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 résumé: She’s worked with Parker Bosley (formerly of Parker’s in Ohio City) and Sergio Abramof of Sergio’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, baby ginger, 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 the 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 chefs are hiding in the unassuming plazas we drive past every day?
1901 S. Taylor Road, Cleveland Heights (in Taylor Commons, a half mile north of Cedar Road), (216) 397-7676, Tue-Fri 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. & 4 - 9:30 p.m., Sat 4 - 10 p.m., Sun 4 - 8:30 p.m.