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The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

Lucky Duck Comes to 1891 Bistro: Food Review

Courtesy of @ncatdining

1891 Bistro, one of N.C. A&T’s ten dining facilities reintroduced the Asian-inspired cuisine takeover, Lucky Duck. 

The restaurant’s menu featured items from hibachi to boba, a growing staple in America’s wide array of dining choices.  

Over the course of two days (and a regrettable amount of Flex Dollars,) I ordered General Tso chicken with lo mein, chicken hibachi, Crab Rangoon, vegetable egg rolls and Chinese 5-spice donuts to gather a broader scope on the potential of the limited-edition restaurant on campus. (On both days I went, sushi was unavailable.) 

General Tso Chicken w/ Lo Mein  

This entree did not dazzle me; it was average at best. In comparison to the traditional General Tso dish one might order at their local Chinese spot, Lucky Duck’s take fell short of meeting the standard. The flavor of the chicken resembled the original but had a manufactured taste I could not shake. It was similar to something you might find in the frozen food aisle at the grocery store. 

The noodles were undercooked and the vegetables were, on the other hand, overdone. However, the plate had hefty portions and was improved with a splash of salty soy sauce to counteract the overt sweetness of the chicken. 

Students like Kade Bruner, an information technology student, agreed with the mediocrity of the entree. 

“It was okay. I just felt like it was missing something. Not really what I was expecting, I’m kind of disappointed,” Bruner said. 

Chicken Hibachi 

The chicken hibachi gave me mixed feelings about my enjoyment of the plate. Again, a plus on Lucky Duck’s behalf was the large portions of rice, chicken and assorted vegetables. However, continuing with the manufactured theme, the hibachi just didn’t have the flavor I hoped for. 

“I thought it was really good, but definitely not regular hibachi,” said McKenna Kearney, a bioengineering student. 

Lucky Duck’s version of the Japanese specialty featured corn, peas, squash, zucchini and fried eggs. The vegetables were done well and the chicken was seasoned well. However, pitfalls concerning this dish were the slight toughness of the chicken, the sponge-like egg and the overdone rice. 

“I would rate it a 6 out of 10… the chicken was very flavorful but something was off,” said Samaria Upchurch, a nursing student. 

That “something” might be the sauce the food came with,  a quasi-Japanese white sauce that tasted more like seafood sauce.

Crab Rangoon & Vegetable Egg Rolls 

As two of the more well-executed items on the menu, the Rangoon and egg rolls made up for much of my somewhat lackluster 1891 affair. Both starters were crispy and had more pronounced flavor profiles than the entrees.  

The six-piece Crab Rangoon came in a Chinese takeout box. They were large, hot, fresh and flavorful. However, the cream cheese and green onion inside drowned out what little crab was there. 

When asking other 1891 goers about their views on the items, Taylor Ready, a nursing student, shared her take on the egg rolls.

“The vegetables and the texture were good, and they were fresh,” Ready said. 

The two egg rolls were sizable, chock-full of seasoned vegetables, but could have been elevated with a dipping sauce. 

Chinese 5-Spice Donuts 

The star of the show for me during my two-day Flex Dollar extravaganza was the donuts.  The donuts, much like the egg rolls, would have done well with a sauce but were tasty nonetheless.

“It was good, but who can really mess up a donut?” said Langston Reed, a graphic design student. 

While this is true, the donuts were a stand out among the other menu items I had. This sweet treat consoled me on both days of mild disappointment. 

The sugar-coated spiced dessert had a good texture, a balanced sweetness and was a decent size. The crispy outside encased a pillowy inside and the sweetness was not overpowering. It was a simple approach to a donut that performed highly in my book. 

Overall, I would rate my experience a 6.5 (added .5 points for a free-rubber duck.) While the food was not the worst, it was not the greatest. The prices should not have been so high considering the quality of most of the items, but I can appreciate N.C. A&T’s effort to cater to all palettes on campus with the Asian-inspired takeover. 

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