In today’s New York Times I noticed a review of a Portland restaurant called Little Bird. Now, The World According to Linda says Portland is American Food Mecca, so excellence is often a matter of degree in this city. That’s OK. I like the luxury of discussing degrees of excellence.
Little Bird opened in 2010, the second in what will, undoubtedly, be an acclaimed follow-up to Le Pigeon by chef Gabriel Rucker, the winner of the 2011 James Beard Rising Star Chef Award, aged 30 or younger.
I have delicious (pun only slightly intended) memories of my last meal at Le Pigeon, not the least of which was fois gras in pate a choux, as dessert. When I anticipate a great meal, my expectations go much further than just food, although you know by now great food is the minimum qualifier. Le Pigeon is intimate; just a few tables, and in my memory, ten or fewer elevated chairs around a counter bar, on the other side of which Chef Gabriel and sous-chef Erik work. As a diner, imagining that Chef is cooking for me, and is accessible to me, is both haute cuisine and connection. That’s the other part of the experience that cements the memory.
So, my next trip to Portland will include a visit to Little Bird. Mmmm…Little Bird’s smoked trout gougères with lemon-caraway dressing are casting about and reeling me in…
Little Bird, 219 SW Sixth Avenue, Portland, OR, 503.688.5952
Le Pigeon, 738 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214, 503.546.8796