It was a good thing I had that chicken fried trout back in December- Little Bird Bistro has revamped their menu to be more French for 2014, so I had a huge reason to go back and use that $14 gift certificate to try some of their new items. Of course, I was definitely coming back anyway- after all, I saw they have a steak tartare with gribiche, poached egg, fries that they ground fresh to order at lunch.
I’ll have to wait until dinnertime to try their new appetizers of “Escargot, egg noodles, chili marrow butter, gremolata”, “Comté Soufflé, green peppercorns, dijon cream”, or “Roasted Pork Belly, apples, sour cream, smoked apple purée” – both sound so classic in French flavors or their new entree for two people of “Crispy Tails and Trotters Pork Shank, roasted root vegetables, pork jus, caper berries”. Yum.
But, available on their lunch was one new item which caught my eye- they have replaced the Le Pigeon burger that they have had for a while with their own (I had it back in 2011 ), custom Little Bird burger. It still comes with a knife triumphantly stabbed through the middle to celebrate the bounty and success of the hunt, and still with the same tasty ground chuck.But, the bun has been switched to a seeded brioche bun, which I welcome- I thought although the ciabatta was tasty it made for a formidable amount of bread ratio and makes you full faster. A seeded brioche bun just is more traditional.
Grilled onions, butter lettuce, Cypress Grove Chevre goat cheese, and a pickle relish top the burger, with an option to also add cured seared foie gras if you wish (you can see a table comparing the two burgers at the Oregonian article here). Of course, you can still get the Le Pigeon burger at, where else, Le Pigeon, if for some reason you aren’t ordering the Chef’s Tasting Menu!
Well, the burger at Le Pigeon is listed as a starter… so that means I can get the steak tartare AND the Little Bird burger right? And with that $14 gift certificate, it basically pays for the steak tartare… rationally justified, it is a go.
So my thoughts on the burger? As I anticipated, I really liked the seeded brioche bun better. I also really loved the taste of the meat patty, and the cleaning flavors of the butter lettuce with the tart and bit of spicy in the pickle relish. I even took a deliberate picture of that lovely pickle relish that includes Mama Lil’s pickles.
I liked the taste of the grilled onions, but wished they had been diced so there were not a couple awkward moments where I pulled away with a bite and an onion strand followed me. And, the part that was a surprise to me was that after a while, the goat cheese got a bit overwhelming. I love cheese- and I have eaten goat cheese by the spoonful myself, and I was pleased to see how generously it was smeared in the burger at first.
But, on a burger, I found myself craving a cheese that could have melted and melded with the burger patty. Towards the second half of the burger, I found myself dividing the burger in half- the bottom part of the bun with the cheese and grilled onions that I was eating with the butter lettuce I moved over, and then the other half so that my tongue could get direct access to the meat and relish without the big creamy fog of the goat cheese. I understand the intent of a French bistro perspective so stepping away from the Tillamook cheddar. And, I still ate everything, even if I deconstructed the second half.
What are you thoughts on the change to the new burger- have you had it yet? What do you think about goat cheese with a burger instead of a cheese that melts?