A friend and I embarked on a dining adventure recently in which we meet for dinner at a nice restaurant here in Portland every month or so. This time we ate at Little Bird Bistro, which is owned by Gabriel Rucker, of Le Pigeon’s fame.
We had a wonderful meal with good service. What first caught my eye when I was walking up to the restaurant was the window into the kitchen. Very close to the window was a cart with trays full of French cookies and pastries, which looked so pretty and inviting. I like peeking into professional kitchens – it brings back fond (and not-so-fond) memories of my restaurant days.
We ordered a pear cider, Poiré Authentique from Eric Bordelet, before dinner. It was served in a champagne glass and smelled of ripe pears. It was light and bubbly, with a nice pear aftertaste but not sweet. It was a great aperitif because it was neither too filling nor too alcoholic.
We decided to share the foie gras torchon- it was such a creamy, unctuous treat with cooked apples and toasted brioche. I could have eaten just this for dinner and been totally happy but my arteries may not have liked it.
Instead of an entree, we decided to share some tantalizing side dishes. I ordered French fries because they were cooked in their own fryer with no other foods; they were thinly sliced, nicely browned, with a touch of salt
My dining companion selected fennel au gratin – all vegetables should taste this good! It was soft and tender and had been run under a broiler. We also ordered lentils with a garlic-scallion pistou which was delicious as well.
For dessert, I had the chicory creme brulee. It was great – the candied part was darkly caramelized. The only other time I’ve had ground chicory was in coffee so it was fun to try. My friend raved about her rhubarb tatin.
My one quibble with the place is the lack of response when I contacted them for reservations. I called and left a message, and sent a reservation request from their website but no one ever got back to me. I finally got in touch with a person, who told me there were no reservations available but that half the restaurant’s tables were left available for walk-ins, so that worked out well. It would have been nice if someone had either answered my email or followed up my phone
I’d heartily recommend trying out Little Bird Bistro. The food is wonderful, the service is great, and it’s less damaging to one’s budget than Le Pigeon would be.