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Fortunate Son arrives with too much success

A robot voice is here to inform you the restaurant's potential could take a while

Cardboard takeout boxes are part of Fortunate Son's Chinese restaurant charms.


.
Cardboard takeout boxes are part of Fortunate Son's Chinese restaurant charms. .

A synthetic voice answered the phone of Fortunate Son, the new Chinese food spot opened by Consortium Holdings, in the Adams Avenue property where the restaurant group used to operate Soda & Swine. Sounding like a female Stephen Hawking, the voice instructed me to press one for to order a to-go order, mispronouncing it “Togo,” like the West African nation.

Place

Fortunate Son

2943 Adams Ave, San Diego

Fortunate Son opened in August, with pandemic restrictions still in place. So, while it offered outdoor seating that included the patio of Consortium cocktail bar Polite Provisions, I opted for take-out, repeatedly encountering the automated voice menu, and its hold music: the Creedence Clearwater Revival song “Fortunate Son,” naturally.

“Wow, this is crazy,” came back the artificial voice, interrupting the classic rock tune every ten or twelve seconds to let me know the restaurant was experiencing high call volume. This could go on five, ten minutes before a person would pick up to take my order. Some calls, I was told my order could take twenty minutes to a half hour. Once, I was told two hours.

The ornate entry way to Fortunate Son

It was surprising and, frankly, encouraging to see a restaurant debut to such immediate demand during the pandemic. Apparently, San Diegans are starting to rediscover their hunger for restaurant food.

When I arrived to pick up my food, I would find the patio seating full, with up to an hour wait. Several other customers were there to pick up orders from the takeout window. The menu offers not entirely traditional takes on the classic dishes of Chinese American restaurants: crab egg foo young, kung pao chicken with honey roasted peanuts, or beef and shishito peppers (instead of broccoli). Packaged, of course, in the classic cardboard take-out boxes of Chinese restaurants.

An elaborate dining room, so overloaded with red lanterns, plants, and screens, that you almost can't see the huge dragon face in the back

Tthe place looked like an instant hit. But, most likely due to the deluge of incoming orders, the food going out has proven inconsistent in the early going.

For example, while I have become addicted to the chili garlic chicken wings at the top of the menu ($10), my first order was soggy. I might have given up on them if they hadn’t crisped up so well in the oven. Same deal with an order of orange chicken, while a friend complained of overcooked pork in the pork belly sweet and sour.

Fans dine on the Fortunate Son patio.

It’s the kind of stuff that drives Yelpers crazy — that and the fact rice must be ordered separately.

Eventually, the crowds will subside and the food should more commonly live up to its potential. In the meantime, as classic a take-out concept as this may yet become, like most Consortium properties, the number one reason to visit is the décor. Fortunate Son’s elaborate devotion to Chinese restaurant design almost makes North Park’s old Peking Restaurant Chop Suey look plain by comparison.

Ornate wood carvings, paper lanterns, and screens throughout the dining room make it somehow easy to miss the huge dragon head looming behind them. With the return of indoor dining, this is poised to be another Instagram sensation. Even those of us sticking to outdoor dining for now may appreciate the patio umbrellas designed to resemble the paper umbrellas found in tiki cocktails.

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Cardboard takeout boxes are part of Fortunate Son's Chinese restaurant charms.


.
Cardboard takeout boxes are part of Fortunate Son's Chinese restaurant charms. .

A synthetic voice answered the phone of Fortunate Son, the new Chinese food spot opened by Consortium Holdings, in the Adams Avenue property where the restaurant group used to operate Soda & Swine. Sounding like a female Stephen Hawking, the voice instructed me to press one for to order a to-go order, mispronouncing it “Togo,” like the West African nation.

Place

Fortunate Son

2943 Adams Ave, San Diego

Fortunate Son opened in August, with pandemic restrictions still in place. So, while it offered outdoor seating that included the patio of Consortium cocktail bar Polite Provisions, I opted for take-out, repeatedly encountering the automated voice menu, and its hold music: the Creedence Clearwater Revival song “Fortunate Son,” naturally.

“Wow, this is crazy,” came back the artificial voice, interrupting the classic rock tune every ten or twelve seconds to let me know the restaurant was experiencing high call volume. This could go on five, ten minutes before a person would pick up to take my order. Some calls, I was told my order could take twenty minutes to a half hour. Once, I was told two hours.

The ornate entry way to Fortunate Son

It was surprising and, frankly, encouraging to see a restaurant debut to such immediate demand during the pandemic. Apparently, San Diegans are starting to rediscover their hunger for restaurant food.

When I arrived to pick up my food, I would find the patio seating full, with up to an hour wait. Several other customers were there to pick up orders from the takeout window. The menu offers not entirely traditional takes on the classic dishes of Chinese American restaurants: crab egg foo young, kung pao chicken with honey roasted peanuts, or beef and shishito peppers (instead of broccoli). Packaged, of course, in the classic cardboard take-out boxes of Chinese restaurants.

An elaborate dining room, so overloaded with red lanterns, plants, and screens, that you almost can't see the huge dragon face in the back

Tthe place looked like an instant hit. But, most likely due to the deluge of incoming orders, the food going out has proven inconsistent in the early going.

For example, while I have become addicted to the chili garlic chicken wings at the top of the menu ($10), my first order was soggy. I might have given up on them if they hadn’t crisped up so well in the oven. Same deal with an order of orange chicken, while a friend complained of overcooked pork in the pork belly sweet and sour.

Fans dine on the Fortunate Son patio.

It’s the kind of stuff that drives Yelpers crazy — that and the fact rice must be ordered separately.

Eventually, the crowds will subside and the food should more commonly live up to its potential. In the meantime, as classic a take-out concept as this may yet become, like most Consortium properties, the number one reason to visit is the décor. Fortunate Son’s elaborate devotion to Chinese restaurant design almost makes North Park’s old Peking Restaurant Chop Suey look plain by comparison.

Ornate wood carvings, paper lanterns, and screens throughout the dining room make it somehow easy to miss the huge dragon head looming behind them. With the return of indoor dining, this is poised to be another Instagram sensation. Even those of us sticking to outdoor dining for now may appreciate the patio umbrellas designed to resemble the paper umbrellas found in tiki cocktails.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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