Maryland Live GM Robert Norton feeds dragon at Luk Fu opening. Photo Credit: Maryland Live!

Rob Norton is becoming a pro at feeding dragons

On Tuesday morning, Norton, the general manager of the Maryland Live casino dangled lettuce and a red envelope in front of a dragon (the kind you see on Chinese New Year, not on “Game of Thrones”) as part of a ceremony to mark the opening of Luk Fu, a pan-Asian eatery inside the Arundel Mills casino. Luk Fu is an upgrade from the previous Asian restaurant, Noodles, which is now closed. The menu includes familiar dishes such as congee, dim sum, kalbi ribs, and Mongolian beef.

 If Luk Fu had opened any where else, it might not have attracted much notice.  But it is in the middle of a two-year-old casino, the first of three slated to open along the Baltimore-Washington Parkway in the next three years. The other two are Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore, which is expected to begin operating later this summer,  and MGM’s planned casino at National Harbor in Prince George’s County.

As customers, Asian gamblers are a coveted cohort, and Luk Fu is part of the welcome mat Maryland Live! is rolling out for them. At the opening, there were drums and gongs, and the 2014 Pacific Miss Asian American. After the ribbon was cut and the floor was cleared of lettuce bits, Norton and the chef ushered everyone into the dining area where they were greeted by a whole roasted pig.

The restaurant had a test run before the official opening, so there were already a few reviews posted on Yelp! Amira of Baltimore loved it. J.K.Y. of Hyattsville — not so much. (“I used my comps to pay for the dinner and I’m still pissed despite not paying real money.”)

Another reviewer observed, “It is loud due to the noise coming from the casino, but I liked that. I could hear the roars coming from the Baccarat tables while I was eating which was very exciting, those players were winning!”