Chef Jason French, Ned Ludd, Portland, Oregon, OR, Northeast Portland, Where to eat, Where to drink, Where to shop, Chef’s Recs, Recommendations, Cocktails, Wine, Beer, Markets, Shops, Restaurants, Bars, Cocktail Lounges, Food Purveyors, Books, Salt, Chocolate, Chefs, Austin, TX, Texas, Magazines, Blogs, Resources, Information


Photographs courtesy of Jason French & Ned Ludd


Portland, OR

Q & A with Chef Jason French

Q. For people who have never been to Portland, tell us about Ned Ludd:

A. Ned is a little wood-fired oven restaurant in Portland, Oregon, that was a former pizza place. We basically repurposed it, since I don’t do pizza.

Q. How did the oven dictate what you do?

A. We literally have the wood-fired oven, a two-burner hot plate, a steam table and a little hot box alto-shaam and that’s it as far as cooking equipment goes. It dictates everything. I like to think about it as very engaged cooking. You’ve got direct heat when you push things next to the fire and you’ve got ambient heat, depending on where you put the fire. We don’t run it as hot as a traditional pizza oven would be run, but we still push it to upwards of 700 to 750 degrees, anything hotter than that and it’s difficult to do pastries and whatnot.

Q. What do you recommend ordering at Ned Ludd?

A. We change the menu all the time, but the trout is the one thing that is always on the menu. It’s been on since the second month we opened. Right now, the trout is on a bed of leeks. We oil and salt and stuff the trout with fennel fronds and spices and lemon and push it right next to the fire. Leeks char and the trout skin gets super crispy and it’s very dramatic and delicious. [See recipe]

Q. Who are your heroes, as far as chefs working with wood-fired ovens?

A. Sam Hayward of Fore Street in Portland, Maine. I worked with Sam in the mid-90s, just when they opened, and he was really instrumental for me because they had a grill, a wood-fired oven and a rotisserie.

Locally, Ken’s Artisan Pizza, Lovely’s 50/50 and Tastebud. See below for more details.


Ned Ludd

NE King

New American

3925 NE Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard Portland, OR 97212

T: 503.288.6900 (make a reservation)


Wed - Mon: 5pm -

Sat - Sun: 10am -3pm



Q & A


Recommended By

- Mark Bitterman (The Meadow in Portland, OR and New York, NY)

- Ned & Jodi Elliott (Foreign and Domestic in Austin, TX)

Chef’s Recs | Portland, OR

Various Foods at Barbur World Foods

Photographs courtesy of Barbur World Foods

FIND | Food Stores & Markets


It’s an amazing little grocery store that has been around since the early 80s. It’s just a really beautiful microcosm of hand-selected meats and cheeses and fresh produce, cookbooks and cooking equipment.

Barbur World Foods

It’s Middle Eastern, Persian and Lebanese foods. I buy spices and things from them, like sumac, za'atar [Moroccan oregano], and pomegranate molasses.


Eldelweiss is a great little German deli. I like to go there on the weekends and get beer and bratwurst and potato salad and a ton of little German goods. There are more people speaking German there than not.


It’s a huge Asian grocery store and they have everything you can imagine. They have live tilapia, live Dungeness crab and sea cucumber. They also have a cool little sushi restaurant, a Japanese bookstore, Japanese knives, Zojirushi rice cookers and even geisha outfits!

[See details.]


FIND | Book Stores

Powell’s Books

It’s right next door to Pastaworks and it’s cookbooks and garden books.

[See details.]

Salt from Jacobsen Salt Co. | Chocolate Bars from Xocolatl

Photographs courtesy of Jacobsen Salt Co. | Xocolatl

FIND | Local Purveyors

Jacobsen Salt Co.

Ben Jacobsen is doing sea salt that he harvests out of Oceanside. He’s doing a flake salt and it tastes awesome. He lived in London and was using Maldon and thought that there is this amazing ocean by us, why is no one doing sea salt here? He went out and started producing it. He is looking to move to the coast and start a whole production facility there.

[See details.]

Xocolatl de David

Dave Briggs is our local chocolatier. He’s does great stuff. We’ve used his chocolate in our s’mores.

[See details.]


Wood-Fired Oven at Ken’s Artisan Pizza | Tastebud

Photographs courtesy of Ken’s Artisan Pizza | vis-a-v [flickr]

Eat | Restaurants With Wood-Fired Ovens

Ken’s Artisan Pizza

Order the pizzas. The cool thing is that they don’t have 8 million pizzas, they’ll have like four to choose from. I don’t do traditional ones, they’ll have like charred brussels sprouts or charred leeks or squash and goat cheese. It’s not Spago-style California pizza, it’s real straight-forward traditional pizza with local seasonal additions.

Lovely’s 50/50

The pizza has decent craft, a little chew to it, slightly yeasty, but not too crazy yeasty and simple, delicious toppings. You go in and get a really simple salad, which will usually be a composed salad of local fields greens from a farm just four blocks away from the restaurant. They do the vegetables in the wood-fired oven and add them as a component to the salad. They also have killer ice cream.


Originally, Mark Doxtader [chef] had a remote wood-fired brick oven that he would take to the farmers’ market every week. Then he started the restaurant and does great Montreal-style bagels and little pizzas.

