Le Pigeon

Le Pigeon’s menu is short, sweet, and not for the culinarily unadventurous.

Chef Gabriel Rucker—a colorful character who has been written up favorably in practically every food publication there is—cooks up his own version of French fare both classical and with a twist, turning out dishes like his ultra-satisfying signature beef cheek bourguignon, turning out dishes like his ultra-satisfying beef cheek bourguignon, poussin with shell beans and chanterelles, and grilled pork belly with strawberry jam.

The “Chef’s Counter,” aka the bar, puts you so close to the little open kitchen you can almost touch the flock of pigeons tattooed on Gabriel’s forearm, and feel the flame as the scallops with radish and seafood butter are being seared.

The “Chef’s Counter,” aka the bar, puts you so close to the little open kitchen you can almost touch the flock of pigeons tattooed on Gabriel’s forearm, and feel the flame as the scallops with radish and seafood butter are being seared.  Daily dessert and cheese specials are posted on the chalkboard; a few of the more deliciously controversial offerings are the apricot-studded cornbread with maple ice cream and bacon, and the polarizing foie gras profiteroles.

Be advised that if you don’t like the menu as is, you may as well leave, because substitutions, as stated at the bottom of the menu, are politely declined. Also be forewarned that as one of Portland’s foremost “communal dining” experiences, you’ll be seated at one of the three long wooden tables that comprise the restaurant’s seating, which puts you in very close quarters with your neighbors, so be sure to bring your Tic Tacs, and maybe a bottle of wine to share.

Details

Cuisine: French

Executive Chef: Gabriel Rucker

Atmosphere: Busy, intimate, rustic farmhouse feel, with high ceilings, three long wooden communal tables, and a tiny open kitchen that puts diners inches from the action

Outdoor seating: No

Best Seat: The Chef’s Counter. You’ll be mere inches from Gabriel Rucker’s infamous tattoos and insolent gaze.

Noise Level: Normal to Boisterous, it’s a small space and often you’re sitting across a table from your date/friends/family, so this isn’t the place to go for intimate conversations

Dress Code: Dressy / Dressy Casual

Bathrooms: In the very back and center of the restaurant, door to your right

Parking: Parking is free but can be difficult to find

Cocktails: No

Beer: A well-rounded list that includes Miller High Life (The Champagne of Beers!) ($2) and Traquair Jacobite Ale, a Scottish ale flavored with coriander ($12).

Wine: Yes, a lengthy list of some very beautiful French and Oregon wines. $8-$15 by the glass, ½ liter, liter, and bottle ($22-$330), very nice selection of dessert wines. Additionally, unopened wines can be taken to go for 25% off the menu price.

Corkage: $20 per 750mL, waived with a purchase from Le Pigeon's wine list

Teetotalers: Real Coca-Cola, Dry Soda, Aranciata/Limonata

Coffee: Stumptown

Ideal Meal: Butter lettuce salad, Beef Cheek Bourguignon, Foie Gras profiteroles

Vegetarian Friendly: Yes

Vegan Friendly: Yes

Good for the following occasions: Family Meal, Out With Friends, In the Mood for Pigeon

Group/Private Party Details: You can reserve the entire restaurant for a private party, call for more info

Reservations: Yes, call or go on OpenTable

Take-Out: No

Delivery: No

Deals: Le Pigeon is known for its inventive, upscale French-inspired fare, but the $12 burger gets its fair share of love. Be forewarned--they only serve five of these a night, so get there early.