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Two Nights in Portland: Help Me Make a Decision...

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  • crsin Jul 5, 2011 01:38 AM
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Hey Portland board -- PHX/NYC CHer here. I've been doing some research, but since I'm a little out of touch with what's going on (haven't been back to your neck of the woods in a couple years), I was hoping for some help in picking a few meals.

We will be staying downtown, but have a rental car and no problem traveling. No restrictions on cost or type of food (all very adventurous). Would really like something that's very "Portland", with a "feel" and ingredient focus that would be hard to find elsewhere (vague enough? :) ). Anyway, here are my thoughts...please feel free to add new suggestions or nix current ones...

-Haven't made it any Andy Ricker restaurant yet, so will probably do lunch at Pok Pok one day

-1st Night: Ate at Le Pigeon during my last trip and thought it was amazing. Although something in me says I shouldn't be repeating anything until I've tried more places, I'm VERY tempted to head back here. Is it still as good as ever? Would Little Bird be a better option?

-2nd Night Possibilities:

Castagna-Looks interesting. As lame as it sounds, though, my major hesitation is that the chef is leaving. I kind of like going places where I know I can salivate over it while I dream of the next time I get to go back. I know, sounds ridiculous...

Beast-Really wanted to go here last time I was in town, but it was closed. Still want to try it, but it seems that talk of the place on this board has fizzled out. Is there a reason for that, or has it just been around long enough to become a staple? Is Chef Pomeroy usually there nowadays, or is she doing the celebrity chef "thing"?


Ned Ludd


Nostrana or Genoa (hesitant to do Italian)

...so any thoughts? Any suggestions not included above? Should I toss Le Pigeon out? Also open to lunch suggestions, if any new "must-try's" have popped up.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. The folks at Castagna are very quick to reassure that Matt Lightner's departure will have little impact on the quality of the food. Personally, I think it will be great for you to try Castagna, then head back to NYC to try Chef Lightner's new place.

    I think Castagna and Beast are great choices for 1st & 2nd night. How about Pok Pok and Little Bird for lunch then?

    Pok Pok
    3226 SE Division St, Portland, OR

    1752 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214

    1 Reply
    1. re: pleen

      Thanks for the reply. I am definitely leaning toward Castagna for one night, and I think it would be interesting to try his food in both settings.

      Unfortunately, I checked opentable and it looks like Beast is already booked up for both nights that we will be in town, so scratch that off of the list.

      I guess the big question is if I should do Little Bird for lunch, ditch Le Pigeon, and add a new dinner spot. We tend to eat massive breakfasts when we are there, so I'm worried that we won't make it to Little Bird if we relegate it to a lunch space.

      Le Pigeon
      738 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214

      1752 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214

    2. Little Bird is solid, but not really adventurous or interesting like Le Pigeon.

      I love Ned Ludd and it is VERY Portland. Definitely one of my favorite restaurants for atmosphere and I've never had a bad dish.

      My lunch pick would be Tasty N Sons.

      Le Pigeon
      738 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214

      Ned Ludd
      3925 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Portland, OR 97212

      4 Replies
      1. re: chalmers

        Thanks for the tips. I was thinking Tasty N Sons for breakfast.

        In your honest opinion, is the food itself exceptional at Ned Ludd, or does most of its appeal come from the cool atmosphere combined with "good" food?

        While I'm still leaning toward Castagna, I have to admit that the current menu doesn't really grab me.

        Is Beaker & Flask worth throwing into the mix?

        1. re: crsin

          Genoa, Metrovino, and if you want a less fancy, more low-key choice, Nostrana.

          Beaker and Flask and even Clyde Common are also worth considering.

          1401 SE Morrison St, Portland, OR 97214

          Clyde Common
          1014 SW Stark St, Portland, OR 97205

          Beaker and Flask
          720 SE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR 97214

          1. re: crsin

            Hmm, well "exceptional" is a bit subjective. I would say the food is excellent, but the dishes are fairly simple. If you're looking to be blown away by new flavors and food you've never experienced before then, no, perhaps it's not the place.

            If that is the case, I would take the gamble on Castagna, with maybe Genoa or Metrovino.

            1752 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214

            1. re: crsin

              Thanks JillO and chalmers.

              I've gotta say, the menu at Gruner looks fantastic, as well. Sh*t. Too many choices.

              I will probably do Le Pigeon one night, and Pok Pok/Tasty N Sons for lunch/breakfast. The other night will have to go either in the "low-key" direction of Ned Ludd/Beaker & Flask/Toro Bravo (?)/Gruner or Metrovino/Castagna/Beast (where I'm waitlisted).

              Le Pigeon
              738 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214

          2. Awesome i was gonna ask the exact same question, i've heard about le pigeon and the james beard achievments, but how are the prices there? I want a tasting menu and some good foie gras and wine.