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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Chinese, Seafood, Dim Sum
Casual restaurant

Daily 10:30am–midnight

Features Kid-friendly
Bar Beer, wine
Credit cards Visa, MC
Reservations Accepted

82nd Avenue Area
707 NE 82nd Ave.
Portland, OR
(503) 261-1689
Shenzhen Seafood Restaurant
Friends don‘t let friends order General Tso’s from a place this authentic

This mostly Cantonese restaurant is kind of like the unassuming version of Wong’s King—it sort of looks like it was a Baker’s Square or Marie Callender’s at one point. Fuchsia tablecloths give it a distinctly grandmotherish appeal. Shenzhen has seafood tanks, but they don’t inspire as much confidence as some. They’re dark and glum, implying that the seafood within is suffering from some sort of stress-related malady.

But be not afraid, this place serves delicious, authentic dishes, of which you can see pictures in the glossy, biblical menu. Of course, there’s an unfortunate proliferation of boring, gloopy Americanized dishes like General Tso’s and lemon chicken, but it’s hard to fault the management for trying to make a good living. Barbecue duck and pork is okay, but certainly not the best you can do here. If you have Andrew Zimmerman with you, you might opt for lamb intestine, but you’ll be wowed by more accessible prospects. Salted fish and chicken fried rice is absolutely showstopping, transporting you to the Chinese province of Yangzhou, flanked by the muddy banks of the Yangtze River and the briny Pacific Ocean.

Also outstanding are Shenzhen’s green-onion pancakes, extremely flavorful and not greasy. The seafood proves to be plenty healthy on the palate. Salt-and-pepper lobster is gorgeous. Noodle dishes like beef chow fun are good, and tofu is homemade and firm. There are also handwritten signs on the walls advertising goat and lamb dishes. Szechuan dishes like ma po tofu are not quite as spicy and peppercorny as they would be at a Szechuan restaurant, but that’s sort of obvious.

Of course, Shenzhen also does a mean dim sum, with terrific, steaming dumplings and expertly cooked greens. The best way to make use of this very true-to-life Hong Kong-style eatery is to just show up hungry and with other adventurous eaters, point to signs on the wall, and don’t worry about what exactly you’re ordering (chances are, your Chinese-speaking server won’t be able to convey it to you). Then enjoy the wonderful variety of sincere flavors of which this cuisine is capable, and vow to never again let anyone you love order kung pao.

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