A new MSG150 record today, 11 lunchers, and two were newbies. Welcome Lydia and Jason. We also crossed over to the south side of King and left the well trodden "Miracle Mile" section of our path. We moved into unknown territory today with lunch at Fortuna Cafe. Recon trips had identified it as a meat-in-window Chinese BBQ, but little else was know.
Luncher: GearyLunch: BBQ Duck Lunch Box - $4.50
Fortuna Cafe looks pretty typical from the outside, steamed up window with various BBQ'ed meats hanging on one side and a window full of menus and news clippings on the other, however, the inside is unlike anyplace we have been yet. There is a second floor dining room with a balcony that overlooks the entrance and a large chandelier. If there had been wall full of whisky behind the bar instead of BBQ meats and if the round tables near the bar had guys in cowboy hat instead of old Chinese couples, it would have been exactly like a western saloon.
Since there were 11 of us the owner suggested we eat upstairs. Even before we ordered, she showed up at our table with two huge bowls of what she described as Black Eyed Bean soup and served everyone a bowl. The soup consisted of mostly just an opaque tan broth with a few black eyed peas and the occasional mushroom bit. Despite the lack of content, the broth had a simple but rich chicken stock flavor. If was the best part of the meal.
The lunch menu contains a handful of Chinese American standards but they also offer a few lunch sized soups and BBQ Lunch Boxes. I went with the BBQ Duck Lunch Box. As is typical with these small places, the food arrived one at a time, but this place took longer than normal. It doesn't appear that they get very big lunch crowds and are not very equipped to handed them. It's a good thing another group didn't show up while we were there. Luckily for me my lunch arrived near the front of the pack. It consisted of some steamed rice with a brown sauce, a few steamed baby boc choy, and chopped BBQ duck. It all arrived cold. Even the rice and duck were cold! The sauce on the rice had a nice flavor, but it was cold. The boc choy was a over steamed and a bit too wilty for my taste. It was also cold. My serving of duck was cold and even bonier than normal. It would have all be passable if it had been at least lukewarm, but, as I mentioned earlier, it was cold.
Luncher: EmmettLunch: BBQ Duck Sui Kau Noodle Soup - $5.50
I like rolling deep with my homeboys. Especially to a place called Fortuna. Our crew assembled in the upstairs of a cafe and after an uncomfortable silence where all we could hear was the cleaving of meat, the server/operator/owner came up to take our order.
There were several lunch options, but I was feeling soup. For a little background, I woke up with a little upset tummy after filling up on 24 ounce beers at some Ballard dive and a late night run of Jack in the Box egg rolls. So my stomach, which when presented with the option of Meat in Window, was like "hell no you clown - gimme some soup!" Soup it was. I ordered the BBQ Duck and Sui Kau Noodle Soup.
The broth was tasty, and had little yellow noodles like Mike's. The Sui Kau were flavorful, but not quite as large as Mike's and there were only two of them. The duck was an added treat - it had a really juicy flavor, and was quite good. It fell apart in the soup so I could eat little duck pieces and sip the sweet duck flavor as they marinated in my bowl.
The servers were great, I like the atmosphere. And the other food definitely looked tempting. I'll be back.
Luncher: AdamLunch: Hot Braised Chicken Lunch Special - $4.50
Out to the far corner of the DLZ we went again. I think today's lunch may have been a record-breaker: 11 lunchers. Thats hot
I actually had pretty high hopes for Fortuna. I love the MIW (Meat-in-Window) joints and was looking forward to some good ol' asian BBQ. I ordered the Hot Braised Chicken lunch special thinking it would be from one of the chickens deliciously hanging in the front window... I was wrong. I got chunks of chicken in a spicy gravy, and a plate of white rice. Unfortunately, I didn't really think the sauce on the chicken was good... so that kind of ruined the meal.
The hot sauce looked promising, but ended up being too salty for consumption.
The food is inexpensive. Its also cheap and too salty. Skip at will.
Luncher: WayneLunch: BBQ Pork Fried Rice - $5.75
It was a tough choice, but I moved off the lunch special menu and chose the BBQ pork fried rice, Always a favorite of mine. I was rewarded with some of the best fried rice I've ever had. The pork was tasty, and the pieces were small. Just how I like them. I'd like to come back and order this dish again.
