LITTLE BIRD -- With Gabriel Rucker heading the kitchen again, Little Bird got a glowing review from The Oregonian's Michael Russell.
[Little Bird] has always been a Swiss Army knife, stately enough for a business lunch, lively enough for an anniversary dinner, yet able to handle a drop-in at 10:45 p.m.
Russell says Little Bird hasn't suffered since executive chef Erik Van Kley left to open Taylor Railworks; in fact, it "might even be a bit more fun." The updated charcuterie board is now "a must-order" and "everything Little Bird should be on a single slab of wood," while "other dishes push the menu forward by looking back," clearly showing the influences of chef Fergus Henderson and Rucker's mentor Vitaly Paley. Ultimately, Russell hopes "they keep pressing forward" and says, "Like its food, Little Bird today seems perfectly seasoned."
HOP DOG -- WWeek's Matthew Korfhage dropped in on Micah Camden's gourmet hot dog spot, Hop Dog, opened in August, and declared "The hot dogs don't work."
There are two big problems. First, the meat. Also, the buns. The Sabretts lack their signature snap and have no char, a result of boiling in Olympia beer with no grill finish: They get a slow-and-low cookout on 7-Eleven-style metal rollers. The bun is confusing. Perhaps I'm old school and set in my opinion, but I feel a hot-dog bun's job is to get the hell out of the way.
The old good thing: The branding is on point.
BURRASCA -- Though Burrasca "is still working on not being overwhelmed" on busy nights, it prepares Italian dishes that speak "honestly and without pretense," according to the Mercury's Andrea Damewood. "It's fucking refreshing," especially during the week when it becomes "the neighborhood destination it's meant to be." It has "several bottles of wine under $25," and the basket of crescentine, "a puffy, salty fried breadstick," is a "must-order." Damewood also recommends the "Castelvetrano olives," "tagliere platte," "the wild boar ragu," and its "signature inzimino," "squid simmered down with red wine and spinach, served with pungent garlic bread."