We’re Getting Ready For Winter

The leaves are changing, the days are getting shorter and farmers are getting ready for winter.  In the midst of all this comes our menu change which embraces all things autumnal including a plethora of sunchokes, root vegetables and citrus.

Some of the favorites include a take on an old favorite, Roasted Carrots from Zenger Farms with smoked cashew butter, sunchoke, curry and coconut cream.  There is also a fiery hot Seafood, Bacon and Kimchi HotPot with green onion, egg and scallion.  It comes bubbling to the table like a red witch’s cauldron, very fitting for the season.

Stayed tuned for more highlights throughout the month!

7th Annual Vegan Dinner

7th Annual Vegan Dinner

In keeping with tradition, October 4th saw our 7th vegan dinner up at Departure.

Over the years it has become fairly well known around Portland, and each year the bar is raised.

This year we highlighted our ongoing relationship with Zenger Farm with sourcing product, and were able to make good use out of some of the last of the summer flowers from our garden.

The highlight of the menu for a lot of people, including the culinary team, was the Cashew Cheese, garnished with the rooftop flowers.  To make it they soak and ferment cashews and pine nuts and then age them for a week.  It is then seasoned with yeast which gives it a funky, nutty flavor just like a diary cheese. 

The other dish of interest was Miso Eggplant with Smoked Tomato XO sauce.  A traditional XO is a spicy seafood sauce that originated in Hong Kong and is most commonly used in the southern China regions.  Our version is made with tomatoes from summer that were smoked and dehydrated, and then sautéed with garlic, ginger and chili.  The flavor profile is incredibly meaty and umami, very similar to the traditional XO sauce and is definitely entirely unique to Departure.

We look forward to see what the 8th year holds!

Portland Monthly

What better way to celebrate late summer’s bounty by gracing the cover of our own Portland Monthly magazine!  Portland Monthly was started in 2003 by a sibling team, and after a rocky start grew to be the 7th largest city magazine in the country.   Since then it has become the staple of Portland and all things food related, in large part thanks to Karen Brooks the food editor.

As always we are excited to be able to show off our garden and ongoing partnership with Zenger Farms, which is exactly what this Late-Summer Salad with Berry-Coconut Dressing does.

Blending beefsteak tomatoes from Zenger Farm, local fruit, and herbs and garlic from our own rooftop the salad is truly all things Portland.  Check it out!


Slushy Program

In the heat of August and mid-summer, what sounds better than sipping on an ice cold slushy on the rooftop?  Not a whole lot, so in mid-July we rolled out an incredible slushy program, featuring local ingredients as well as showcasing trends like the ever popular Frosé (and infused with chamomile syrup from our garden to make it unique)!


We run two new slushies every night, and have 50 recipes already written that we are experimenting with including a frozen signature Seoul Spring made with house made bamboo syrup (pictured here) and a very special upcoming Shiso Mint Julep that uses an heirloom shiso specifically imported to Portland’s Japanese Garden that we are lucky enough to grow up on our roof.


At $15 for a 15 ounce glass, what’s not to love?

Ice Cream Cones and Summer

Ice Cream Cones and Summer

Happy Solstice!  To gear up for a fun, hot and busy summer Chef Gregory will be rolling out an ice cream cone program starting July 1st.  After months of planning (and waiting) for summer to finally arrive, starting next month the team will be offering two rotating ice cream flavors such as fermented rice and coconut with berries, to roasted banana caramel all served up in gluten free cones. (It almost goes without saying that the ice creams will be vegan.)

Garnishes such as herbs and flowers will come from our rooftop garden, like the cone featured here: Koji and coconut milk ice cream with Marion berry sauce, pickled dried strawberries and freeze dried strawberries, all topped with flower petals from the garden and some gold leaf.  What better way to celebrate the season?

It’s Garden Time!

Departure Restaurant + Lounge, Portland, OR

It’s Garden Time!

Our ever growing rooftop garden is finally in full bloom, and we have just begun using some herbs and flowers on new summertime dishes, including the attached image of Kampachi Avocado with Pansies and Dill.

This year we are sourcing primarily from Zenger Farms, which is a local farm that is part of the greater Johnson Creek watershed, and is an educational and environmental resource owned by the city.  Their statement is that they are “officially and sustainable” a resource for the city and we would encourage everyone to take a look at their website for further information: https://zengerfarm.org/about-the-farm/

We are lucky to have gotten a number of starts from them, including culture, lettuce, mustard greens and red leaf lettuce, and in addition Chef Jon has taken the lead in growing and cultivating strawberries, Ako shiso, 6 types of onions, chamomile, hops and Five Star Akebia, among many others.

