Call a catered dinner or theme night a pop-up, and the foodniks suddenly pony up C-notes for oysters when otherwise they'd leave work early for happy hour at the Parish. It's sort of amazing. But every Monday, Ned Ludd hosts a rare thing in these parts: a pop-up for the people.
The Wu-Tang-inspired P.R.E.A.M., an old-school hip-hop pizza night on a day when Ludd's wood-fired oven is otherwise empty, makes fancy pies with no reservations or odd schedule. Just show up Monday night. The P.R.E.A.M. team rolls in with dough proofed the night before and some classic hip-hop tunes, including Eric B. & Rakim's "I Know You Got Soul" and LL Cool J's "Going Back to Cali" played at tasteful volume. Beautiful people bring dates, and on the patio a cluster of toddlers plays with chalk next to a woodpile and bikes.
The menu is simple: appetizers, pizza, fruity dessert. The heirloom tomato salad ($8) is a beautifully fresh modified Caprese, with a bit of chili and a sprinkling of pine nuts. The Caesar ($8) comes as a generous romaine wedge. The $16 Breakside pitchers—versus $6 beers— provide an inducement to hang around on the sunny patio.
And the pizza? It's 12 inches, on the doughy side, with spots of char and a floppy center. The toppings lean toward fancy—one pie has kale, smoked mozzarella, burnt honey and onion. We liked the sausage, chili and onion ($17), which arrived deliciously stewy in the middle, salty and hearty with just the right degree of acidity.
The best feature is, however, the atmosphere. A one-day restaurant is more a party than a job, and this is the best Monday pizza party we know.
Order this: A $16 pitcher and two pizzas for three people. We like the sausage, chili and onion pie ($17).
EAT: P.R.E.A.M. is every Monday night at Ned Ludd, 3925 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 288-6900, nedluddpdx.com.