Amid recent shuffles in the kitchen, Ned Ludd continues to impress with its rustic charms and commitment to ingredient-driven dishes. Chef-owner Jason French has ably run the restaurant since it opened in 2008, delivering one beautiful plate after another as the maestro of Ned Ludd's wood-fired brick oven.
Delicious smoked pork was served tender, juicy and slightly pink, accompanied by sesame spaetzle, miso carrots and house sauerkraut. The roasted squid—with padron peppers, chewy farro and cherry tomatoes—could have held its own with any version from a fine Greek restaurant.
The kitchen also has a nice touch with in-house charcuterie and creative starters, such as a salad of smoked trout, pickled beets, cucumber, fennel, dill, creme fraiche and rye-toast bits.
Ned Ludd is big on pickling, and can sometimes get a little heavy-handed, such as in a too-vinegary eggplant that came with creamy burrata. Overall, though, the cozy eatery has upped its game as it approaches the 10-year mark.
Eat: Get the roasted pork ($27) or the whole roasted trout ($24), which never comes off the menu for a reason.
Drink: The well-chosen wine list offers many options from France, Italy and Oregon, and the cider selection is top-notch.
Most popular dish: Whole roasted trout.
Noise level: 61/100
Expected wait: Reservations suggested, especially on weekends.
Who you'll eat with: It runs the gamut—eastside families, 30-somethings on a date, out-of-towners.
Year opened: 2008