Belly is the best restaurant in Eugene. When we first moved here I saw it described as "French Soul Food."
Then we passed by it walking around downtown and it had a hanging metal pig silhouette for a sign.
It was love at first sight.
Yesterday was my birthday and we went to there.
Appetizer! Oxtail and shitake mushroom empanadas with a persimmon-habanero salsa and green onions on top. All of that just sounded like a list of random ingredients to me when we ordered, but when you pair all of them up with the richest, flakiest pastry in the world? Mouth magic.
Tyrosalata with Moroccan bread - a spicy, warm feta dip served beside bread flavored with rye. It couldn't go wrong, and it didn't.
This little baby was the showstopper. A kale salad ("I like this kale!" shouted my husband in shock) with apricots, sunflower seeds, pomegranate seeds and a freekeh/sunflower oil vinaigrette. Such a parade.
My husband ordered the winter vegetable pot pie. That's a broccolini slaw on top and MORE of that wonderful pastry! Inside was a beautiful gravy full of all the best vegetables including, most charmingly, little fat whole mushrooms. But what was really remarkable about this dish was the flavor - it could have been just salty fat, like any old pot pie (and which I have no problem with). But it had this delicate, vegetable sweetness to it. No sugar, just a long-simmered broth I am betting.
And I ordered the special (always a good plan, I feel) which was a duck leg confit over ham and bean stew. I was a little leery of combining meats, did I really need a duck quarter AND a hammy soup? Spoilers: yes. The soup was rich and salty, and the duck leg? Have you had confit? First the meat is brined and preserved, then fried at a low temperature. It is salty and crispy and meaty and sweet. Every bite was bliss.
Always get the special.
Happy birthday to me! Oh and sorry about the yellow pictures - beauty of pictures is inversely related to seductiveness of restaurant ambiance. In this situation the pictures lost out.