Food&Wine approval notwithstanding, the scene here is on the rustic side, with jars of preserves and bottles of cheap beer lining the shelves. Stellar chef Gabriel Rucker's starters, like earthy seared foie gras gently sweetened by apricot puff pastry, can be washed down by Sauternes or Miller High Life. At Le Pigeon, there's no such thing as choosing incorrectly. The beef cheek Bourguignon binds impossibly tender beef cheeks in a lingering savory sauce. And do try the amazing burger. Served on ciabatta with a slaw of diced romaine, it's a favorite, as is the signature dessert: moist apricot cornbread topped with housemade maple ice cream and crispy bacon. Like most concoctions at this restaurant, this isn't one that you likely would have thought of. Hype aside, don't come here expecting haute atmosphere. The copper-plated hood that umbrellas the dinky open kitchen is as fancy as it gets. But after one bite, it seems so obvious. Combining strong, but familiar flavors in new ways is Chef Rucker's genius. And at age 26, he's only begun. (MT)

Signature Dish: Apricot cornbread with maple ice cream and bacon is what's for dessert.

Standout: Crispy veal sweetbreads with smoked lamb's tongue.

Regrets: Want to feel unloved? Just trying getting in here during dinner.