Departure Restaurant + Lounge - Portland, OR
I went to Departure the last time I was in Portland and I really enjoyed the food so it was a no brainer that I would stop by again. This time I used the powers of social media to help plan my PDX foodie adventures. I tweeted the executive chef of Departure, Gregory Gourdet (@GG30000), and asked him where I should eat. To my surprise he tweeted back and I went to a couple of places he recommended (future posts coming) and I was not disappointed.
Departure is located on the top floor of the very nice and luxurious Nines hotel, which is 15 stories up from the bottom. The outside patio is a great place to hang out and have sweeping views of Downtown Portland and the river. It’s Asian-inspired menu offers small plates that you can easily share - or not if you're not a sharing mood, and there's nothing wrong with that. The happy hour is hard to beat with some great appetizers and drink specials.
We started with the Departure Wings. They were little bites of delicious goodness on a stick. The sweet chili glaze gave it a wonderful sweet, but not too spicy taste. It was super crispy on the outside and tender soft on the inside. I wanted to eat more, but we ordered other items so I had to pace myself.
Since I didn't want to share everything I had the Miso Salmon because my meal partner does not eat seafood. (Blasphemy, I agree, but that just meant more for me!) It was quite a good dish. It had a nice crisp to the skin, which is always yummy and adds texture and flavor. The miso soup base was rich with a good balance of saltiness from the miso and bacon. It complimented the salmon quite well.
The Ishiyaki Steak was my favorite presentation of the night. It was a Wagyu sirloin strip that was cooked and served on a Japanese grilling stone. The beef was perfectly done and was still smoking when it was delivered to our table. The tare was a great salty and sweet dipping sauce for the beef.
We ended with dessert of course, the Toasted Vanilla Cake. It was a fantastic dessert to end dinner. The vanilla cake was toasty yet soft and spongy at the same time. It had a strong, but not overwhelming vanilla flavor. The slices of melon added a nice freshness and the ice cream was silky smooth.
Departure should be on your list of places to see in Portland. The food is fantastic along with the views! I've been there twice now and will go back each and every time I come into town.