(View photos from the dinner)
Le Pigeon has come to roost on the burgeoning East Burnside dining scene. Nested among the young couture fashion boutiques and salons, Le Pigeon is an intimate bistro serving dinner Wednesday through Sunday from 5pm – 10pm, and until 11pm on Friday and Saturday. Le Pigeon will also be serving brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 9am – 3pm. (Closed on Monday and Tuesday.)
The space formerly known as Colleen's was a collaboration of Paul Brady and Colleen French that embraced organic and local farmers product in an accessible dining experience. Paul, the primary owner is continuing this idea with chef Gabriel Rucker, who was the sous chef at Gotham Bldg Tavern and also cooked for Paley's Place and Ripe's Family Supper.
Customers who are mourning the loss of Gotham will find some familiar faces at Le Pigeon. Though he bases the menu on his French training at Paley's Place, Rucker is also inspired by the Italian style and friendship of Gotham's Tommy Habetz. Rucker is especially elated to practice his love of desserts again at Le Pigeon. For two years, beginning at age twenty until moving to Portland two years later, he was given full creativity with desserts and garde mange at Southern Exposure Bistro in Santa Cruz.
Rucker's extensive fine dining background has inspired him to fashion a new experience at Le Pigeon.
Accessibility is key for Rucker, who shops at the local farmers markets three times a week for 99% of Le Pigeon's ingredients. He believes that the farm-to-table movement should be extended to foster a more personal relationship between the chef and the customer. No Prima Donna chef, he's as likely to run your meal out to you as is one of his friendly staff. Le Pigeon focuses on the friendliness of an open kitchen as well the outstanding service of fine dining. This gifted 25-year old invites you to have a seat at the bar overlooking his stove. Have a glass of wine and an appetizer and chat with him about basil or lamb or whatever subject the menu inspires.
Le Pigeon offers duck and squab as well as a great burger. Rucker lets the market be his inspiration. He serves a surprising Middle-Eastern spiced lamb with a white bean Italian skordalia. If it tastes good, Rucker will serve it whether or not it fits into the accepted French traditions.
After Gotham suddenly closed, he's excited to have his first head chef position. He feels blessed to walk into a great existing staff, as well as pulling in some of his friends from Gotham. "We're young and fresh and we want to make a great restaurant happen. I'm just a young kid who got this chance to do what I love with great people."
> Return to Planes, Trains, and Traveling Chefs 2012