Portland will get its “reverse steakhouse” this week. G-Love, the Slabtown restaurant hitting The Carson apartment complex, will open its doors August 28.
According to Portland Monthly, G-Love is all about the vegetables: grilled summer squash bruschetta, avocado rolled in coco-blackspice seed mix, lettuces dressed in a plum and noyaux vinaigrette. G-Love does offer various meat dishes, like a crispy pork belly with with raspberry-horseradish relish. It’s just that those are the sides.
“The idea here is to really flip the traditional steakhouse model. Instead of ordering sides like creamed spinach or grilled broccoli, that’s where we serve our proteins,” says Garrett Benedict, the chef-owner of G-Love. “I’ll be focusing on the protein itself, just the protein and the sauce, pared down to the essence of what needs to be there to make it very, very flavorful.”
G-Love will be Benedict’s first restaurant, but he’s not exactly green: Before he moved up north, the chef had worked in some of the country’s most notable restaurants, including the Michelin-starred AL’s Place in San Francisco and James-Beard-winning Osteria in Philadelphia. But for years, Benedict has been set on Portland. Much of his family lives in Oregon, including his parents, who own farmland in Silverton, Oregon. When they bought the farm in 2012, he knew what he’d do: use the farm to supply produce to the restaurant. “I would have ended up here regardless if they purchased the farm,” he says, remembering childhood trips to the city from his hometown in Alaska. “I always thought that Portland would be the place where I ended up.”
Over the last few years, his family has been building up the farm to be commercially viable, leasing the land to farmers Jay and Jordan Uth. The three of them worked on a list of things he wanted for the kitchen: Tons of heirloom tomato varieties, beans, and fresh herbs, plus several varieties of edible flowers. Menu items will rotate with seasonality and creative whim, but he knows the Uths will always have to send salad greens by the truckful.
The restaurant is huge — just under 2,000 square feet, with a huge, floor-to-ceiling windows, touches of blue and yellow gradient, and beachy wood banquettes. But the focal point of the restaurant will be the open-format kitchen, built out into the dining room, with the chef’s counter, bar, and tables all in clear view of the kitchen. “I wanted to create a space where there weren’t any obstructions,” he says. “I wanted (architect Mark Annen) to design the most open kitchen he ever designed.”
Benedict named G-Love for his childhood nickname, which is also possibly a reference to G. Love & Special Sauce. To make sure he could clear the name, the chef reached out to the band’s frontman, Garrett Dutton, on Instagram. “He was amazing,” Benedict says, with a laugh. “He wrote back immediately and said, ‘Go forth and prosper.’”
• G-Love [Official]
• G-Love [Instagram]
• San Francisco Veteran Garrett Benedict to Open Vegetable-Focused G-Love [PoMo]
• G-Love is Poised to Be Portland’s Next-Level Farm-Fresh Restaurant [PoMo]
Update: August 26, 2019, 9:33 a.m.
This story has been updated to include the opening date and latest menu details.