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Le Pigeon


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#1 Jill-O

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Posted 29 July 2006 - 12:17 PM

Today we went to Le Pigeon for breakfast. Since we haven't been able to get to Simpatica for a few weeks, and it will be at least a couple of more until we can on a Sunday, we felt a breakfast elsewhere was in order. So looking over our short list (which also included J&M, Helser's, and Daily Cafe in the Pearl), we decided on Le Pigeon.

Formerly Colleen's, this is a small place with seating for less than 30 people total at tables and at bar stools at the open kitchen. Nice atmosphere, with an exposed brick wall, different but complementary old lighting fixtures, old reconditioned wood chairs and tables, and really loud music. The silverware is mismatched pretty old silver plate from turn-of-the-last-century through the 1920's (same time period a lot of the furniture seemed to be from), and they serve tea in a small pot, with old porcelain cup and saucers. In fact, the dishware is all nice old plates, etc. The small open kitchen is center stage, and if you sit on the bar stools, you'll be able to see all the action. Personally, I need a chair with a back on it, as does Calabrese, so we opted for a table.

We got there as they opened at 9am. The menu is fairly small, and there really is no standard eggs/meat/starch plate, though there are a bunch of intereting and tasty-sounding choices. That's OK as we like some interesting and high-end options for breakfast at times. We chose to share both the maple lacquered pork belly with eggs and 1/2 waffle and the duck confit hash with eggs, and Calabrese wanted a side of potatoes which we ordered crispy. I had a pot of tea, she had a small (8oz.) OJ.

The duck confit hash was very tasty, but very salty. It was also around $10.50 for the not-so-generous plate and was mostly potatoes, making it not such a great value. The waffle iron wasn't working well so I was offered an english muffin, or the menu to choose another dish. I was disappointed, but chose not to order another dish as we had been waiting 20 minutes for breakfast and the other dish was ready. The maple-lacquered pork belly plate, costing $10, was one 1.5 inch square cube of pork belly, two eggs and an english muffin, with maple glaze dribbled around the plate and muffin. It also was very salty, and though the pork belly was delicious, there was precious little of it on the plate. And remember, we shared everything, so we each got basically two bites of pork belly (not that you want to eat a huge chunk of it, as there is a lot of fat on it, but I'd think more than a few of bites would be appropriate for $10 a plate when all there is along with it is 2 eggs and an english muffin). The english muffin proved to be a good choice, because I sopped up the maple glaze with the muffin, spread the pork belly fat on it, and let the eggs ooze their yolky goodness onto it...very tasty, although it was very salty. (the Salt Fir aka Doug Fir is on the next block...maybe this nabe is SE/Salt Central?? ;o) The potatoes were OK, pretty unremarkable, and they were not really crispy.

No pepper and salt on the table, btw...the table behind Calabrese asked for pepper and the server went and ground some pepper from the kitchen into a little dish for them. The have a mimosa and a porto bianco for adult beverages. They have several bottled beer choices, and though I don't know a helluva lot about beer, some of these choices sounded interesting - a couple of Belgians, a couple of Czechs, etc. Didn't look at the wine list, but there is one. Tea choices are from Tao of Tea (I had the Earl Grey...I prefer Tazo's Early Grey). I don't know whose coffee they are serving. The sweet bread choice today was pound cake.

We go regularly to Simpatica, which is not a cheap breakfast, which features high-end product, and which we feel is a good value for the money. It usually costs us around $22 there, not including tip, for a similar meal. Here the tab for breakfast was $28.50 before tip - if Calabrese decided to have tea as well, the tab would have been over $30 for breakfast. The tea and fresh squeezed OJ were $2.50 each, the side of potatoes was $3. Coffee, though we did not order any, comes via french press, so there are no refills - you have to decide to spend $2 for a 2-cup, or more for a larger pot, which will get cold as it sits there. Simpatica will pour the Stumptown endlessly for you (and it is so good, ya have to watch it or you'll spend the day shaking like a leaf). I don't expect any place else to be like Simpatica, just offering a comparison to put into context why I think Le Pigeon is a lousy value, even if their food is tasty. I am not saying the place is too expensive per se, I'm saying that for the money spent and the portions given, it seems like a lousy value to me.

