THE OREGONIAN: Tasty Corner’s Sichuan dishes
add a little heat near Portland State University
When Daniel Chen was a Portland State University student, he longed for a good Chinese restaurant near campus.
Ten years later, he’s taken matters into his own hands. Chen, the co-owner of Hillsboro’s highly regarded Szechuan Garden, has returned to his old stomping grounds with Tasty Corner, a new restaurant serving a slimmed-down “greatest hits” menu of dishes from Sichuan Province and beyond.
Much has changed in the past decade. Since 2016, the Portland State area has had a very good nearby Chinese restaurant in dumpling specialists Duck House. But despite purposefully toning down the spice, Tasty Corner’s take on Sichuanese cuisine shows a level of skill more commonly seen at westside restaurants such as Taste of Sichuan or Chen’s own Szechuan Garden.
Chen, who previously managed Southwest Portland’s Szechuan Chef (one of several local Sichuan restaurants with roots in Bellevue, Washington), and business partner Yuangming Li of Arcadia, California, had hoped to open a downtown location even before the pandemic. This corner space — the former Chit Chat Cafe, a Taiwanese restaurant and one of the only bubble tea cafes around Portland State when Chen was a student — became available in June of 2020.
“At that moment, because this is 2020, the whole campus is empty,” Chen recalled. “It’s quiet. It’s just dead. There was nobody there. But we thought, ‘That’s a good spot. Even if nobody wants it, we should just take it.’”