Luncher: MichaelLunch: Hot Braised Chicken Lunch Special - $4.50
Fortuna is a bit of an old run down dive. It was obvious that they weren't geared up to have a dozen of us show up for lunch all at once. And yet they pulled it off.
We wandered upstairs and shoved a couple of tables together. It was nice that we had that section to ourselves. Need a quiet place for a lunch meeting? This could be it.
We started off with two giant bowls of a black eyed bean in pork broth soup. This was a refreshing change from the usual rather boring fair that most of the local places serve. I'm tired of the typical boring hot and sour or egg drop soup. Fortuna's soup was simple, tasty, and different. Bonus points for this.
The understaffed kitchen did a fair job of cranking out the dishes one after the other and they delivered each as it was finished. If you are expecting all the food to arrive at once it's time to get over it.
Most of us ordered standard lunch menu fair. I asked for the Hot Braised Chicken - and received a large plate of rice and chicken cooked in a spicy sauce. The chicken was well cooked and the sauce was just spicy enough. I found the quality of my food to be above average compared to other low cost 'lunch special' fair. And for $4.50 its a great deal.
While this isn't a fine dinning experience it was a pretty great and very cheap place to eat lunch.
Luncher: RobLunch: Soft Tofu Lunch Special - $4.50
I almost didn't go to Fortuna because everyone was referring to it as a MiW place. At the last minute, however, I read an online review that suggested Fortuna served more than just chopped up meat, and so I decided to give it a try. As it turned out, the lunch specials menu had an option for me: Braised tofu or soft tofu. The regular menu had another couple of options, as well. I ended up going with the (soft) lunch special. The soup that comes with lunch wasn't veggie, so I passed on that, but it was different from all the other Chinese lunch soups I've seen -- black-eyed peas and pork. The main dish was fine. Soft tofu, steamed bok choy, a non-congealing and non-bland brown sauce, and white rice. The hot sauce gave it a nice kick. Not bad, not bad at all. A solid three, in my book.
Luncher: JasonLunch: Mongolian Beef Lunch Special - $4.50
Good Fortuna was not mine to be had this Valentine’s Thursday in February. Our lunch at Fortuna, a meat-window Chinese restaurant with the requisite open door mop closet in the upstairs dining area, left much to be desired. Granted, this was my first experience joining the MSG150, so perhaps my taste buds have not been dumbed-down enough yet to fully appreciate the distinctly non-descript taste of the black-eyed bean soup (served half into bowls and half directly onto the tabletop) but my Mongolian beef left little room for interpretation. For those who realize the need for protein but prefer the texture of rubber bands, this dish is a must-have. For anyone else, veer away. The mystery meat itself was camouflaged with thick sauce and vegetables were nowhere to be found in the brown mound heaped on top of a big pile of white rice. On the other hand, it was a lot of food for a mere $4.50, the company was charming and the wait staff created an entertaining atmosphere by bringing one item up the stairs at a time and not offering us water until we were pretty much finished with lunch. The dark wood paneling made me nostalgic for the home I grew up in (which has since been condemned.) All in all, I look forward to a bit more variety in future MSG150 lunches.
Luncher: AlLunch: BBQ Pork Lunch Box - $4.50
Meat in window; lead in stomach.
Luncher: JoeyLunch: Wonton BBQ Duck Noodle Soup - $5.50
Luncher: JaredLunch: Sweet & Sour Pork Lunch Special - $4.50
Luncher: LydiaLunch: Sweet & Sour Pork Lunch Special - $4.50
Fortuna Cafe PhotosFortuna Cafe
Fortuna Lunch Specials Menu
Serving Black Eyed Bean Soup
Balcony & Chandelier
View from Above
Cold BBQ Duck Lunch Box
BBQ Pork Lunch Box
BBQ Duck Sui Kau Noodle Soup
Wonton BBQ Duck Noodle Soup
BBQ Pork Fried Rice
Soft Tofu Lunch Special
Sweet & Sour Pork Lunch Special
Dueling Spicy Chicken Lunch Specials
Overhead shot 1
Overhead shot 2