Our mother-daughter date could not have been any better last Saturday night. My younger one was at a play-date (which turned into a sleep over) and my older teen daughter was fancying a posh restaurant with elegant yet casual vibes. What better way to fulfill that wish other than taking her to one of the best places in Portland?
Canard is owned by the same talented team as Le Pigeon, which is a French restaurant located right next door. Canard is chef Gabriel Rucker’s most casual place to dine in an elegant yet relaxed mood. The dishes in the menu are from all over the world, but mainly French-inspired. The portion, taste, delicacies, presentation…they all scream OUI in every possible way. Rightfully so, the restaurant won “Best restaurant of the year” within couple weeks of opening it in 2018. I would categorize this as a street side European-style bistro where the food is fine-dining quality. The service is as fantastic as the food and the ambiance, we barely waited 5 minutes to get to be seated and the overall service was fast and friendly.
So, now to the best part…the dishes we ordered. We had half a dozen of mignonette oysters with green chili juice, their signature Garlic Fries with home-made sauce, Foie Gras Dumplings with celery root, black garlic, and orange cubes, and Thai Fried Trout with green curry guacamole that came with thinly sliced picked carrots and butter lettuce. If you are there just for snacks or drink and want to try only one item…it should be their garlic fries. This is probably the most addicting french fries I have tried so far which is perfectly cut, infused with garlic flavor, seasoned with the right amount of herbs, and fried for the right amount of time. The oysters were fresh and small, but the hint of the chili sauce added a delicious kick. For Foie Gras dumpling, I have never tried it before even after living in Belgium for few years. The ones in Canard were not only creamy and flavorful but also it managed to prove my skepticism about foie gras. Black garlic with the dumplings were just small pieces of savory heaven in that bowl…something I’ve never tried before either. Another main entree, Thai Fried Trout, was crunchy outside, yet soft and moist inside…not greasy at all. Every piece of trout in the bowl was aromatic and classy. Finally, to the finish the meal, we had one order of Paris Brest to share. This was probably a regret there and we should not have ordered it after eating all those above. It was fantastic with cookies & cream and chocolate sauce. But the size and consistency didn’t work well, since we were already too full.
Overall, we had an excellent experience here. This is a great place for date, to hang out with friends or colleagues or for girls night out. But I wouldn’t bring small kids here…I don’t think my 10-year old would have appreciated this place or its food to the fullest. You will get the oysters for half the price if you come here during happy hour. Next time, I got to try the next door sister restaurant, La Pigeon to see what the hype about is about this place. Plan to park parallel on nearby streets when you want to come here.