This, my friends, is a sure thing. The Jenna Jameson of the local restaurant world, Le Pigeon is that rare place that turns normal people into true omnivores, ready to stick the restaurant's mismatched silver forks into whatever chef Gabriel Rucker tells 'em to. And that's a good thing, because the man and his crew can turn just about anything into a refined-yet-rustic food orgy. Last time it was a lesson in cognitive pork dissonance—the tender pig served with both sweet peaches and a crunchy tangle of pickled peppers (trust me, it worked). The list goes on: after-dinner-mint-size pesto gnocchi paired with tender niblets of frog legs; a woodsy trio of shell beans, sweet corn and chanterelles snuggled up to a crisp-skinned poussin; a hunk of seared hamachi balanced on a bed of crunchy green beans and hard-boiled eggs à la salad Niçoise. The cramped, boisterous space welcomes curious eaters and industry insiders with the same easygoing charm. It won't take you long to recognize the staff—portraits of many of them, from line cooks to dishwashers, hang on the restaurant's brick wall right now, crafted out of yarn by Le Pigeon server Jo Hamilton.
Order this: Ask your server. And get that rightfully lauded maple ice cream-topped bacon cornbread for dessert.
Best deal: The burger. Sweet Jesus, the burger. At $9, it's a meat juice-oozing, slaw- and onion-topped, eat-with-a-knife-and-fork monster.
I'll pass: Not everything needs to contain foie gras. I'm looking at you, profiteroles.