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Restaurants & Bars

(PDX)Gold Coin/Gold Lounge Cantonese

grumpy | Oct 21, 200311:58 PM     2

SE 82nd Avenue: "social workers", meth labs, used car lots - an episode of "Cops" waiting to happen right before your eyes.

In the midst of this bit of Portland paradise is the latest player on the Chinese seafood cuisine circuit.
Located just south of Powell, this establishment provides both a lounge and a restaurant. What a better combo than a smoky,cocktail lounge, where the juke is cranking out "I Put A Spell On You," and the restaurant is decorated in the traditionally lucky yet understated tones of peach,red,pink, and metallic gold? An interesting dichotomy, or so they say....

I can pour my own martini and buy a Powerball ticket elsewhere. I came here for the food.

The chow partner, a skilled refugee from Boston's Chinatown, and I have been visiting this place for the past couple of months.

In a word, crab. We haven't gone wrong yet with any of the available varieties of crab. The Cantonese crab was smothered in a heap of perfectly sauteed garlic. None of the garlic was the least bit overcooked. However, we have been dining during the off season. When the season kicks into gear in the next month or two, expect more reports.

The pepper salted seafood dishes (crab, squid, prawns) are excellent.

I would try to steer away from the stir fried seafood dishes that comes with veggies - these dishes contain too much veggies, usually the unholy trinity of celery, mushrooms, and onions.

The hot pot dishes are quite good. The fish (rock cod) hot pot is well done; there's an abundance of fish,too.

One of the litmus tests for me is the fried chicken. I can only give it a passing grade. Good, but not great. I've had better elsewhere in PDX.

I tried the Beef Stew Won Ton Noodles. I was disappointed. Only 5 mealy won tons in the bowl, and these tasted like baking soda. The broth was ok, the portion of noodles was large, and the beef stew was good. I think I am spoiled because of the won ton I remember from my childhood.

A bit off topic, but Seven Stars in Old Town is worth a try. The quality of food seems to have gone up along with the recent renovation.

However I have a great deal of high hopes for Gold Coin for a couple of reasons. The menu is extensive; prices aren't as exorbitant as Legin. Secondly, there's a bunch of specials, written in Chinese, posted on a chalkboard. I have yet to get the waiter to translate these for me. With the onset of crab season, I expect to dine here a few more times. After I have chowed through a more extensive portion of their offerings, I'll post again.

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