Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pleasure to Meet You, Mr. Ned Ludd

Allow me to make your next meal out decision a little easier: Introduce yourself to Ned Ludd.

Winning rave reviews all around, Ned Ludd is a true Portland gem; a cozy little romantic restaurant nestled on NE MLK.

The decor, decisively Pacific Northwest: Reclaimed timber, retro fixtures, big wooden barrels lounging around ... you almost expect a lumber jack to come lumbering into the dining room. Luckily, the image of bearded men in plaid flannel shirts is romantic to the femmes of P-Town. Another very Portland-y quality; Ned Ludd uses nothing but locally sourced cuisine - some as close as the restaurant's backyard. It's simple and ever changing, boasting charcuterie made mere miles away, greens and herbs that meet the criteria of whatever is available outside.

Owners Ben Meyer and Jason French took over the space of a former pizzeria and stuck with the wood oven, cooking exclusively with it. Ain't no fancy machines taking over this Ned Ludd. Despite everything being cooked in a wood fired oven, the menu is satisfyingly not monotone and divided into four sections:

warm bits

Let's dig in!

Forebits: Monsieur Boy and I greedily nab the biggest charcuterie plate on the menu. The kitchen selection board is home to an extravagant mix of prescuitto, salumi, rillette, and cheeses of different textures and creatures. The usual crudites included, pickled, and in top form. A good charcuterie plate is a wonderful way to explore a medley of flavor with a fellow foodie, comparing combinations to create best practices for future bites.

Kaltbits: The friendly wait staff explains what "kaltbits" means in a non-condescending way (German, "cold" bits - salads, to be precise). We go with the arugula with duck confit, what else? The rich, fatty element of the confit plays off the bitterness of the arugula so well. And staying true to the locale, hazelnuts add a crunchy, earthy component to tie it all together.

Warm Bits: Meat pie! (the ! is on the menu; much deserved). Ned Ludd, you are quite the matchmaker. This is the perfect creation for a carnivore such as myself. The pie is filled with .... get ready ..... FIVE different beasts! Cow, swine, lamb, rabbit, and chicken. There was no way I was not ordering this dish. A flaky, buttery crust encompasses the meaty filling, aromatic with red wine.

Plats: My fish-o-choice was smoked cod, with a satisfying portion of mussels swimming around in a delightful smoky-sweet broth. Moist and bursting with complex flavor, not a bite was left on my plate, as even the last drops of creamy sauce were sopped up with bread. M. Boy goes for the ruby trout with a confit of fennel, sipping his sauv blanc between mouthfuls.

Balancing well with both meat and my cod dish, why a delicious full-bodied glass of Oregon Pinot Noir. Earthy and fruity notes compliment the smokey, spicy complexity of the cod and the rich meat pie with ease.

Oh yes, I nearly forgot the rearbits; dessert items garnering their own menu. Rearbits, dear reader, you will have to discover for yourself. This food face was so full from rounds 1-4, the last sip of pinot was the perfect ending.

3925 NE MLK
* parking on the south side of the building

Obsessed with Oregon "vino-culture"? - A great place to read about Oregon Pinot Noir.

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