As Portland self-described first “reverse steakhouse,” G-Love still serves meat and seafood, but animal proteins take a backseat to vegetables. Chef and owner Garrett Benedict—G-Love is his childhood nickname—worked at a couple of Michelin star restaurants before setting his sights on veg-friendly PDX for his concept. The restaurant’s partnership with Olde Moon Farm (located an hour south of Portland in Silverton) exemplifies farm-to-table dining—the bulk of the produce showcased on the menu is sourced from the farm.
On social media, the vibrant restaurant playfully draws diners in with the tagline “come and get your love,” and by a stroke of kismet (or maybe they just have it on constant rotation), the classic Redbone song of the same name was playing as I waited for my order. 70s pop rock is undoubtedly the genre of choice at G-Love; the bar recently debuted a new brandy-based cocktail with a name so apropos it’s a wonder it hasn’t been done before—“Brandy, You’re a Fine Girl.” Aside: this trend makes me wonder if they’ll eventually shout out every track on Starlord’s Awesome Mixes.
G-Love’s bar program is as produce forward as their kitchen, cycling through and drawing inspiration from seasonal flavors at the peak of freshness. The chef is in constant collaboration with bar manager Leah Pupkin, who recently joined the team as the restaurant emerged from a winter hibernation. Fun fact: Pupkin’s Bar Director blog pairs her film reviews with themed cocktails… perfect for anyone who wants to remain a homebody post-quarantine!
Along with offering classic cocktails to-go, two options from the menu’s signature cocktail list are available for carryout. The cocktails follow a theme of feminine (traditionally… gender is a construct, y’all!) names, Benedict’s way of paying tribute to the women in his life. Another recent addition, which I am already plotting my return for, is the “Greta Tea.” As a nod to climate activist and all-around badass Greta Thunberg, the cocktail gets its green (what else?) hue from matcha.
“The Betty” has a tropical inspired flavor profile with Pueblo Viejo Blanco, spiced pineapple, aloe, almond, lime, coconut water, and soda. A sample of top-shelf tequila San Matias Gran Reserva is served alongside the cocktail whether you want to enjoy it dine-in or to-go: “We serve it in a little vial connected to the drink, so people can choose their own adventure. Take a little mini shot, or pour it on top, or sip it as you go,” says Benedict. Booze on booze, whoo-hoo!
Sans alcohol, the ingredients for the “Maria Teresa'' read like a wellness shot from your favorite juice bar with carrot juice, bell pepper syrup, ginger, and lemon. Post-yoga drinks, anyone? The addition of smoky El Silencio mezcal and mole bitters results in a palate awakening juxtaposition of sweet and savory, and it becomes easy to see why the “Maria Teresa” is G-Love’s top-selling cocktail.
Well, you heard what the man said. Come and get your love!!!
G-Love, 1615 NW 21st, (971) 229-1043, g-lovepdx.com