3925 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 288-6900, nedluddpdx.com.
[CHOP SHOP] Luddites were post-industrial gadget haters. It's no surprise, then, that what this neo-rustic asylum does best is what it interferes with the least. Appropriately abiding by the namesake's low-tech ways, axes and fresh-cut wood sit in the dining room to fuel the big brick oven used to cook almost everything. The menu changes daily to suit the seasonal bounty, with the exception of the standby whole trout, roasted with head and skin intact and stuffed with charred summer onion, carrot, fennel, lemon and herbs. From our visit, Oregon albacore, pastured hen and tri-tip were all memorable, paired with unordinary sides and dressings. Fried green tomato and peach gave the albacore a sweet bite, while a cucumber dill cream refreshingly offset the heavy tri-tip that was otherwise a bit tough. The young, heavily tattooed staff is pleasant and efficient without being warm and fuzzy, but the eclectic décor makes things cozier, with terrariums, chandeliers and copper cake pans adorning the shack's walls. The rum and egg-white cocktail mixed with lime and honey was not worth $12—go with the $3 Mason jar of housemade blueberry lemonade instead. Ned Ludd makes good, fresh food while staying true to its wholesome values. This quote stamped on the menu sums it up well: "A significant part of the pleasure of eating is on one's accurate consciousness of the lives and the world from which the food comes."
Ideal meal: Chef's charcuterie, salad and the trout.
Best deal: The warm bread board, with flower and fennel butter, is a considerable group serving ($5).
Pro tip: Before you drive around searching for a spot, there's some parking at the restaurant. Also note the spacious patio isn't a bad alternative in case of a long wait inside.
5 pm-close Wednesday-Sunday, brunch 9 am-2 pm Sunday. $$.