In news that is at once completely shocking and totally unsurprising, the incredible wine program at Lucky Palace Chinese Restaurant in Bossier City has been named as a semifinalist for the 2018 James Beard Award for Best Wine Program. In business for nearly 20 years, the restaurant – which is located in the lobby of a roadside hotel at 750 DiamondJacks Boulevard in Bossier City – has established a dedicated fan base among regional food and wine lovers. Wine lovers frequently travel long distances to attend wine pairing dinners and educational tastings overseen by Lucky Palace owner Kuan Lim and his staff.
Lucky Palace shares this shortlist honor with some of the most highly regarded restaurants in America. As far as we know, this is the first time that a Shreveport-Bossier restaurant has been named a semifinalist for the James Beard Awards. A smaller list of nominees will be announced on March 14, and the awards will be held on May 7.
“Of course, I’m super-excited,” Lim said. “I’m not sure if I stand a chance against these other restaurants, but it’s a tremendous honor to be listed alongside them.”
Were Lucky Palace to be nominated and then go on to win the James Beard Award for Best Wine Program, it could not possibly happen at a more meaningful time in the life of this restaurant, which has overcome unbelievable challenges over the course of the last two years. Somehow, despite what I would describe as unfathomable obstacles in the personal lives of key staff members, Lucky Palace has not only remained great, it has gotten even better. The James Beard Award committee’s announcement recognizes that fact.
Hat tip to Andrew Nations of Great Raft Brewing who, as far as we know, was the first local person to notice Lucky Palace’s status as a semifinalist.
Have you never dined at Lucky Palace?
Here’s the deal: Sit in the bar, if you can. Order off of the “House Specialties” menu. As a local food lover, my heart breaks a little bit each time a first-timer at Lucky Palace orders lo mein. It’s not that the lo mein is bad, it’s just not the move here. Perhaps start with the most popular appetizer, the Duck on Scallion Pancakes. It works fine as an entree, too. For an entree, try the Thai Green Curry Prawns, one of several steak preparations, or David’s Prawns. If you drink wine, ask for help pairing a wine with your meal. If Lim is in the building, he’s always glad to suggest a thoughtful wine pairing.
But, honestly, whatever you do: Don’t judge a book by its cover. It may not look like what you think of as an excellent restaurant from the outside, but like so many wonderful places in Shreveport-Bossier, you don’t know what you’re missing until you give it a fair chance. Surprising, expectation-defying, educational and delicious – isn’t that what fine dining should be?
Want more info on local food in Shreveport-Bossier? Download the third edition of Eat Here: A Food Lover’s Guide to Shreveport-Bossier.