Portland >Little Bird
Gabriel Rucker, of Le Pigeon, has expanded his vision with Little Bird, a charming yet understated bistro in downtown Portland. For a quiet and exquisite option, go for lunch when the soft roll, fried cod, celery root sandwich is served.
Whether you sink into a sexy booth, take the upstairs perch for maximum peeping potential, or join the raucous crowd at the bar, this boisterous bistro is a guaranteed good time. The grilled hanger steak with potatoes & marrow butter is Gallic mood food all the way.
Bustling place for both lunch and dinner. Upscale dining in downtown, Beautiful interior, courteous service and don't forget you can always cut your wait time if you dine at the bar.
Not impressed. Took the husband here for his 45th bday. He was excited. So was I. We both left unimpressed with the service, the ambiance and the food. Ended up at the Bent Brick for drinks afterward and were treated to some real food. Won't be back to the little bird with the cocky attitude.
Little Bird with big bad cocky attitude!.
There are some good things and some bad things - but a meal is a concert and all the parts should play nicely together otherwise the good points get buried and lost beneath the bad ones.
First - they really don't like large groups (we were a group of 10) - you can't reserve a table until after 8:30 p.m. on a weekend unless you want to personally guarantee them $1000.00. OK - so we came at 8:30. One person in our party had car trouble and hadn’t arrived. We were able to get cocktails but when we told them we were ready to order and were not going to wait for the late person they told us that they won't put our orders in until the other person arrives! We had way too much time of nothing but our cocktails and bread.
Finally, an hour or more after we are seated, our food comes out - but no pacing. My two appetizers are plopped in front of me at the same time. My cocktail (the Van Cleef very yummy but powerful) had long ago been finished. I was ready for a nice glass of wine to compliment my now cooling appetizers. The waitress did suggest and let me sample two nice red wines - I picked one and thought, OK now the great meal will finally get off the ground.
Fighting waves of hunger (it was probably 10 pm by then) and trying to nibble the appetizers, I waited for the wine, and waited, and waited, and then it finally materialized - I was almost finished with my appetizers and I had only slowly picked at them! The wine, Crozes Hermitage, Esquisse, was divine, but not having it to enjoy with my appetizers just ruined the whole experience for me.
The lamb belly appetizer was truly an amazing contrast of strong flavors and textures. My other appetizer, the foie gras torchon, might have been wonderful if served on its own with time to savor its delicate flavor and with the aforementioned wine to slowly sip between bites. But thrown at me with the other robust flavored appetizer with no wine to nurture my palate converted it to a bland heap of something soft to spread on toast - neither memorable nor intriguing.
Before I finished my two appetizers, my entree, the duck confit, showed up. So now I have three plates in front of me. The duck confit - yes there was a crunchy skin and moist meat - but my serving also had pockets of salt, and more salt, and more salt. It was like licking pure salt at times. My dinner companions did not report the extreme saltiness that my plate had. So maybe someone just over salted mine. I reported it to the manager and all that yielded was the comment "yes our version of duck confit is salty and some people complain but that is how we do it.” I was flabbergasted. There was no effort to correct an obviously poorly prepared dish.
(Two people in our group had the gnocchi and neither liked it).
Treat this place like a bar with food. Stop in with maybe one friend and have a drink (the cocktails are really good) and maybe try one or two dishes, avoiding the ones that are poorly reviewed, but a special dinner - forget it! (FYI tried burger on prior visit - good, very moist and cooked to order, definitely a gourmet version of a burger, but not worth a special trip just to try it. It is still just a burger.)
I am giving this place only one star because like I said in the beginning - a memorable dinner has to be well paced so that you actually enjoy the separate dishes and beverages in a well orchestrated progression like the separate movements of a concerto. I can overlook one bad dish or some spotty service - but I can't excuse the combination of bad pacing, some bad dishes, and a bad attitude towards the customers. (PS I think the individual server did her personal best but was limited by other restaurant issues.)
Humans eye view of the Little Bird.
Seemed to be creating a buzz and after reading the review in A+E this week decided to eat dinner there last night - the crepe was good ,the onion rings with the belly pork were probably the best thing I had. The pork chop was thick, pink and raw closer to the center and very salty,( I don't use any salt myself when cooking so realize that others may feel differently) after having to remind the server about the potato side dish I'd ordered it arrived so late in the meal I'd already given up on the pork. I never did get the wine I had deferred until the cocktail was finished. Tried the apple tart which was OK and, after again, having to remind the server I did finally get the tawny port,oh and that gave me the opportunity to request the refill on my coffee.
Overall the food was mediocre, there was nothing that wowed me and the service was apppalling. I am going back to Andina and Paley's. I can spend the same amount of money for better food and way way better service.
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