restaurant. We decided that New Ocean looked the best of the lot and went inside. We stood by the front entrance for a few minutes and surveyed the restaurant. There weren't any employees in the front area of the small restaurant. After no one greeted us for several minutes and deciding that there wasn't a table large enough for all of us, we left.
We headed over to the other shopping complex on the corner of Alvarado Niles and De Coto and ate at Lucky Palace. With 9 people, we ordered the 8 person $138 set dinner. Overall, I think the food and service at Lucky Palace strives to emulate the more elegant Hong Kong-style palaces, but doesn't quite reach. I thought the set menu was poorly planned with redundant dishes, which I should have paid more attention to before ordering. We had:
BBQ combo platter: included delicious char siu with crispy glazed edges
Scallops and squid stirfried with sugar peas: The peas were crispy, sweet, and fresh. The squid was sliced thinnly, resembling geoduck; tender, yet slightly chewy.
Dried scallop sauce over Western broccoli with straw mushrooms: perfectly cooked broccoli, liked the sauce
Dried scallop and enoki mushroom soup: No depth of flavor with the subtle nuances that characterize this soup. Oddly sweet.
Honey glazed smoked sea bass: This was one of the favorites. Bright red color with a complex flavor of sweet and smoky.
2 lobsters in supreme broth: The broth lacked necessary depth, like the soup. I think we had 2 1-lb lobsters, a generous portion.
Crispy chicken: This was nicely arranged but the pieces were too large and unwieldy.
Fresh shiitakes over mustard greens: While cooked well, this dish came near the end and was too similar to the earlier broccoli dish.
Yang Chow fried rice: Not bad but certainly not memorable.
Red bean soup
While the prices and surroundings point to a classy restaurant, the service was not polished. Female runners bring the food from the kitchen and wait by the table until they catch a waiters eye who then places the food on the lazy Susan. After a few times of waiting expectantly witth no one showing up promptly, we finally asked one of the women to just put in on the table herself. The hostess serving the soup sloshed all over the bowls. Water glasses went unfilled, soup bowls and empty platters werent bussed, and plates were not changed halfway through, even though crowded with lobster shells and chicken bones.
I would say that the food at Lucky Palace can be very good. I would steer clear of the high-end dishes and stay with more homestyle food. If we had the same meal at a neighborhood place at somewhat cheaper prices, I would have come away very satisfied. For the price, I came away disappointed.