Wednesday, September 8, 2010

PDX: Le Pigeon

The "big" dinner night we had scheduled for our Portland trip was at Le Pigeon. Brian had seen the restaurant, but had never gone. I had heard amazing things about the place from fellow food nerds. Reservations were made about a month in advance and the anticipation grew steadily.

Le Pigeon is a charming, smallish space in East Burnside with exposed brick and warm lighting. The open, cramped kitchen allowed diners to observe the frenetic pace of the cooking. Having reservations gave you front row seats at the bar to observe the cooking action. The few tables surroundign the bar are for walk-ins. We were tempted by most things on the menu, but settled on three apps and an entree to share lest we ruin the experience by over-eating.
We didn't order the scallop dish but check out the size of that specimen!
The meal was accompanied by a lovely Oregonian Pinot Noir to wash it all down.
Our first app - foie gras torchon with cherry jam and buttermilk pancakes. This dish was so rich, so creamy and unctuous. The sweet tartness of the cherry jam and the light fluffiness of the pancakes provided good contrast. This dish made us want to order a second one, but we didn't dare.
Our second app - sweatbreads with blue cheese, walnuts, and beets. The sweetbreads were fried perfectly - crispy on the outside and still soft on the inside. Beets, walnut, and blue cheese were a wonderful new taste combination for us.
Third app - pork belly with long beans, cashews, and portabellos. This dish had a very Asian flavour profile. To me, it tasted like an upscale version of red cooked pork belly. It was decadent and divine.
Out entree - flatiron steak with tomato, remoulade, and onion rings. Many of the other diners seated at the bar with us had ordered this dish. It looked so good, we had to place an order. But by the time we got to this course, we were pretty full already. Nevertheless, the dish still held up after three courses of intense flavours and richness. The onion rings were fried to a light, crisp perfection and provided nice juxtaposition to the softness of the rare meat. This is what bistro steaks all aspire to be.
Since neither of us have a sweet tooth and we were stuffed to the gills by this point, we concluded our meal with the entree. Le Pigeon definitely is on the top of my best food experience for 2010. The price points were very low given the quality and technical execution of the food. Le Pigeon, we will come again for sure...