It’s official! Two Oregon restaurants can lay new claim to a best restaurants list. According to the New York Times, which just released its annual list of the best restaurants in the United States, Portland’s Kann and Ashland’s MÄS show what dynamic, culinary giants can do with inspired ingredients. The chefs are committed to sustainability through local sourcing and reducing environmental impact.
Here’s a look at these two stunning Oregon restaurants that just put the state on the map…again.
Kann is Chef Gregory Gourdet’s newly opened dining spot that takes a deep dive into Haitian cuisine through regionally sourced, spice bombed ingredients and live-fire cooking. Born in Haiti, Gourdet emigrated to the United States when he was 12 years old. His professional culinary life is marked by 20 years at renowned restaurants across the country that included Jean Georges and Per Se in New York City and Portland’s Departure, not to mention his five “best” recognitions by the James Beard Foundation. Also, his cookbook published in 2021, titled Everyone’s Table: Global Recipes for Modern Health, received a coveted James Beard Award in 2022.
The birth of his long held vision actually began in 2020 with the launch of his popups in collaboration with Mama Bird in NW Portland. He subsequently opened a hugely popular winter popup in pandemic worthy heated yurts at Salmon on Redd. With the eight-foot-long wood-burning hearth as the centerpiece of his new SE Portland location, Chef Gourdet continues to put his own trendsetting spin on Haitian food culture, such as with akra, griyo and legim staples.
For a sweet ending, the pastry chef designs such standouts as Charred Banana Tart with peanut curd and guava-habanero ice cream, and the Soursop Ice of berries, young coconut, coconut cream, and lime.
But it’s not just the food that has people talking. The restaurant itself is beautiful, with a light and airy plant-filled dining room.
Kann, 538 SE Ash St, Portland; @kannrestaurant
Tucked down an alley just off Ashland’s Main Street, MÄS is a culinary experience, not just a meal. Chef-owner Josh Dorcak has taken his culinary journey from pop-up to acclaimed restaurant that presents a multi-course, Japanese-inspired, Cascadian tasting adventure for all who cross its doorstep.
His creative genius shows up in the ever-changing menu based on available ingredients either foraged, sourced from a neighborhood garden down the street or fished from West coast ocean waters. Because of this, you won’t see actual dishes listed on his menu. Instead, a list of ingredients that will find their way onto your dish in some spectacular fashion.
Past plates reveal grilled albacore with pickled ramps and Dungeness crab served with miso soup and Douglas fir shoots. And diners aren’t the only ones who love MÄS. Chef Dorcak has won numerous acclaims, including being named one of Bon Appetit’s best new restaurants in 2018, was the subject of a feature in Forbes magazine, and earned Top Chef Ashland.
MÄS, 141 Will Dodge Way, Ashland; @mas_ashland
If you’re looking for a “not-out-of-a-box” dining experience, the opposite reaches of Oregon will appeal. They are home to two of the best Oregon restaurants in the country. MÄS and Kann are led by rising star chefs in Oregon’s farm to table movement showcasing what the Pacific Northwest region is known for.
You won’t be disappointed. Reservations are required.
Featured image: Kann Restaurant