[See details.]


DOC | Cheese Bar | Le Pigeon

Photographs courtesy of DOC | Cheese Bar | Le Pigeon

Eat | Where To Take A Visiting Chef


This is where I’d go for lunch. Kevin Gibson is the chef and it’s kind of like a lunch counter and he cooks in front of you.


The chef is Eric Bechard and I think he does really great work and he is super committed and I really dig his values.

Departure Restaurant and Lounge

I really like Departure, it’s hotel dinning, but it’s really good. It’s like the least Portland feeling place. It’s a non-Portland Portland experience. It’s in the top of a hotel and the chef is Chef Gregory Gourdet, who worked with Jean Georges in New York. It’s not about the local, seasonal, per se, it’s Asian cuisine. You feel like you’re in LA. or a much bigger city than Portland.

Le Pigeon

Gabriel Rucker and any of his offal dishes are really good, like the Beef Cheek Bourguignon. He does amazingly gutsy French food.


It’s basically an izakaya and ramen place and it’s just delicious and wonderful. It’s like my late night ramen joint. It’s soothing and satisfying. Chef Gabe Rosen does amazing pickles and grilled items. They have a grilled chicken heart with a spicy Japanese mustard and it’s off the charts. They’ll have a liver with sweet soy. You get both of those and it’s a match made in heaven.


It’s a wonderful little Italian place. The pastas are phenomenal and the wine list is crazy. Austin Bridges, the GM and sommelier, is the king of weird and wonderful. You can go let them take care of you. They also do a prixe fixe small multi-course meal.


It’s full of really traditional French-style cooking, pates, terrines, rillettes and wonderful little salads. It’s a perfect place to go snack and drink. John Taboada does these monthly menus where he’ll be inspired by Lombardy and he’ll have a whole menu of foods from Lombardy. He’ll also offer a regular menu and he sources a lot from farms that are within like 20 miles outside of the city.

Cheese Bar

Owner Steve Jones is the winner of the National Cheesemonger competition and is amazing at sourcing. Good wine list and tons of little snacks and sandwiches and they change every couple of weeks. His cheese selection is one of the best in town. He has a heavy emphasis on local cheeses, but also gets great stuff from Neal’s Yard Dairy out of London.

[See details.]


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Central | Kir Wine Bar

Photographs courtesy of Central | Kir Wine Bar

Drink | Small Plate Food Bars


It’s kind of a little speakeasy bar downtown. It’s a super cute vibe and sometimes it’s a little hipster heavy, but the drinks are really spot on.

Kir Wine Bar

It’s a dinky little bar with a great view of the city. In the summer, they have seating outside and it’s the best place to go. The owner, Amalie, has a wonderful rose and champagne list and a host of the weird and wonderful in the wine world. The food she offers is simple and straightforward and almost Mediterranean, Richard Olney-style cooking, like mussels and little charcuterie plates, salads, rice dishes or clams. It’s where we go to kick off the night.

[See details.]

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Chef’s Recs

Lula Cafe & The Bristol

Photographs courtesy of Lula Cafe | The Bristol

Eat | Recommended Chefs

Chicago, IL | Jason Hammel of Lula Café

Chicago, IL | Chris Pandel at The Bristol

Chicago, IL | Bill Kim of Belly Shack and UrbanBelly

Each of these guys are super competent chefs in their own right and they are all doing their own thing stylistically. The layout and design of each of these places is really straightforward, simple, you get what you get. As for the customer experience, doesn’t feel super high-end, doesn’t feel super clubby, just feels straightforward and not super concepty. All of their cooking is this cool combination where it’s gutsy on one hand and subtle on the other. It’s well thought-out food. Not like those people who put nine things on the plate and can’t abbreviate. I call it the three-legged pony: where food, service and ambiance all meet.

[See details.]

Foreign & Domestic in Austin , TX

Photographs courtesy of Foreign & Domestic

Austin, TX | Ned and Jodi Elliott of Foreign and Domestic

There is a thing about being a chef and then there is a thing about being a chef/owner. It’s a different mentality. With Ned Elliott, it’s like we already knew each other when we met. 

[See details.]

Seattle, WA | Matt Dillon of Sikta and Spruce, The Corson Building and Bar Ferd’nand

I like his whole aesthetic, the way his menu reads, the way his space is laid out, his sense of honestly feeding people, not just trying to be a restauranty chef. He is just the genuine article for me. He even has a farm that he lives on out in Vashon Island, outside of Seattle.

[See details.]


Chef’s Recs | Resources

ACQ Taste Magazine

Photographs courtesy of ACQ Taste

Find | Magazines

ACQ Taste

They are awesome. I love good writing and not doing fucking magazine style puff pieces. They have a definitive sense of style and are definitive about what they like about food and I also love that it is Canadian.

Art of Eating

It’s a quintessential American food and wine magazine. There is a purity to the voice and it’s not changed over the years.

Swallow Magazine

Aesthetically inspiring.

[See details.]


- Whole Stuffed Trout


Details of Jason French’s recommendations for where to eat, drink and shop in Portland, OR.

City Guides

- Portland, OR: Download