*The Backdoor is a “work” of “fiction” and “satire”
By Elise Glaser
Palatine Hill’s new fusion restaurant, Le Bon, has Portland foodies flocking to “The Hill” in Southwest Portland. Amidst towering Douglas firs, restaurant goers can enjoy their meal in a more rural setting.
Pulling into the restaurant, the initial smell of curry was overwhelming. I entered this new elegant venue stealthily, relieved that none of the employees recognized me as the food critic they had been warned about. The kind hostess, Betty, showed me to my table — a tall, white round table with a scenic tree-top view.
This place is not for someone looking for the “classics.” This restaurant proudly fuses all flavors and cultures into an unidentifiable meal. Problematic? Possibly. During Hanukkah last year, Le Bon’s Jewish customers were enraged over the addition of shredded carrots into the timeless potato latke. Alterations like these, however, are what draw curious foodies to Le Bon everyday.
The meal was similarly impressive. I enjoyed the hors d’oeuvres, “Braised Lamb Quesadillas” and a hearty first course of “Sweet N Sour Pork.” For my second course, I savored vegan “Soy Curl Tacos” and ended the delicious meal with Lemon Coconut Mousse and four cookies for the road. As a fun, creative option, the restaurant regularly offers a cereal bar full of sweet, colorful cereals.
I never imagined a quesadilla with lamb in it, and I’ll have you know that it was more shocking than expected. The lamb was falling out and the tortillas were covered in a decadent yellow oil. I was also impressed by the vegan option. The soy curls tasted similar to what one would imagine wet packing peanuts, an unexpectedly delectable texture.
Hundreds of customers flock to this renowned restaurant every meal, gobbling up the unlimited curries. Le Bon is also known for its wildly creative non-alcoholic cocktails. Restaurant goers enjoy a refreshing Cranberry-Soda Mocktail, or a Mystery Sunrise: a great combination of three unknown sodas and orange juice.
The crowd is eclectic. Some diners enjoy sitting alone and quietly reading the New York Times, while some diners love to make a group get together out of their meal, loudly conversing and joking with friends. The crowd is very young and hip, mostly filled with “grunge” young adults who are likely to opt for a vegan or gluten-free meal. Customers are loyal; regulars dine at Le Bon an average of 14 times a week!
This place is also known for its weekend brunch. An enthusiast food blogger named it “Portland’s Best Hangover Brunch.” Gourmet omelets and waffles are made right in front of you, for a fresh, personalized taste.
Overall, this is an inexpensive restaurant with high-quality curries. The average plate price is $8.05. In conclusion, Le Bon: Good? Bad? Neither. Le Bon is inventive and original.
This review is in memory of the famous restaurateur, Yogi, who opened Le Bon four decades ago.
Other Hot Tips:
- Reservations unnecessary, a lot of open seating
- Get there early to avoid lines (Before 5 pm)
- Leave room for dessert
- Be nice to your waiters to get a good serving size