One of the most admirable qualities about chef Troy Guard is his innate ability to sense when something isn’t right. When one of his restaurants (and he has many: TAG, TAG Burger Bar, Bubu, Los Chingones, Guard and Grace, the recently opened Lucky Cat, and the pending Mister Tuna) falters, he takes a good look at what’s working and what isn’t. That was the case with Bubu Lowry, the offshoot of his popular build-a-bowl space on Larimer Square. The Lowry location never really caught on and so, Guard closed it in early May and reworked the concept.
On May 20, he debuted Lucky Cat, an unconventional Chinese restaurant that draws inspiration from Guard’s eight years spent living in Asia, three of which were in Hong Kong. The menu is a mix of dim sum-like small plates (bao buns, shu mai, turnip cake, lettuce wraps), sushi, noodles, and entrées. The crunchy tilapia bao bun (reminiscent of fish-n-chips), the Canontese-style steamed fish bathed in a soy broth with chile oil (perfect with bites of rice), and the dan dan noodles will bring me back.
Will this concept work? The bright space with choice Asian details (lucky cat wallpaper, an animé mural above the open kitchen) vibrates with good energy, the patio is one of the best of the east side of town, and the food is flavorful, affordable, and fun. But just to hedge his bets, Guard drew on the Chinese belief that the number eight is a sign of good fortune: Every item on the menu has an eight in the price. You know, just in case.
7559 E. Academy Blvd., 303-364-2025