Shortly after moving to Frederick two years ago, sometime after filing for a change of address but before getting a new library card, I was introduced to Lucky Corner. So deftly was my indoctrination handled that I suppose I always just assumed a trip to the Vietnamese restaurant on North Market Street was simply an obligation that longstanding residents took upon themselves to provide for newcomers. A rite of passage or holy pilgrimage of sorts, but with more hoisin sauce.
Imagine my surprise, then, as I took my seat at its second location in the Westview Promenade last week only to have one of my two dining companions — a native Fredericktonian — turn to me with a smile and shatter that illusion.
“I’ve never been here before,” she exclaimed excitedly as my other friend and I exchanged incredulous glances.
I’m happy to report, a week after her first experience, former Frederick News-Post intern Christie Wisniewski had mostly good things to say about the Crabmeat Fried Rice Com Chien Cua ($10.95) she ordered. “It was real crab, no doubt about it,” she reported, having mulled over her meal a day or two.
I should also note that Christie has a deep-seated and, to me, irrational hatred of peppers. That said, she also expressed some disappointment with the presence of a few chopped red peppers in her rice, but I tend to think the added flavoring will only add to most peoples’ enjoyment.
Normal people like peppers, Christie.
As for my other guest, News-Post web editor Travis Pratt, his Duck Curry Cari Vit ($11.95) was “well spiced and very well balanced.”
The meat itself was on the dry side, which is unusual for duck, but after trying a bite or two myself, we both agreed the dish was delicious and, not being a professional chef myself, I was willing to chalk any dryness up to simple overcooking.
Overall my guests and I were incredibly pleased with our food, none more so than me when my bowl of House Special Pho Dat Biet ($7.95) arrived and I reacquainted myself with the deliciously spiced broth, filling noodles and tasty cuts of eye-round steak, brisket, tripe, flank and meatballs.
That said, I can’t help but think the Pho bowls should include a bit more noodles so I’m not forced to order an extra helping ($1.95) in order to finish the broth once the meat is gone.
I will say that the most pleasant part of the meal for me came, surprisingly, from the sampling of fried calamari included in the combination appetizer dish ($12.95) that we ordered.
Not usually a fan of squid, I nonetheless found myself wishing we’d ordered the standalone dish by the time we’d eaten our way down to the comparatively bland chicken skewers.
As anticipated, I came away from Lucky Corner as satisfied as I’ve come to expect from the establishment given its track record.
The fact that the restaurant is apparently in the process of expanding means I can eagerly look forward to even more opportunities to share my experience with other newcomers and uninitiated diners in the future. In that vein, if you’ve got the chance and want to stop by for some quality Vietnamese at decent prices, consider stopping by the Lucky Corner’s newest location in the Westview Promenade.
The Dish reports on unannounced dining experiences in and near Frederick. Send us your tips at 72Hours@newspost.com.