I’ve heard mixed reviews from a few of my foodie friends in Portland about Little Bird. If you like simple classics, steak tartare, marrow bones, steak frites, etc and they’re well executed, what's the problem, right? Simple meals are often the most satisfying. I don’t believe everything needs a twist. Often the twist gets in the way.
To start, Bone marrow with apricot chutney. The chutney was a wonderful contrast to the richness of the marrow. Not only did the chutney provide a nice acidic bite, it was sweet and brought out richness in the marrow. Similar to the contrast between a sweet wine with a foie gras. I liked the combination.
Second up, a classic steak tartare and one of the best I’ve had since I can remember, maybe since I was last in New York. I like hand-cut steak, not ground meat. The dish was cold, well-seasoned, and had a nice pop of dijon and capers.
Cleansing course, Endive salad with chevre, good, clean and a big help after the Tartare and Marrow from before. It's salad, it's endive, not too much vinegar, not too much salt. Done.
Final course, Pork belly with pickled green bean salad. The Pork Belly was no match for my recent meal at Searsucker in San Diego. The belly was well prepared, but the garnish was a distant second. Honestly, I could have done without the pickled green beans. A bit brown in color, rather than bright green and awfully acidic, I was disappointed. There was a flavor clash rather than a harmony of acid and fat. Not the best combination.
One item of note from the bar that I'd never seen before from Cana's Feast Winery: Chinato! This stuff was fantastic after dinner. A great Italian-type digestif produced here in the USA.
Overall I had a good experience at Little Bird, other than the funky green beans. I love classic, well-prepared French cuisine in a casual environment.