Would you travel 20 miles for a Salisbury steak?
We’re not talking the spongy Swanson’s TV dinner of (admittedly beloved) childhood memories, but a deliciously beefy slab of seared-and-seasoned, dry-aged ground brisket and chuck, with additional chunks of house-smoked brisket. Instead of corn and mashed potatoes, this upscale take on comfort food is accompanied by a side of hot-and-crispy frites tossed in rosemary garlic oil, while the gravy on the steak is a classically French mushroom-Madeira sauce, rather than American heartland brown. Fork it all together and you’ve almost got a haute poutine.
Obviously, you’re at Canard, which, since opening on East Burnside in 2018—when it then became pretty much every Portland publication’s Restaurant of the Year—has fused American junk food and American drunk food with French bistro excess and French wine bar refinement. Except, you’re in Oregon City, where chef Gabriel Rucker and partners Andy Fortgang (the sommelier) and Taylor Daugherty (Canard Portland’s founding chef de cuisine) opened a second location in July. The group originally considered going with a more fast-casual concept—as every restaurant must these days—but ultimately wound up in the former Grano Bakery and Market space just doing what Canard does…i.e., a little bit of everything.
The menu is built around the Portland stalwarts, including steam burgers ($5.50 each, or $30 for six), oeufs en mayonnaise ($12) and the famous Duck Stack ($22): pancakes, duck gravy, Tabasco onions and a duck egg, plus the option of adding foie gras ($15). But there are also brand-new items, variations and cross-pollinations, with seasonal menu changes still to come.
“It is meant to feel Canard when you step inside,” Daugherty says. On a recent Thursday night, the place was hopping both inside and out, with a patio covered in picnic tables, comfy rounded booths in picture windows, a rectangular bar and, just behind it, a busy open kitchen on display. “You guys should watch this show called The Bear,” said one diner in a party of six celebrating a birthday, and let’s face it, we were all thinking it.
Daugherty says that Canard Oregon City’s Salisbury steak frites are meant to be a “more comforting” version of Canard Portland’s duck frites, while instead of Portland’s fried chicken wings with Szechuan five-spice, there’s Tokyo hot chicken tenders ($18), with a crispy cornflake crust and accompaniments of Koji honey, Japanese gribiche, bonito and a lemon wedge. You can also add those tenders to the broccoli Cobb salad ($14)—creamy and crispy and sweet with blue cheese dressing, bacon crumbles and smashed avocado—for even more of a Buffalo winglike experience. Besides the duck stack, the restaurant’s namesake protein surfaces in a smoked duck flauta appetizer ($18), while the famous foie gras dumplings, which come with apple butter, black sesame and peanuts in Portland, are here dressed with peanut sauce, blackberry and balsamic ($21, add black truffles for $15).
You’ll also find foie gras at the top of the cocktail list in the Standard OG ($14), a kind of Manhattan-accented old fashioned: foie-washed rye, Park VS cognac, sherry-vermouth blend, Bénédictine, bitters and a lemon peel in a rocks glass, with the foie adding a mere suggestion of flavor and mouthfeel.
There are a half-dozen beers or ciders, 14 wines by the glass and, of course, over 100 bottles; non-alcoholic options include Athletic Beer, Seedlip and tonic, and canned (rather than bar gun) soda, as well as a Shirley Temple. “We have the best Shirley Temple in Oregon City,” one waiter cracks, suggesting that it’s probably the only one.
Because it’s twice the size of Canard Portland, Canard Oregon City feels more naturally family friendly. In addition to the soft serve (vanilla, pineapple Dole whip or swirl, $5-$6) and four different ice cream sundaes for dessert, there is a six-item Little Ducks menu (most of which is still the same stuff that’s available for the kid inside you: burger, french fries, mac and cheese).
As of Sept. 20, Oregon City is also the only Canard with daytime service, which stopped in Portland during the pandemic. That menu includes lunch-brunch additions like a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich with English muffin bread, a curry chicken gyro, and the social media fave hot beef and cheddar sandwich (aka “the Canarby’s,” which has previously been served in Portland).
Should you make the journey? That depends on your passion for food, the value of your time, and your environmental consciousness. If you’re a local—not just to Oregon City but Milwaukie (where Rucker lives), Clackamas or Boring—it’s probably your once-a-month or even once-a-week spot, whether with family and friends or solo at the bar. And if you’re a Canard fan in Portland—or anywhere in America—you surely want to try the new spots at least once. After all, there’s no telling if that Salisbury steak will make it to Burnside.
EAT: Canard, 1500 Washington St., Oregon City, 503-344-4247, canardrestaurant.com. 11 am-2 pm and 4-9 pm daily.