Friday, January 8, 2016

December PDX Restaurant: Departure


Departure isn't a wholly vegan restaurant, but it is extremely veg-friendly. In addition to the regular menu, there is an entirely separate vegan menu (as well as a separate gluten-free menu). It's not quite as long as the regular menu, but it is quite extensive!

Set on a high floor downtown, in the summer I'm told a table on the deck gives you a wonderful view of the city. We didn't really have that view indoors, but it's still an interesting vibe and good food. 

Genre: Asian small plates

Price: $12 cocktails, $6 to $14 per plate on vegan menu (up to $33 on regular menu) - you'll probably want two plates per person as a full dinner

Setting: Boat-like architecture, music, upscale/sleek atmosphere

What we tried

For drinks, Abe and I ordered the two mocktails, to see which we liked better - I loved the strawberry cooler, and he the Thai basil sipper (both were really good, though). My MIL got the indochine - which contains creme de cassis, which I've never heard of before but is a fruity (berry) liquor and the cocktail was delicious.

Food - from left to right, top to bottom:

  • Shaved collards salad, Minzuna & apple salad, Edamame
  • Green beans, Sweet potato tempura roll, Salt & pepper tempeh
  • Hand cut rice noodles, Kimchee fried rice, Brussells sprouts  

Our favorites:
Mine: Tempura rolls
Abe's: Shaved collards salad
MIL's: Brussell sprouts

I think we all like those top three a lot. Nothing was particularly bad, although the tempeh was may just so-so. To me, everything was more spicy than I'd like - unlike much spicy food, there actually was still flavor, the spicy didn't just cover up everything, but nonetheless my mouth was burning by the end of the meal! We definitely ordered too much, each dish is more than an appetizer, but definitely less than an entree. I'd recommend going with a group so you can try as many options as possible!
Overall impression: A fun place, I'd like to go back in the summer to see the view from the deck. I was surprised by how much I actually did like the food considering how far outside my norm it is, and so spicy. It's a good place to take a variety of tastes - with a full vegan menu, gluten-free menu, and normal menu, we suggested my MIL bring us back with my SIL and her boyfriend sometime to accommodate all of our needs.

Would I take my parents?*: Probably not. I actually think they might like the food (it's outside of their comfort zone a smidge, but not that much), but they would not be thrilled with the atmosphere. It's definitely a noisy, more "club" type of vibe. 

*Scale: Heck no. No. Probably not. Maybe. Eh, yeah. Yes. Definitely. 

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