little bird bistro

by Kristina Sloggett

in Dinner,Portland,restaurants

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 :D

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

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