If you mentioned the term Cascadian to me several months ago, I would have had no idea that the region covers parts of Southwestern Canada, all of Washington, some of Oregon, a little bit of Montana and all of Idaho. If you wondered how pristine ingredients from this amalgamation of regions could be combined with a heavy Japanese stylistic influence it might be hard to imagine.
Thankfully someone has answered these questions for us. Josh Dorcak, the chef and owner at Mas in Ashland Oregon has opened an extraordinary restaurant that only does 10-course tasting menu for a handful of people every night. The pairings range from wine to—lots of—sake. Each dish is carefully put together before your eyes, if you sit at the sushi bar, and served in the hushed silence of this tiny restaurant: blink and you might even miss the small entrance on the street.
I have been lucky enough to have dined at Ferran Adrià’s El Bulli, before it shuttered its doors on the Spanish Coast a few years ago. I also made the pilgrimage to Next, Grant Achatz’s culinarily evolving Chicago outpost. I didn’t make it to Noma, or Fäviken—two cult restaurants in Scandinavia—but Dorcak is playing in the big leagues in a small town better known for theater than its food. He part of a wave of chefs that are about to change all of that. What’s more the price of admission is currently pretty accessible with the full menu running $145 per person with an extra charge for pairings.
I had a chance to dine at and chat with Dorcak on my recent trip to Ashland. All responses have been edited and condensed for clarity.