Up here we take our cocktails as seriously as we take our food. Especially after sending Chino to Chicago to compete in the Star of the Bar, we knew our spring and summer cocktail lists would need to be almost entirely revamped. Chino and his team have been working hard to incorporate bold new flavors that accentuate quality base spirits and surprise your tastebuds. With drinks like the one pictured above, Tetsuo, with Bombay Sapphire East, passionfruit and grapefruit bitters – we think they went above and beyond. The new menu is live now!
Chef Gregory on Cutthroat Kitchen
Early last month Chef Gregory was one of three participants on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen. The game show, hosted by the esteemed Alton Brown, is like most other televised food competitions on the network with one twist: the contestants start with their winnings and use them bid against each other in various proposed sabotages. The winner has to make the best food possible (under the circumstances) while trying to preserve as much money as possible. It’s a game of intellect and daring as much as culinary prowess.
When Chef Gregory was invited to participate he was ecstatic. Not only is this a great opportunity to showcase his talents in the kitchen, it’s a fun mind game to play against his peers. He must have prepared well because he was the first contestant to win a sabotage bid – the others thinking their cooking talent alone would justify saving their fresh piles of $100 bills. Gregory’s aggressive play style and ability to quickly prepare delicious food won out. He faced a French chef in the finals whose classic cooking style and winning smile had been winning over the judge until she tasted Gregory’s spicy, herbaceous Asian riff on mussels. Chef walked with just over $4,000 but most importantly the pride of winning. Look for replays of this episode on the Food Network and check out Alton Brown’s recap with the judge over on YouTube.
Last month we had the wonderful opportunity to host Chef’s Week PDX’s epic finale featuring 22 chefs from up and down the west coast creating an unforgettable 20 course dinner. As this was the inaugural Chef’s Week PDX we were unsure of how the chefs would all manage to fit in our kitchen let alone all of their mise en place! We had to get industrious (at one point our cooks were furiously waving serving trays at the smoke detectors while Chef Chesa of Ataula smoked octopus in our hallway) but in the end the dinner was a resounding success! We can’t believe the fortitude of all the people that braved the snow and ice to make it to this sold out event and hope to participate next year.
Check out our Facebook page for videos and photos of the event and all of the chefs’ delicious courses!
Here at Departure we are excited to celebrate one of Oregon’s favorite seasons—Dungeness crab season. This January we are offering an exclusive 5-course tasting menu available for the entire month right alongside the regular menu.
Our 5-course tasting menu will feature Dungeness crab, but will also highlight Chef Gregory Gourdet’s Asian-inspired preparations of fresh, local ingredients. Join us as we honor Oregon’s official state crustacean! The tasting menu costs $65 and includes:
Dungeness Crab Sunomono
Salted Kyuri, Frozen Ponzu, Crispy Wild Rice, Apple Gel
Dungeness Crab Soup
Shiitake, Kuri Squash, Brussels Sprouts Leaves, Goji Berries
Crispy Dungeness Crab
Won Ton Crust, Black Vinegar Jelly, Mustard Seed
Dungeness Crab Dumplings
Sticky Rice, Shaoxing Wine, Spicy Black Sesame
Dungeness Crab Fried Rice
Pork Belly, Forbidden Rice, Candied Kumquat
t’s that time of the year again! December might bring us some of the coldest, darkest, rainiest weather but with it comes Chef Gregory’s exquisitely prepared Peking duck! Peking duck is prized for its delicate, crisp skin and is a highly revered dish in China. Chef Gregory begins by curing the duck in 7 spice, salt and sugar overnight. The duck is then dipped in a blanching liquid of shaoxing wine, honey, salt and 7 spice and hung for 24 hours to dry the skin and concentrate the flavors. Finally, the duck is roasted for about an hour and flash fried to order. After Chef Gregory presents the whole duck to your table it is brought back to the kitchen to be carved. It is served with mandarin pancakes made from flour, water and duck fat along with traditional garnishes: cucumbers, sliced scallions, and pickled kumquats. Chef also prepares a house-made plum sauce made with ginger, chili, and hoisin to spread on the pancakes and make mini wraps. As the diners enjoy sharing the first course, Chef Gregory takes all the left over duck and makes duck fried rice to be served as a final course.
Summer is officially over and in its wake are rainclouds and a dim, gray light that ends before evening begins. But, living in Portland we are used to this season. In fact, many of us relish these months where catching up on hobbies and past summer blockbusters are the norm. The fall and winter months are for reflection and appreciation of the year we had. For Chef Gregory Gourdet it’s a time to look back on the culinary paths he forged as well as the friendships he made. It’s a chance to reinvent the bold flavors that so many of us seek out to both fill and warm our chilly bellies. This season, as in all season’s past, he’s outdone himself.
