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Rostra rating: 4.5
Little Bird’s consistently delicious food continues to amaze TeamMago. Our most recent visit yielded the following culinary gems:
Lamb tartar with smoked anchovy mustard, macerated shallots, chervil, potato roll: amazingly sweet mini-dice of lamb (not ground mind you) merged beautifully with lusty umami notes from the anchovy mustard and bitter accents supplied by the capers and macerated shallots. I had never had lamb tartar outside of Lebanese cuisine (kafta nayeh). This was superb–more please, now!
Daily charcuterie board highlights: The duck prosciutto rocked. Deviled eggs with smoked trout had a complex and rich smokey mouth feel, definitely not Auntie Em’s deviled eggs. Note to Chef Rucker: please use duck eggs for this prep, and feel to charge more, no one will complain. The honey drizzled cicerone was sweet and piggy, but Aaron Barnett remains the pig skin master of Portland. On the other hand, Little Bird’s bread and butter pickles certainly give Cafe Castagna a run for its money. The muffuletta is a playful take on the New Orleans/Sicilian sandwich, but it is a serious misnomer. In reality, the tasty square o’meat is a sous vide and then griddled pork and beef Leberkase (neither it nor the original contain any liver or cheese) served with a Castelvetrano olive relish.
Morgan: Patti, where is the photo for the charcuterie board?
Patti: Hummmmm. The fairies must have spirited it away. Too bad. We’ll just have to go back.
Halibut special: A creation of Chef de Cuisine Marcelle Crooks, this was cedar plank halibut with smoked boule bread crumbs, savory clams, roasted garlic scapes, porcini mushrooms, pea purée and citrus aioli. I do not like halibut as a rule, but I loved this preparation that yielded perfectly cooked fish, smooth rich sweet pea purée, salty sweet clam candy and contrasting flavor and textural notes from the grilled scapes and shrooms. An excellent composed dish.
Finally, we came away with yet another take on whether Little Bird gets its bread from Grand Central or Ken’s Artisan Bakery. Evidently, they use both establishments. Never heard of that before, but I sure do like it. Why not use two great bakers for different types of bread?