Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Ludi-Bites 4.0 Finale

My LudoBites cherry was popped tonight. It happened without warning, abruptly, leaving me at somewhat of a daze. And even now I'm still trying to ascertain how good it really is. Salaciousness aside, this chance dinner is attributed to fellow blogger Kevin of KevinEats. Although very last minute-like 24 hrs last minute- I was stoked at the invite. Admittingly, I was one of the hundreds of people who tried to get a reservation at Ludobites but failed miserably. I've concluded that the only probable method of snatching a table, besides knowing someone who knows someone, is keeping your fingers locked on a keyboard the minute Ludobites sends an email announcing the new pop-up location. As for me, I'll just cross my fingers and hope that I'll know someone who knows someone.

Tonight's the final night for Ludobites version 4.0 and to think I almost missed it by a hairline. Well, here I am on the LB bandwagon and is about to share a culinary excursion. Since Chef Ludo's dishes have been dissected and studied like a lab specimen, I'll leave the infallible descriptions of each dish, which includes the entire menu,  to my dining companions Kevineats, Epicuryan, Food je t'aime, UncouthGourmands. This leaves me with the more memorable and noteworthy courses, in my opinion.

Dorade Ceviche, Heirloom Tomato, Spring Onions, Lemon Honey Paste
The dish itself was a little mundane. The fish was slightly overpowering. Although I did enjoy the whimsical presentation, especially the subtleties such as the flowers.

Brie Chantilly, Honey Comb, BalsamicVinegar
The brie is whipped until light and airy much like butter; a requisite dish loved by everyone at the table.

Santa Barbara Prawn, Avocado, Passion Fruit Cocktail Sauce
I don't particularly fancy the rubbery prawns, but the "icy" crème fraiche did add an interesting note to the dish.

Veal Tartar, Oysters, Almond Oil, Seaweed, Tonnato Sauce
 Veal tartar, supposedly the star of the show but underrepresented, concealed even more so by the strong flavors of the tonnato sauce. I would prefer more veal essence than fish.

Boudin Noir Terrine, Apple Puree, Wasabi
Although not much of a blood sausage fan, I do find much jolly in watching my companions ravage over a plate of gore with blood stained teeth. ; ) Within a few minutes, it's reduced to a mangled stain, but artistically so.

Foi Gras, Green Cabbage, Kimchi Consomme, Pickled Turnips. Sesame Oil
Chef Ludo really did some damage on this concept. Neo-Franco meets Asian fusion. Velvety foi wrapped in simple napa cabbage and sitting in a light won-ton soup base. Creative? Yes. A hit? Most definitely.

Crispy Soft Shell Crab Cone, Spicy Mayo, Mango, Corona Granite
This may be the long lost cousin of Geisha House' spicy crab roll. More bluntly put, your standard fusion sushi fare. The exception being the crunchy cone that actually was quite becoming on its own. The combination of the Corona icy eludes me.

Ham Soup, Bread, Swiss Cheese, Radish, Cornichon, Guiness
"Salty," I think. Tastes again. "Cheese sandwich." I shit you naught. There is a tiny Swiss cheese sandwich lying in the bottom of this ham soup. I would've missed it if it wasn't for someone's kind reminder that there's more depth to this soup than pretty foam and ham purée.

Foi Gras Black Croque-Monsier, Cherry-Amaretto Chutney
A signature dish of Ludo's and easily my favorite. The bread is colored with squid ink and toasted with butter sandwiching globs of decadent foi. The cherry chutney cuts through fat with ease, but I find less use for it.

Squid Carbonara", Pancetta, Poached Egg (63°), Parmesan Snow, Chive Flowers
It would be hard not to harbor love for this dish. A perfectly poached egg that does not break even after we peel back the skin, chunks of crispy pancetta, and tender cuts of squid. The sum of its parts.

Dark Chocolate Souffle, Vanilla Whipped Cream, Hot chocolate cream
The souffle..is just a souffle. Albeit a good one.

Needless to say, Chef Ludo is an artist, not limited to just the culinary world, but an artist in paints and canvas as well. The wall at Gram's and Papa is checkered with his oil paintings and bric-a-bracs that constantly remind us of Ludo's celebrity status. An artist, in a sense, where his vocation isn't to please the client, but to procure an outlet for his creative inspirations. The passion for his creations are apparent when his frustration mounts as our perpetual camera clicking reaches a climax, afraid that we might, in our fury of shooting, leave his dishes cold. He tweets, "I zink zey forget to eat".  I can see why people like this guy. He's charming. Friendly. Devilish. He struts his tattoo with rock star caliber. But I digress.. It's about the food, right? A factor that is often neglected in this era of celebrity chef-dom. Overall, I enjoy his outlandish and novel concepts, even with a few hiccups here and there. If I do show any doubts, I'm only thwarted by my very high expectations.

So comes an end to Ludo's 4th scene, but rumor has it his next showing will be sometime around July. When that times rolls around, be sure to super glue your fingers on the keyboard; lest your chance to watch him on stage be gone before you can even say "Ludo Lefebvre".

And again, many thanks to Epicuyan and Kevineats for supplying the free flowing booze to keep the night young.

Ludo Bites 4.0 at Gram and Papa's in Los Angeles on Fooddigger


  1. Glad I could help you pop your LB cherry. ;)

    Why does the foie gras and cabbage pic have a line running through it???

  2. Lol..It was intentional. I thought it might add some pizazz to an otherwise ugly photo.

  3. I don't think the photo is ugly at all! Although I did realize the line running through it was intentional haha

    It was great meeting you that night :) I think I'm like the last one to put up my post...will have to do that tonight!

  4. Thank you Christine for noticing that it was intentional! xD

  5. I thought your review captured the spirit of LudoBites very well.

    As for the oh so controversial line, I'll admit I was as stumped as Kevin. Damn literal-minded engineers

  6. everytime i see your guys' ludobites pics i get so jealous! hahah!