Call it unfinished business. You know how that goes....we really need to close that circle; like returning to Istanbul twice to get things right. After our meal at Little Bird Bistro, the Missus really wanted to return to Portland. Which is how we ended up on the Red Line to Downtown PDX watching this couple and their ferret. He, smelling like he'd been knocking back a few....as if to confirm this, taking a "48" out of his bag and having a couple of swigs. She meanwhile, was going goo-goo and gaa-gaa over the little guy. As soon as they told the person sitting across the way from them how sweet the little fellow was, he dropped a huge load on her bag. Life is funny that way.
Anyway, we had caught the late afternoon flight to Portland, took the Red Line...a bargain at $2.50 a person downtown and to our hotel; the Paramount. I'd made late reservations at Le Pigeon....late enough that the Missus decided that we should walk the mile and a half or so to the restaurant.
Which was actually a pretty nice walk, in spite of having to pass all the street folks along the way. It was also quite warm.....and it would get much hotter, though not quite as bad as it was in San Diego at the time.
Since it was late in the evening, Le Pigeon wasn't too crowded and we got in a bit early.
The staff were very professional though I'm not a big fan of the communal seating. Call me anti-social, but we can really do without the fake cheer and really don't want to know your business, whether it's your prostate problem, or how you're getting sued by your patients and can't find a job on the West Coast anymore....and even more so all of your food allergies. The long suffering young lady put on a cheerful front when the guy sitting next to us insisted upon getting the tasting menu...then went down the list of all his allergies...tomatoes, avocados, carrots, garlic, this type of milk product, that type of milk product, gluten, blah, blah, blah.....I really, really don't want to know that the only thing in the world you can consume is breast milk. Why in the world are you getting the tasting menu when you can't eat anything except cardboard?
Meanwhile, our meal was excellent.
From the Foie Gras "Hot Brown" ($25), a wonderful piece of nicely seared foie gras that just melted in your mouth. The turkey, which tasted smoked was full of flavor as was the bacon.....
The egg was a wonderful runny joy, we loved the acid from the tomatoes, and the toast was light and quite crisp. Tell you what....I'll take a slice of foie gras over Mornay sauce on my Hot Brown any day of the week.
And while the Ricotta Gnocchi ($16) was a bit too "squeaky" for our tastes, the cheese and the sauce were wonderful.
Perfect garlic, salt, milky flavors in harmony....the wonderfully beefy beef tongue in the dish just topped things off.
The best overall dish of our trip (not necessarily the best bite...more on that later) in my opinion was the Grilled Short Rib ($29).
The short rib was amazing. Ever had medium rare, thick cut short rib that wasn't on the tough side? This was just toothful enough, nicely seared, beefy, and yes, medium rare. I'm thinking sous vide? And yet, my favorite component was the wonderful mashed potatoes....it had a mild sweetness and I swear, there was a familiar umami flavor to it. We were told that sweet corn and miso was pureed with the potatoes. The smoked corn and tomato salad with soy braised oxtail was excellent. I'd go back to Le Pigeon just for those potatoes.
Our least favorite dish of the night was the Beef Cheek Bourguinon ($28).
While the texture of the braised beef cheek was just perfect; fork tender without being mushy. The sauce was just plain overkill; much too sour and bitter for our taste. The risotto, made with that wonderful, ripe, epoisses cheese, would seem to be just up our alley, but the rice was on the tough side with a hard core and that sauce just killed any other flavors.
While I considered ordering the signature foie gras profiteroles, there was just no way I could put away anything more after all this rich food. We went with the Cucumber-Watermelon sorbet ($6) instead, which was still way too much for us to finish.
The service was friendly, professional, and the timing excellent.
I'm thinking Le Pigeon will be a regular stop on future visits to Portland.
738 E Burnside St
Portland, OR 97214
We enjoyed a nice walk back to the hotel after dinner down "colorful" Burnside. It was a warm evening. We'd had a wonderful dinner and this was just our first evening in Portland!