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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Portland
Food
Feel
Price
8.5
7.0
$15
Chinese, Seafood
Casual restaurant

Hours
Daily 11:30am–11:00pm

Bar Beer, wine
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Not accepted

Southeast Portland
6633 SE Powell Blvd.
Portland, OR
(503) 775-3901
Powell’s Seafood
The best Chinese restaurants are next to impossible to find—and this is no exception

Look under the industrial awning of a little terra-cotta-colored building for the small neon sign in the window: Powell’s Seafood House. It’s easy to miss but it would be a shame to. This little gem is totally underrated—mostly because it’s undervisited.

Which works out for you, the diner, as there isn’t often a wait, the servers have time to be warm and speedy, and watching them buzz around adds to the simple room décor.

There won’t be much in the way of Szechuan spice here—it’s all Cantonese and Mandarin, lots of seafood like conch, prawns, crab, and lobster. Salt-and-pepper squid is fantastic, toothsome and properly crusted in seasoning. When it’s available, sweet-and-sour crispy whole fried fish is not to be missed. The flaky, moist meat has a wonderful crunch to it, and it’s not nearly as sweet as you might think. Manila clams with black bean sauce are also great, but you could do just as well with a hot pot. And congee is warm and filling on cold days. The best way to do it up here is with a large group so you can have a few bites of everything.

We’ve thoroughly enjoyed goose intestines with black bean sauce, which aren’t at all texturally bizarre (of course, if you meditate on what you’re eating, you’ll always gag a wee bit—just dissociate). Just ignore the take-out standards like General Tso’s and kung pao chicken. Stick to (naturally) the seafood, and the many vegetarian options. Don’t get too excited when you see ma po tofu—there isn’t nearly enough Szechuan peppercorn in this dish to make it worthwhile.

This is a delightful find that’s a bit closer in to downtown Portland and the gentrified Southeast than the 82nd-Avenue agglomeration.

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