little bird bistro

You can call it Restaurant Week over here at spabettie. I’ve been on a break of sorts, and in that time I’m sharing some of our recent experiences dining out.

One of our favorite restaurant owners in Portland? Gabriel Rucker. One of our favorite restaurants in Portland? Gabe’s celebrated and inventive Le Pigeon. We used to love brunch there, and dinners are amazing as well. Gabe has been recognized time and again for his clever and notable dishes.

Gabe is known not only for his James Beard Rising Star Award but as the first Oregon chef to earn it. He fits perfectly into the exciting and rebellious section of Portland’s culinary culture.

Excited were we upon hearing Gabe was opening a second location, Little Bird Bistro, flying high in downtown Portland in the last six months. Okay, no more bird jokes – our last experience there was outstanding.

We started with cocktails – my pink drink was the Antoinette – vodka, grapefruit, Campari, Dolin Blanc, Peychaud’s, up. It was delicious.

Jason chose the Van Cleef – bourbon, scotch rinse, smoked orange, rocks.

To start, the charcuterie. I cannot recall what everything was, but there was an amazing potato salad that I ate most of. Amazing.

My entree choice was amazing as well –

Grilled Tombo Tuna, fennel confit, grapefruit butter, citrus salad

Bright and beautiful, this was so fresh and flavorful that Jason took it away from me! The tuna was buttery perfect, and the salad included onions of the pickled and sauteed varieties, black olives which were a surprisingly great flavor pairing, fresh grapefruit. Jason wanted to order another to go.

The other entree I was considering was the one Jason ended up ordering, so halfway through we switched –

Gnocchi Parisienne, peas, roasted portobello, pistou

This was insanely good.

We often end up making friendly conversation with our neighbors in restaurants, and this night was no different. The couple next to us were on a road trip from Napa Valley (how funny, we just did the opposite road trip!) and we talked wine, restaurants and cookbooks. We had some fun conversation throughout the evening.

They were just a bit ahead of us, and their dessert arrived as we were ordering ours.

They heard us talking about the Rhubarb Tarte Tatin, chantilly cream before ordering something else. They insisted we try a bite of theirs. Jason kept saying no, that’s okay, and as I picked up the spoon and said “if you insist” she said, ‘come on, we’re from the midwest, we share!’ and that’s all my Midwest Man needed to hear. He tried it also, and loved it. I promised to make a rhubarb dessert soon.

The Rhubarb Tarte was amazing, and I hope we can get back before rhubarb season is over, because I would definitely order that. I did have rhubarb in my dessert, however, and it was great also –

Fromage Blanc Cheesecake, rhubarb-vanilla compote

fromage indeed – this was some of the best cheesecake I have had, and most definitely unique. I am a big cheesecake baker, and I may attempt something similar soon.

Jason chose the Ice Cream & Sorbet Sampler – it arrived in a whimsical and fun presentation:

The flavors as I recall: mint, strawberry, pineapple, vanilla, rhubarb, cacao vanilla. Each one delicious. We shared with our neighbors 😀

Just as I have been impressed each time I visit Le Pigeon, I raved about this the whole way home and beyond. We both want to return and I hope it will be soon.

Little Bird Bistro on Urbanspoon


  1. says

    i love those cocktail glasses but damn, they are hard to drink out of. i always spill cocktails. ALWAYS. and that ice cream sampler? so cute!!

    • spabettie says

      hee – funny you should say that, when she brought our drinks she was walking very slow and setting mine down on the table slowly, to not spill it as it was FULL. she succeeded, then I spilled on my first sip. 😉

    • spabettie says

      Hmm… I think the rhubarb season is such a short window, I can see how you’d miss it. I love it – a very tart flavor that I think goes great in a dessert, not too sweet.

  2. says

    Yum yum yum yum yum! How did you get such great photos in the restaurant? The lighting is fantastic!

    I have that cute dish that the ice cream came in. I keep my jewelry in it. It was super cheap, and I can look it up if you *need* one. :)

    • spabettie says

      yes Yes YES, I was going to look for those dishes today (how did you KNOW!) 😀 I was really happy with the lighting too – our reservations were 6:30 and we were seated near the windows… I always do a test photo when first sitting down, to change white balance, etc, and was happy when the first photos came out great! made me wonder if photography was actually thought about when designing the layout… :)

  3. says

    I work near that restaurant and walk by it every day. I’ve been wanting to try it and now seeing your photos I REALLY want to go!!

  4. says

    That’s the coolest and most stylish way to serve ice cream I’ve ever seen! 😀 And I love how you picture the drinks – you catch the light so that they seem to shine from within. (I also totally adore the last drink pic with the candle behind it!)

  5. says

    I love talking to people in restaurants about their dishes – my husband just hangs his head in shame – ha! 😀

    Everything looks wonderful – my husband and I recently went out for sushi and ordered calamari fries with this vinegary slaw and spicy mustard dipping sauce – amazing combination!

  6. says

    You shared that precious thing with your neighbors?! Wow you’re generous. More than me, anyway! That all would have gone down my belly! Hm, perhaps that’s why I’ve never made friends in a restaurant before…

    • spabettie says

      thank you, Kristen! I know what you mean, I used to be the same way about photos in restaurants. then? I started calling ahead and asking if they would mind – they were ALWAYS quick to say no, totally acceptable! that made me feel better. I try to be as discreet as possible, still. :)

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