On paper, Rue, the upcoming “neo-bistro” just a few blocks from the Doug Fir, looks like every other restaurant in Portland: vegetable-forward, small plates, seasonal focus, and with a vaguely Francophile undercurrent. But before you breeze past this still-nebulous concept, remember how good that combination can be (PoMo’s Rising Star Coquine, for example), especially if the person in charge is serious about their veggies (Joshua McFadden at Ava Gene’s, we are looking at you). Eat Beat has learned Rue will open at 1005 SE Ankeny Street on June 22.
The relatively unknown chef-owner, Jason Roberts (formerly of San Diego’s Blanca Restaurant), spent two years as a “chef-farm liason” at Rancho Santa Fe’s Chino Farms, obsessing over the science of organic farming and the importance of putting vegetables first. Later, he launched his Boxcar pop-up in San Diego and Los Angeles, celebrating California’s bounty. In short, Roberts seems like the kind of chef who says there’s a seasonal focus, and really means it.
Right now, the small menu holds 12 Mediterranean-centric dishes, from buratta cheese with crispy brassicas and olives to fresh squid with shelling peas and orach (a.k.a “mountain spinach”). We’re excited to see how Rue treats Portland’s beloved Ayers Creek Farm heirloom beans, dished alongside eggplant and marigold, or how it does pigeon (cooked with beets and dill) so close to Le Pigeon’s roost.
As for the digs, expect a “French-industrial” aesthetic, with nods to Paris, and 65 seats, including an outdoor dining area. There’s also some live moss, but we won’t hold it against them.
1005 SE Ankeny Street
5–11 p.m. Wednesday–Sunday