Gregory Gourdet’s Long-Awaited Restaurant, Kann, is Now Open
Portland star chef Gregory Gourdet, formerly of Departure and contestant and guest judge on Top Chef, finally opened his long-awaited restaurant, Kann, August 4. The name translates to cane in Haitian Creole, a nostalgic callback to the sugar cane vendors in Haiti, where Gourdet's parents are from. The project has been in the works for over four years, with a Kann Winter Village pop-up in yurts and the release of Gourdet’s acclaimed cookbook, Everyone’s Table, along the way. But if you haven’t already booked your reservation, it might take a while to snag a spot—Gourdet is opening the restaurant to a completely sold-out house, and tables are already booked through the end of August.
That means that, unless you’re one of the lucky few, you’ve got plenty of time to peruse the menu of live-fire Haitian cooking featuring Pacific Northwest-grown ingredients, with influences from the African, Caribbean, and Southeast Asian diaspora in the mix. In accordance with Gourdet’s own dietary preferences, the menu is also entirely gluten- and dairy-free, leaning heavily on local meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit. A full vegan menu is also available. And because Gourdet himself doesn’t drink, you’ll find plenty of zero-proof cocktails alongside alcoholic libations. A full bar and lounge in the basement of the restaurant, called Sousól, is scheduled to open in the fall. There’ll also be plenty of desserts to choose from, leaning heavily on tropical fruit flavors.
Besides being Portland’s first sit-down Haitian restaurant, Gourdet also hopes that the restaurant will stand out for its commitment to diversity. The kitchen is entirely led by BIPOC, women, and LGBTQ employees, including Chef de Cuisine Varanya Geyoonsawat, pastry chef Gabby Borlabi, and general manager Damont Nelson. According to a press release, all staff members received training about Haitian culture from Dr. Bertrhude Albert, a Haitian-American storyteller and CEO of P4H, a nonprofit that does aid and sustainable development work in Haiti.
Reservations for September open on August 15 at noon on Resy. In the meantime, here are a handful of Kann dishes we can’t wait to try. 548 SE Ash St, kannrestaurant.com, @kannrestaurant
These fritters made of root vegetables—often malanga root, but in this case taro—are a staple Haitian appetizer that Gourdet pairs with remoulade.
Griyo Twice-Cooked Pork
The national dish of Haiti, this dish with succulent-looking pork chunks comes with fried green plantains (who could say no?) and avocado pikliz.
Tomato, Berry, Cherry, and Young Coconut Salad
This colorful summer salad, a staple of previous Kann pop-ups, combines ingredients we’ve rarely seen together, complete with coconut vinegar for tang. A similar recipe appeared in Everyone’s Table, so try your hand at cooking it at home and see how it stacks up to the restaurant's version.
Chinese-style duck was a cult-favorite dish at Departure available only around the holidays, but now, Gourdet is offering a tropical spin on the bird, lacquered with cane sugar, tamarind, and pineapple.
Grilled Pineapple Upside-Down Cake with Rum Raisin Ice Cream
We’ve heard plenty of praise for Gourdet’s dairy-free ice creams, and what better pairing for ice cream than cake with grilled tropical fruit? A similar pineapple cake has appeared on Kann pop-up menus, so we’re excited to see the next evolution of this dish.