Now on the menu are seven new items as well as seasonal updates to most of the other dishes. Some early favorites are the Korean baby back ribs, red miso Manila clams and a seafood tom kha that immediately makes you forget you ever knew wet and cold. There’s even a “thai coffee” ice cream trio of condensed milk, coffee and caramel cardamom that playfully nods to popular drink. There’s no better time to come into Departure. Enjoy the rain.
On October 17th Chef Gregory and Chef Justin Wills move inland for their collaborative Land Dinner—the second dinner of their two part Land and Sea Dinner Series. The two chefs will join forces for a five-course celebration of food from the land, featuring premiere game meats and fresh fall produce – showcasing ingredients from the forests and farmlands surrounding Portland. Working with Eat Oregon First and Nicky USA, game meats will take center stage, along with Oregon’s best native wild plants.
Wills’ and Gourdet’s shared love of wild foods and seasonal ingredients is the perfect match for a collaboration. The Sea Dinner this past April took place at Restaurant Beck and incorporated fresh spring vegetables and an inspired menu of the best seafood from the Oregon Coast. The Land Dinner will feature freshly foraged ingredients with a focus on the bountiful Pacific Northwest autumn harvest.
Gregory is extremely excited to cook alongside Wills, who was recently nominated as a semifinalist for Best Chef Northwest for the 2013 James Beard Foundation Awards and was included in the 2013 inaugural edition of Best Chefs America.
Exclusive look at the menu below:
ROASTED SQUAB, Matsutake Ganache, Pine Sap, Birch Crumble
CHESTNUT SOUP, Wild Boar Bacon, Roasted Squash Dumpling, Maple, Ginger, Thyme
GOOSE, with Chinese Spices, Pickled Persimmon, 5-Spice Jacobsen Salt
COFFEE RUB OREGON VENISON, Slow Roasted in Juniper Branches, Candied Parsnips, Native Blackberry Jus
DARK WOODBLOCK CHOCOLATE TART, Beet Caramel Center, Pistachio Ice Cream, Wild Rose Hip Jam
Once you’ve lived in Portland long enough you know not to expect more than a few days of sun in a row until one day, a day that not only marks the beginning of summer but transforms our calm, eco-friendly, IPA sipping residents into PBR chugging pyromaniacs. Maybe it’s the usually perfect weather or recent memory of Indian Summers past. Could be a dangerously intoxicating blend of charcoal and sulfur; either way, a city that takes pride in its uniqueness comes together on the 4th of July to be gloriously and unabashedly American.
The feeling of Americana inspires us just as well. Chef Gregory, not to be outdone by Chef Chris of Urban Farmer, who celebrated National Fried Chicken Day by serving the dish two ways [link to UF blog post], took his usual influences and celebrated summer’s arrival by playfully reconstructing the “chicken and waffle” into a spicy, tangy, gluten-free breakfast sandwich.
The crunchy fried chicken thighs are coated with rice crackers for a healthier crunch, while the corn and coconut milk bun lends a soft, creamy quality. A warm papaya slaw with chiles and dried shrimp provides a tart and zingy flavor that mingles nicely with a sweet maple chile glaze. This sandwich may not be traditional but it’s certainly American!
Departure Restaurant + Lounge, Portland, OR
Spring has arrived in Portland and with the warm weather comes Chef de Cuisine Gregory’s latest menu change. Don’t worry, we’ve still got all of your favorites like the pork belly and brussels sprouts, but Chef has expanded his vegan and gluten-free options while bolstering his paleo inspired meals. True to his own health and tastes, Gregory’s dishes are always Asian influenced with fresh, bold flavors such as the new kale and radish salad with pistachio and wild ginger. Local rhubarb has found its way into the menu as well as a sweet and sour component to gorgeous spring salmon. Also keep an eye on the rotating sushi menu that now features equal amounts of vegan and pescatarian rolls. All in all it’s an exciting time to visit Departure – our decks are open, the sun is shining, and new, exciting flavors are pouring out of our kitchen. And make sure to stop by the bar on your way outside and ask Chino about new craft cocktails on the way…
Spring is in the air, and the Departure Bloody Mary is Back!
Just in time for our first Mother’s Day Brunch, we have resurrected one of our most popular brunch libations from last summer – the signature Departure Bloody Mary. This “Mary” is not for sissies! Combining Thai chili infused vodka, hoisin, soy, samba deleck and siracha, our favorite barkeep Billy Poplarchick created this Departure original with rave reviews last summer. This sipper is topped off with a pork belly salt with orange peel, sesame seed and chili powder made by our very own Chef Gregory. The combination of Asian flavors mixed with traditional elements of this storied cocktail make it bloody time for brunch at Departure. Check out the Departure Bloody Mary and our Mother’s Day Brunch May 12th!