Restaurant of the Week: Lucky Elephant

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Lucky Elephant, 1515 N. Mountain Ave. (at 6th), Ontario; also 531 W. Arrow Highway (at Eucla), San Dimas

Having dined at the very good and exquisitely decorated Lucky Elephant in San Dimas, I was excited to see a banner along 6th Street at Mountain Avenue in Ontario, by the Edwards 14 cinemas, that a Lucky Elephant would be coming soon. It opened in late January and affords much the same experience as in San Dimas.

The interior is lined with teak paneling, with gables over the booths. A glass display case is filled with elephant figurines. Thailand tourism videos play on flat screen TVs. (The narration is turned low but can catch you unawares if you’re seated without a view of the TVs, as I was on my first visit.)

At lunchtime, the hostess is clad in a long lavender traditional dress. All the plates, platters, bowls, cups and saucers match and were made in Thailand. In other words, it’s something of an immersive experience.

The only comparable place locally of which I’m aware is Green Mango in Rancho Cucamonga. Like Green Mango, Lucky Elephant also has very good food. On my first visit, I had one of the lunch specials (all $7): ginger pork, sauteed with peppers, onions, carrots and mushrooms. Salad, soup and rice come with. Tasty and filling.

A few days later, I returned to try the crispy ground catfish salad ($9), a dish I’ve had in Thai Town. I have no idea how it’s made, because in appearance and texture it’s akin to deep-fried cotton candy. The Lucky Elephant version is credible but desperately needs another ingredient; one excellent version I’ve tried was served on a bed of sliced apples. I wouldn’t order it again here, at least not solo; for one person, finishing it was monotonous.

But I’m looking forward to my next visit. The menu is lengthy and contains many dishes rare to the Inland Valley. And despite the white tablecloths and lovely surroundings, few entrees are above $9. You might leave feeling as lucky as the elephants.

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  • Shirley Wofford

    Better enjoy it while you can, David. After the Wal*Mart goes in, there won’t be anything left, in that area. Sorry, I don’t live in Ontario, so I could vote against each one, of those officials.

  • Daniel

    I too am glad you don’t live in Ontario. 5 years of watching restaurants try and fail to find traction in the parking lot of Edwards Cinemas, because it’s the only anchor, and the lot across the street was an abandoned and crumbling Target, Food4Less, and ToysR’Us, was too much.

    I am certain the owners of Lucky Elephant #2 are absolutely banking on the Super Wal-Mart, and the accompanying new retail, to drive more traffic to that part of Ontario. Particularly, since they to the huge risk of investing $450K in upgrades.

    [Well, there’s plenty of traffic on Mountain Avenue already; it just needs a reason to pull over. — DA]

  • shirley wofford

    So Dan thinks that Wall*Mart shoppers are going to stop at the Lucky Elephant? I hate to see individual businesses run out, by a large conglomerate. That’s why I have been so opposed, to the Wall*Mart, in that location. I really hope Dan is right, and I am wrong–I would not mind that, at all.