Ned Ludd

Written by on January 7, 2011 in I Eat America, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

( – Portland, Oregon  

How I heard of this place: My sister’s close friend and college buddy introduced us to Ned Ludd as the perfect dinner spot for celebrating my sister’s birth!

Type of cuisine: An “American craft kitchen“, Ned Ludd offers a pairing of old world cooking (in their brick oven, leftover from the pizza restaurant that used to be in the space) with local wines and seasonal farm fare. Apple and pear wood from a neighboring orchard are used to smoke the oven and give all of their locally channeled, organic and seasonal food (everything is prepared in the same oven) a hearty, classic, Portland Euro flair. Uncomplicated food that is far from simple. According to an article written about Ned Ludd in GQ magazine, “What comes out of that oven now is intelligent, gutsy food – meat pies, pork chops, flat breads, crusty gratins – that puts to shame restaurants with more gear, bigger staff and glitzy PR budgets.” Jason French, one of the owners and chefs says, “The pressure’s off the money here, and the focus is on the food, where it should be.”

Ambiance: A nondescript building, with picnic chairs and tables, large pots for planting and cobbled space outdoors, welcomes you into this airy but homey and comfortable bistro. The decor is rustic and functional. Apple and pear wood stacks, that fuel the oven, are found in the space, as are jars of pickled vegetables (pickled, canned and jarred in house), foliage and winter squash. Large kegs, wooden crates, copper pots and pans, even a wooden/straw bird house can be found.  

What I ordered: Among the three of us dining at Ned Ludd on this cold, winter evening, I ordered a house-made lemon/lime soda ($3), my sister ordered a refillable cup of tea ($3), and our third dining companion selected a glass of wine. To start, we shared the crisp spuds ($7) served with aioli and a sprinkling of parsley, as well as the charred, halved Brussels sprouts ($8) tossed with chili flakes and lemon. For the main course, I selected the highly recommended whole ruby trout ($17) with leeks, fennel, lemon and herbs, minus bones. My sister ordered the lamb chops ($18) with Brussels sprouts, olives and lemon. Our dining companion was very pleased with the pork chop ($18) served over crisply kale and topped with two poached apple halves.

What I loved: I loved the Brussels sprouts the most! Memorable, flavorful and there could have been so many more! The spuds, also off of the warmbits menu scored a high second in my book! I would have loved to stay for the oven-baked s’mores, but alas our dessert plans took us elsewhere.

Why I loved it: The ease and comfort of the space, the freshness and high quality food, the friendly, witty and efficient server and the chef-owner made for a perfect experience. I must admit, I do love the creativity and the simplicity of preparing all dishes in a wood-fire, brick oven.

Cost: Low to average ($14-$18 per dinner entree)

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