I’m certainly not someone who worships at the altar of foie gras, and while the fattened duck liver’s extinction from California struck me as arbitrary, my state clearly has plenty of great ingredients remaining in the pantry. Still, Portland is one of those cities that has a firm handle on foie gras, and there’s probably no better place to experience organ meats than at Le Pigeon, a progressive restaurant rooted in France from chef-owner Gabriel Rucker, who won 2013 James Beard Awards for Best Restaurant Northwest and Best Chef Northwest.
Being in Portland during their worst snow and ice storm in three years severely limited my mobility and options, but with other drivers forced indoors, at least I had an easier time snagging seats at Le Pigeon, which was a block from my hotel. Yes, foie gras factored into Rucker’s famed foie gras profiterole dessert, but I opted for a savory preparation of Seared Foie Gras ($22). It’s hard to imagine a better dish. Creamy slabs of foie joined rich smoked sable, crispy rectangular latke, bursting trout roe, tangy creme fraiche, pools of sweet maple sauce, dill, and tart pickled onions and capers to form a balanced plate with layered textures.
Outside, the sidewalks were slick and the air was frigid, but after a powerhouse meal at Le Pigeon, highlighted by the plate of seared foie gras, I momentarily forgot my weather woes.
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