Departure Restaurant + Lounge Restaurant Review:
Chef Gregory Gourdet’s menu stars Asian fusion fare that is attractively presented, with substance behind the style. But the experience at Departure is about something beyond the food, too, because the vibe is more Las Vegas than Portland. Entering the restaurant requires walking up an airline-style ramp, even passing a host who seems ready to take your boarding pass. The interior affords striking views, and a patio deck with heat lamps is ready to enjoy even in cooler weather. Expect exotic cocktails and a lengthy (and expensive) wine list that includes numerous sakés. Gourdet and his team prepare an array of small plates, such as squid with miso lime sauce, juicy buns prepared with barbecue short ribs, shrimp dumplings, sushi rolls, and “wok-fried” dishes like chili prawns with candied walnuts. Slightly larger plates include creative combinations: crispy pork belly, pickled cherries, ginger and pumpkin seeds; tom kha soup with Dungeness crab or shellfish. Explore interesting salads as well, perhaps one featuring Asian pears, apples, hearts of palm, tamarind and macadamia nuts. Vegetarians and gluten-free diners will find numerous choices, and there’s a special vegan menu. Don’t miss the chocolate and curry peanut bar for dessert.