Le Pigeon has been on my list for a little bit. On a previous trip to Portland, I had managed to get reservations to its sister restaurant, Little Bird, situated downtown.
Le Pigeon, however, has been constantly booked and I could never get a reservation for when I’d be in town. I gave them a call and discovered that they have a handful of bar-style seats sitting around the kitchen that are first-come, first-serve. The plan was on: show up right when they open to ensure a seat. It worked.
They offer an a la carte menu but also have a 5 course and 7 course meal options with wine or juice pairings. You might be unsurprised to know that we went for the 7 course meal.
That might’ve been a mistake.
Most restaurants with multiple courses offer up a tasting menu. Each dish is small. It gives an opportunity to enjoy a variety of dishes and allows the chef to build an experience from the first bite to the last.
Le Pigeon, however, served up the full dishes from their menu. There were three appetizers, two main courses, and two desserts. This far exceeded what I would normally order—one main and maybe an appetizer.
As each appetizer came out, I was blown away. Each was unbelievably delicious and, sure enough, the world disappeared. A hamachi crudo, followed with foie gras fajitas, and finally a grilled pork belly with creamy scallop topped with black truffle. So. Good.
The first main course was the daily fish. It was creamy and prepared amazingly well. We were starting to hit the limits of what our stomachs could handle but we’d push it to the limit with the next dish: beef cheek bourguignon. It was rich and heavy and full of flavour.
We could barely eat another bite but there was still dessert! The first dish was a deep fried dough covered with a sauce topped with a bit of foie gras. The non-alcoholic pairing with this dish was a foie gras root beer float that was spectacular. The drink wasn’t overwhelmingly one flavour. I could detect each flavour on its own while still able to enjoy everything together and, of course, it paired fantastically well with the dish.
The last dish was a flourless tort with apples and ice cream, along with an ice cream sandwich. I had given up at this point and could not eat another bite. I was in a daze from eating too much food.
Verdict: The quality of food, the value for what you get, the amount of food, the wine pairings: it’s all just incredible. If you ever find yourself in Portland, Oregon, I highly recommend you go.