When the news of chef Gabriel Rucker’s third Portland restaurant broke in January, it quickly became one of the most anticipated restaurants of the year. And today, Canard, the wine bar from James Beard Award-winning chef Rucker and wine director Andy Fortgang, opens right next door to their foundational Portland French restaurant Le Pigeon.
It’s the first project from Rucker and Fortgang since the duo opened Little Bird Bistro in downtown Portland in 2010. Like Le Pigeon and Little Bird, Canard will serve Rucker’s French-leaning fare and wines from Fortgang, but it will be more casual — and more playful — than either of those two restaurants, Eater PDX reports. “It’s about being more approachable and having a little fun with it,” co-owner and wine director Andy Fortgang told Eater PDX, “a little bit of that ‘high-low’ thing, so to speak.”
The 45-seat space, which includes a chef’s counter, a bar, and standing room in front, will serve as a counterpoint to its neighboring fine-dining restaurant. In addition to “kitschy, cult-y” wines, there will be a full bar with cocktails from bar manager Aaron Zieske and two happy hours — one from 4 to 5 p.m. and another from 10 p.m. to midnight.
Whimsical cocktails pair with playful food offerings, including Texas toast topped with sea urchin, fried chicken wings with truffle ranch, and foie gras dumplings with peanut sauce. “I’m staying true to my style of cooking,” Rucker said to Eater PDX. “You come and eat my food, of course you’re going to eat foie gras, but here, you might eat it in dumplings.” Foie gras also makes an appearance in the Foie Turn cocktail, composed of apricot brandy with a foie gras fat-washed bourbon.
Canard’s menu is conducive to visits for snacks and drinks or dinner, and Fortgang and Rucker are aiming for fun above all. “The sky’s the limit here. Our goal with Canard is to make anything possible, for anyone, at any time of day. Andy and I want Canard to be a place people want to hang out, and not take anything too seriously,” Rucker said in press release.
Canard will open at tonight at 4 p.m. to start. In May, it will transition to an all-day schedule, including brunch. Take a look around Canard below:
• Look Inside Gabriel Rucker’s Canard Before it Opens Monday [EPDX]
• Gabriel Rucker’s Canard Will Serve Foie Gras Bourbon and Uni Texas Toast [EPDX]
• Le Pigeon Owners Plot Next-Door Venue With French Bar Food [EPDX]
• Take a Look at Foie Happy Canard’s Cocktail Menu [EPDX]
• It Looks Like Canard Will Open in April [EPDX]