In a time when takeout is king, and when food is providing more comfort than ever before, the latest eatery from local hospitality group CH Projects (Born & Raised, Ironside), its sixteenth overall, exalts one of the crowning examples of to-go cookery, American Chinese cuisine.
Fortunate Son opens today for outdoor dining and of course, takeout, on Adams Avenue where it replaces Soda & Swine.
Developed by the Chinese who migrated to the U.S. as they adapted their dishes to better suit American palates, this hybrid style of food helped to bring about the advent of takeout and delivery service. Now synonymous with wire-handled paper cartons and fortune cookies, its quintessential menu items, including sweet and sour pork and egg foo young, are beloved by CH culinary director/partner Jason McLeod and Fortunate Son’s executive chef Tony Guan (The Cork & Craft, Restaurant Gary Danko), who joined the group in 2017 to take over the UnderBelly kitchens. Guan, a native San Diegan whose parents have worked at a Chinese-American restaurant for 25 years, says he’s really proud of this cuisine, a result of the “enormous creativity and ingenuity of Chinese immigrants”.
The chef is doing his interpretations of the classics, from General Tso’s chicken veganized with cauliflower, chop suey featuring local farmer’s market produce, and crab rangoon made with fresh lump crab meat crafted in his open kitchen’s dumpling room along with shrimp and pork won tons and shu mai. Every night, Guan will also offer house specials like family-style duck and lo mai gai, or lotus leaf-wrapped sticky rice.
Open Monday to Friday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m., the restaurant has been made even more open-air than before, with diners entering the space through a gilded arch under hanging flowers. A 10-foot tall fire-breathing dragon head dominates the 38-seat dining room that has been decorated with Chinese antiques, with diners able to enjoy Fortunate Son’s menu and cocktails from its neighbor Polite Provisions on either spot’s patio. As this is food designed to travel well, there’s also a walk-up window dedicated just to takeout.