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Le Pigeon

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There are so many good eats in Portland, and Le Pigeon has been regularly showing up as one of the top choices; its sister restaurant and late comer, Little Bird, is also highly sought after.

Le Pigeon is the more expensive and creative of the two, while Little Bird features staple bistro fare.

One look at the ingredients on the menu at Le Pigeon will give a sneak peek of chef Gabriel Rucker’s creativity in his French-focused restaurant: the usage of miso, Thai sausage, hummus and chorizo.

Of all the items on the menu, the rabbit pie was most intriguing to me, and it blew my mind!

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Crust was classically French: buttery and flaky; the pie was very savory, with lean rabbit meat inside, and a creamy cheesy sauce with sharp cheddar cheese-like flavor.

The most amazing part was the side mustard ice cream: creamy, cold, a little sweet, a little salty, and a little spicy with full bold, and the unmistakable flavor of honey mustard!

The piping hot rabbit pie with this icy cold mustard ice cream gave a fun eating experience that was rarely found in savory dish.

I could not say I was a fan of this mustard ice cream if I looked at it as “ice cream”; yet as an amazingly creative compliment to the rabbit pie, it was fantastic!

Another surprise on the side was the rabbit hearts, on top of a layer of tomato, onion, eggplant chutney; the hearts were prepared perfectly, and they were tasty on their own right.

Of the three entrees ordered, I was delighted to find that my meatless carbonara was the best of them all.

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At the foundation, pasta was of course cooked al dente, awesome texture and fantastically eggy.

The sauce was completely additive: smoky flavor from artichoke, fresh peas and creaminess from both the raw egg and nutty San Andreas cheese, it was ultra delicious.

My dad had the grilled short rib that came with an excellent mashed potato, made with miso and corn no less; just a hint of both flavors with the bonus of being exceptionally creamy.

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The rib meat was tender and was lean, and the garlicky heirloom tomato salad was a great addition.

The fish of the day was ling cod with saffron sauce.

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Interestingly, the saffron sauce tasted more like curry — not what I expected.

Fish texture was firm and the squash was tasty, it was a good plate even though it was not wow.

At the end of our meal, we were treated with champagne truffles: crisp crunchy thin layer of chocolate with whipped creamy chocolate center and a good amount of champagne in it, what a way to celebrate a great meal.

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The best part: I learnt that Le Pigeon offers good-value 5-course tasting menu for $75 and 7-course for $95.

I would have gone for it except I was too full from everything else I had in the short time we had in Portland.

Next time, I have to leave my stomach empty to accommodate the tasting menu.

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