The dinner menu looks a bit pricy as well, especially if the portions are small. Starters range from $7 salads and go up from there. A chicken breast entree and a risotto entree are both around $16...making a flat iron steak plate at $19 seem like a good deal, depending on how big the piece of steak is for the money. Compared to places such as Basta's, Ken's, Cafe Castagna, Tabla, or even Alba (where the portions are generous, even if the prices may be higher), it seems a bit high...but again, I'd have to see the actual portions to be sure.

I'd love to hear from anyone who has eaten dinner there. How was the food? Did you think it was a good value?

We will probably try another place off our short list next Saturday...what should it be, Helser's, Daily, or J&M?
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#2 sfspanky

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Posted 29 July 2006 - 01:36 PM

I had dinner there last week and was extremely impressed. Kim and I each ordered an appetizer, I ordered the Lamb tongue potato salad with dijon and Kim ordered the Crab crostini salad with mixed field greens. Each were about $7, from what I remember and both were excellent, especially the Lamb tongue salad. Kim ordered the Burger $10 and I ordered the Rabbit over pilaf with a mushroom and onion sauce for $18. We were both stuffed and the bill came to a little over $50 with the drinks.

I thought that the quality of the food was amazing, and when I expreience food that I really like, I don't care about the price. I really only care about price when the food is mediocre or bad.
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#3 pdxnewbie

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Posted 29 July 2006 - 01:40 PM

I really hate the over salted food in too many restaurants (Balvo springs to mind)..
I hope dinner is better than breakfast...
Lunch at Everett St Bistro for the 2 of us with wine was $40-so Brian's dinner sounds reasonable.
Have had panini at Daily Cafe during the week, I liked it very much...although last visit was cut short with a bee emergency ( Pup stepped on a bumblebee and it stuck to him!!)...but I do like Daily Cafe :)

#4 Calabrese

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Posted 29 July 2006 - 03:36 PM

The food this morning was just way too salty. And the eggs with the pork belly were far more done than sunnyside up should be. The poached eggs with the duck confit were cooked correctly. The oj was also a bit bitter. I am used to a sweeter juice for fresh squeezed.

And while I like the TV up much louder than Jill-O, even I thought the the music was way too loud. I cannot even imagine being in there with a hangover (not that I've had that problem in years).

Simpatica is far better food and a far better value for brunch. The strata there is one of the best breakfast dishes I've had anywhere and I am also found of the crepes with veggies. Actually, I am pretty fond of everything I've tried there and that's a lot of the menu.

I think we will probably check out J&M or Helser's next time around.

#5 Jill-O

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Posted 29 July 2006 - 04:39 PM

Glad to hear dinner is good there and worth the $$. No, I don't think that $50 for two salads and two entrees is too expensive when the food quality is there...I too question value when the food isn't good.

But sometimes even when the food is good, I think about relative value for my dining dollar (or, let's be real here, for my partner's dining dollar). I think it may be worth the $$ for dinner, but maybe not for brunch for what they are serving. FWIW, I also noted that the burger (which is $9, btw) is the same price at brunch and at dinner...which is fine with me, especially if it is a yummy burger.

I thought the food was good, even though it was too salty for me. I also like the space quite a bit. I just don't think $30 for the breakfast that we got is reasonable.

By another comparison, I do think that $30-40 for 2 for lunch at Carlyle, and also at Fenouil, is absolutely worth the price. Just as I think an evening at Apizza Scholls, even though it is upwards of $30 for 2 people for pizza, is absolutely worth it! ;o)
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#6 thakrza

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Posted 29 July 2006 - 05:41 PM

Helser's was having some concerning service/kitchen issues on our last visit. Actually, it was really kinda a mess. They were so nice about everything I decided not to post about it (this was about 6 wks ago), but, be careful. They have been really good in the past, but that was likely our last breakfast there.

I haven't been to J&M in years--please post details. Simpatica is next on our list. We are wild Autentica brunchees though, so it gets hard to think about Simpatica when I know it will be good for us!

Anyone had Echo's brunch yet???? I am not a fan of their dinner but I would like to hear feedback as they would be an easy hangover meal being 2 blocks away.

#7 foodfight

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 07:11 PM

I had another solid meal at this place. The creativity is there and the consistancy of execution is on its way. Great Luck to them.

