Portland is a city famous for many things :: beer, weirdness and awesome food. I was surprised at the number of excellent restaurants in the small Northwest city and, frankly, overwhelmed when it came to picking places to eat during my short three-day weekend there. Several people recommended Le Pigeon, a New American restaurant with French flair, and after discovering that it has a tasting menu (one of my favorite things), I signed right up.
Le Pigeon is an intimately tiny restaurant in downtown Portland with an open kitchen, cozy communal tables and large open windows allowing for watching people walking down the street. Executive Chef Gabriel Rucker focuses on simple dishes exquisitely arranged with an eye-catching style–and taste. My friend Ian and I ordered the five-course tasting menu ($65/person) to get a true feel for Le Pigeon’s cuisine. (A seven-course option is also available for $85/person and a la carte entrees range from $21-$29/plate.) Each course was moderately sized but intensely flavored, leaving us craving for more.
The evening started with a light, salad-style version of beef bourguignon. The entree counterpart of which was named as one of Portland’s 18 most iconic dishes by Eater.com. An orchestra of red onions, shallots, horse radish, oysters, oyster foam and broccoli accompanied the beef, adding a delicate crunchiness to the overall texture. The acidic vegetables created a wave of spiciness that evolved into creamy richness with each bite. A wonderful start to the evening.