sun luck garden / cleveland magazine

In this month’s issue of Cleveland Magazine, I wrote a Quick Bite on Sun Luck Garden, the tiny spot hidden in Cleveland Heights. Since the article isn’t on their Web site, here’s what I had to say:

Nestled between a gas station and a Family Dollar, Sun Luck Garden is a tiny, unlikely restaurant with a setting that belies its first-rate chef and menu. Foodies (including Table 45′s Zack Bruell who first told me about the place) have been heading here for years to eat chef Annie Chiu’s creations.

Chiu has an impressive resume: She’s worked with Parker Bosley (formerly of Parker’s in Ohio City) and Sergio Abramof of Segio’s and Sarava. Her menu at Sun Luck is touted as contemporary Chinese, with dishes that utilize traditional ingredients but present new ideas.

Our starter dish, the wonton soup ($2.50), was a slightly sweet broth with butternut squash wontons, a much tastier upgrade from traditional wonton soup.

The beef with Chinese vegetables ($11.95) falls under the Cantonese section. Although we enjoyed it, it was a pretty expected, no-thrills kind of dish.

The Mexican-influenced, signature pineapple stir-fry ($13.95), on the other hand, was a meal worthy of a trip to Cleveland Heights. I’ve never tasted anything quite like it – and it was even better as a leftover the next day.

Beef, fresh pineapples, pea pods, carrots and shiitake mushrooms were blended together in a ginger sauce with a bit of Mexican adobo pepper. Our server said it was just a dash of pepper, but it still produced a good amount of heat. The sweetness of the pineapples and intense ginger flavor helped offset the kick.

After such a surprising, delicious dinner at a 12-table, bare bones restaurant, it made me wonder: How many other talented are hiding in the unassuming plazas we drive past everyday?

7 Comments

  1. Sarah
    Posted February 27, 2008 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    We have been to Sun Luck Garden a few times, after reading about it in Laura Taxel’s Cleveland Ethnic Eats but haven’t been there in some time. The pineapple curry sounds wonderful, we’ll have to make a point to try it soon!

  2. Simone
    Posted February 28, 2008 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    I have passed that place many times and can’t believe I haven’t been there.
    I will definitely have to check it out. Thanks.

  3. Anonymous
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    never even heard of this place. thanks for the info and i’ll check it out, Matt

  4. lucette
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    I was there abt 3 weeks ago with a table of 8–someone got the pineapple stirfry, and when we passed dishes around the table that was the one that made the biggest impression (although everything was good).

  5. maybellesmom
    Posted March 1, 2008 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    This is one of my favorites in Cleveland. I have never understood why people don’t talk about it more. great job.

  6. michelle v
    Posted March 1, 2008 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    Thanks! I have to admit, when I lived in Clev Hts I never ate there. I made this mistake of judging the place on its location. Very wrong and foolish on my part! While I wasn’t crazy about the atmosphere, the food was fantastic – and you can get fried rice made with brown rice. I was sold as soon as I saw that.

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