#8 ExtraMSG

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 07:22 PM

MERGING

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

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#9 ExtraMSG

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 07:24 PM

Well, tell us more, FoodFight. What did you have? What'd you like? I still have yet to go. Been travelling too much.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

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#10 foodfight

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Posted 25 August 2006 - 10:51 PM

Well, tell us more, FoodFight. What did you have? What'd you like? I still have yet to go. Been travelling too much.


In the multiple times I have been in I have had alot of first courses and a couple entrees. I will stat with the apps:
Lambs tounge salad with potatoes and dijon vinaigrette....Solid, good flavors, not reinventing the wheel
Sardines with panzanella salad....Ok, but would not order again
Marrow and onion sadwich with parsley salad......One of the best dishes Ive had at the restaurant, simple full of flavor
Sweetbreads, leeks, strawberries and vermouth.......very good, small portion
Squab, pork, kale? and apple sauce.......Im baised because I love squab, very good
Gazpacho, shrimp.......perfect summer ingredients, very clean flavors.

Im sure I am forgetting some things, but none the less a goog example of what they are doing, keep up the good work

#11 ExtraMSG

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Posted 26 August 2006 - 07:19 PM

Thanks. Always appreciate recs because it gives some idea of where to begin.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#12 Hungry T

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 09:10 AM

I've been in 3 times so far (2 dinners and 1 brunch), and going again back tomorrow. I really like it here. I do prefer dinner to brunch, though.

Brunch-The fried eggs on my breakfast sandwich seemed a little overdone. I've also tried the waffle and the roque ranchero (a flour tortilla topped with refried beans, salsa roja, avocado, cheddar cheese and poached eggs). Overall, brunch was good but not great.

Dinner-I've had the burger (excellent) and the pig tail (breaded and fried in butter), and tried the squab and the flat iron steak. I thought they were all great.

The desserts were what really amazed us, though. Chocolate and sea salt tart with mint pesto, apricot cornbread with bacon and a side of maple ice cream, grilled peach with goat cheese ice cream. All pretty stunning.

We've never gotten out of there at dinner for less than $80 for 2 of us, but we like the wine. Our 'bar' total was always more than our food total.

#13 mat

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 01:35 PM

Two of us had dinner there a few weeks ago. My only complaint was that for $17 or $18 the squab dish, while good, literally came with 1/2 of one squab. Perhaps three OZs of meat, at best, including the bone!

The lamb tongue salad was good and a decent portion size.

#14 mat

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 01:19 PM

Bump....

Just curious, did anyone else get the squab at Le Pigeon and only be served 1/2 a bird?

#15 ExtraMSG

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 09:27 PM

I'd have to look at my pictures which I haven't downloaded yet.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#16 JoeDixon

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 12:31 PM

Man, I disagree entirely on the brunch tip. That pork belly/waffle thing is probably the greatest breakfast I've ever eaten (the biscuits + gravy at Simpatica are pretty good, too)! I haven't been for dinner, but I've had brunch there several times, and each time with a slightly different group of people- everyone's loved it. I think Gabe is one of the best cooks this city's seen in a while, and I wishh him nothing but luck and success. Also- that white port cooler is unreal.

#17 ExtraMSG

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 01:52 PM

Checked my photos. Yep, half a squab.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

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Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#18 mat

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 01:09 PM

Checked my photos. Yep, half a squab.


Perhaps I'm too demanding but 1/2 of a pigon doesn't make a $18 entree in my book. I'll go back but I won't order that again. Which is a shame, the bone marrow toast and duck fat potatos were good sides but that ain't enough meat for me.

#19 ExtraMSG

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 01:26 PM

It did also have duck confit in the salad and duck liver in the dressing. But I don't think Le Pigeon is an especially good value from the stuff I've seen. I've said elsewhere that I think places like it, Park Kitchen, and clarklewis, despite having entrees under $20 are probably just as expensive as places like Wildwood and Carlyle, since you generally get bigger entrees at the latter for about 50% extra cost. But you are getting food that's comparably as interesting, just maybe not in as nice a restaurant. OTOH, I think places like Ken's Place and Cafe Castagna, give moderately less interesting food under $20 for entrees, but fill you.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#20 Epicurious

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 10:08 PM

I've always felt that pricing is relative to the restaurant, not the individual item. If you order a chicken breast in a restaurant that has a high rent, uses expensive glassware, and linen cloths, it will undoubtedly be more expensive than a comperable dish at a casual cafe.