On August 19th we are partnering with them for a Farm Dinner and could not be more excited.

Here’s to the continuation of beautiful weather and the beginning of summer!

Spring Has Sprung

Departure Restaurant + Lounge, Portland, OR

Spring Has Sprung

While the sun may not have graced us with its presence yet this season, many spring vegetables and herbs have done so, prompting our Spring Menu change which is full of brightness and vibrancy.  Twelve dishes changed overall featuring items such as ramps (the quintessential sign of warmer weather), asparagus and various herbs.   A new salad that has everyone particularly jazzed is the Cauliflower and Asparagus Salad, with ramps, coconut cream, saffron and garam masala which is a ground spice mixture common in India and Pakistan, and one of the only representations from that part of Asia at the moment.  It is beautiful, flavorful and has a great depth without being too hot or overwhelming.

While the savory dishes are fun, delicious and seasonally focused, Chef Gregory and the team are very excited about the new sweet items as well, namely the Coconut Ash Pudding.  Black coconut ash is the charred and processed remains of the shell, which can then be incorporated into dishes, such as ice cream or in the case, a pudding.  Served with coffee ice cream, whiskey caramel and coconut ice, it not only looks amazing, it is a beautiful combination of rich flavors and light textures.  


It may be raining outside, but the team has done an amazing job conveying just how brilliant spring and summer are inside.


Namazake Sake


Departure Restaurant + Lounge, Portland, OR

Namazake Sake        

Spring is upon us, and to celebrate we are offering a Namazake sake flight!

Namazake is an unpasteurized sake that is most commonly seen in the spring after the end of the traditional sake brewing season.  It is distinctly fresh, with a liveliness similar to young wine: a little sharp, with a bright fragrance that somehow “conveys the essence of spring”. Nama in Japanese has several meanings including “natural state” which is precisely what this beverage is.

The three that we are offering are all Japanese.

Eiko Fuji “Glorious Mt. Fuhi”, from the Yamagata region in northern Japan is soft and delicately fruity with a crisp acidity.

Rihaku “Origin of Purity” which is made from Omachi, Japan’s oldest pure rice strain is clean, creamy and complex.

Narutotai “Ginjo Nama Gneshu” was established in 1804 in the Tokushima prefecture, and is a powerful and dry sake, with a slightly sweet aroma and great acidity.

Happy Hour


Happy Hour

Departure Portland is rolling out some new happy hour items this month, to continue on a centuries old tradition that was referred to even by Shakespeare in King Henry V.  It is thought that in more recent history it has its origins in the US Navy around 1913 when a group of “home makers” held semi-weekly “Happy Hour Socials” aboard the USS Arkansas.

The idea of drinking before dinner in general comes from Prohibition era, when people would host cocktail “happy” hours at speakeasies, before going to dinner where alcohol was not allowed.

Each country has its own version of happy hour, except for Ireland where it has been illegal since 2003, and even in America several states outlaw it including Massachusetts, North Carolina and Illinois until 2015, when a 26 year ban was overturned.

To honor our cities love affair with happy hour we have added a beautiful Vietnamese Noodle dish with aromatics, beef and chili, along with an Onigiri with either pork belly or spicy tuna.

Private Dining at its Best!


Private Dining at its Best!

Departure Portland not only has an incredible menu by Chef Gregory Gourdet, but we have private dining space to match! Picture yourself in one of our three private dining rooms on the top of the nines hotel, with corporate team members or friends and family! 

Our State room can seat up to 25 guests and has incredible views of the city, with large open windows for our guests. Perfect for a rehearsal dinner, or even a business meeting, we’re here to make your event special with specialty menus for large parties and top notch service. We also have a room called the Sea of Love! Sounds pretty special huh? We certainly think so! The Sea of Love is for a perfect intimate dinner for up to 12 people! And if you’re having a small rehearsal dinner or bridal shower, you can even pick your honeymoon destination on the big map, located on the wall in the space.


Our third private dining option is called the West Deck and we have great plans for it, come this spring! Inquire soon as the space fills up for the warm spring and summer months! Book this space nightly for three hour slots and enjoy the breathtaking views of the city and a hand crafted cocktail to match!


Looking for additional information on our private dining? You can inquire here.

We hope to see you soon for an incredible event you won’t forget!