Peter Cherches, who blogs about "food, travel, and the occasional dream" at Word of Mouth and who joined me and a half-dozen other diners at this Cantonese restaurant one recent evening, observed that it's enjoyable to explore new dishes for the sake of novelty and refreshing to find a waiter who won't warn you away. We got barely a blink when we ordered the appetizers, which might have offered our most unalloyed pleasure: a peppery, head-cheese-like Chinese salami with a tousle of crunchy jellyfish ($4.95) and baby octopus over seaweed salad ($4.95). I also really dug a spicy stir-fry of pork maw with hot peppers ($16.95); the hunks of pork maw, or stomach, were chewy, just this side of rubbery. The green-and-tan thatch called "Pride of Lucky Eight" ($14.95) was hard-pressed to match its rave reviews, but the flavors and textures of Chinese celery, scallions, chives, mushrooms, squid, and dried scallops (and other items I overlooked, no doubt) were very engaging.
Fried crispy chicken (half; $8.95) was solid but standard (Lucky Eight's garlic-enhanced version reportedly packs more punch); the braised tofu casserole ($9.95) was also unexceptional, though to be fair, it's not a dish I'm very fond of. Spare ribs with vinegar ($11.95) needed a touch more vinegar; meatier would be better, too. I'd pick my way again through a very bony bowl of fish necks with preserved olives ($11.95); as for the bamboo pith with snow peas ($14.95), next time, just give me the greens.
Emphasis on "next time": All quibbles aside, I like the easy-going atmosphere of Lucky Eight (our group was in the humbler downstairs dining area), and there's much more on the menu I'd like to try.
5204 Eighth Ave. (52nd-53rd Sts.), Sunset Park, Brooklyn