Friday, April 30, 2010

Ludobites 4.0 Quickie

There probably isn't another restaurant that almost all of the LA bloggers repeated go back to other than Ludobites. Partly because of the temporariness of the pop-up, partly because of the constantly rotating menu, and partly just because we all love it.

Ludobites 4.0 is currently popping at Gram & Papa's in downtown LA (their venture "east" ... ish). While the space is small, which makes keeping afloat hard when 20 ppl who snagged multiple reservations decided on a no-show, the (although also small) open kitchen is nice. Now we can stare at Ludo and the sous chefs while they cook. And yes, Ludo can stare at you too when your courses come, so snap those photos fast.

With the blogger/twitterverse shooting praises for particular dishes, one visit is never enough, because you'd go online and say "I didn't get to try that one!"

What I did get to try:

Burgundy Escargots, Garlic Flan, Green Jus, Violet Flowers ($13)
Typically served with garlic and parsley butter, Ludo whips them up instead in garlic flan (which is still deliciously rich and butter). Crunchy chewy snails in creamy, garlicky goodness. My companion didn't really dig snails or garlic. All the better for me.

Scallop, Almond Puree, Pickled Grapes, Capers, Curry Oil & Cauliflower Ice Cream ($14)
Firm yet tender scallops, crisp cauliflowers and the juices of the pickled grapes bursting in your mouth.

Carrot Salad, Saffron Anglaise Cream, Pearl Onions, Blood Orange, Orange Powder ($10)
I was skeptical at first (because why would I order carrot salad?) but this was not only gorgeous looking but tasted really good. The thinly shaved carrots had so much flavor and a great texture. Combined with the citrus from the blood orange slices, this was one great salad.

Seared Foie Gras "Pina Colada" ($29)
There were a lot of great flavors going on here, but I did think the foie gras was seared too long. A good portion of the foie was seared to a crisp and while I usually enjoy that this was a little thick. I'd like to give this another try though.

Squid "Carbonara", Pancetta, Poached Egg (63'), Parmesan Snow, Chive Flowers ($18)
A unique and delicious take on the pasta carbonara, using slices of squid as the "pasta." This was one of the other bloggers' beloved dish and I can certainly see why. The creamy "pasta" dish is taken to a new level using the chewiness of the squid.

Ham Soup, Bread, Swiss Cheese, Radish, Cornichon, Guiness ($12)
This "Parisian Ham Sandwich in a Bowl" as Krissy introduced it, was another much-lauded dish amongst the bloggers. The ham soup with bits of bread and swiss cheese floating about is two great comfort foods conjoined.

The fact that the last 2 dishes are by and large the favorites of the popular votes to me said something about the taste preferences of the current audience, though. Same as the popularity of bacon. Something rich and heavy over a wonderfully executed Poached Monkfish, Jardiniere de Legumes, Vadouvan ($24)
The monkfish itself was firm yet moist and sweet. It was served with peas and carrots, the spring vegetables that probably classically define the term "jardiniere." Vadouvan, Ludo's favorite spice, brings together each ingredient in the dish in spice and cumin-laden bond.

Two desserts were offered, so naturally we got both.
Rose macarons, Organic Strawberry & Lychee ($12)
This dense and chewy macaron had a nicely sweet fragrance and was complemented well by the crisp fresh strawberries. The lychee essence was somewhat lost among the other flavors.

Dark chocolate soufflé, vanilla whisky ice cream, hot chocolate cream ($13)
I don't know why it's so hard to find a real soufflé in this city (stop serving me chocolate molten cake when your menu says soufflé!), but Ludo's is certainly a bonafide soufflé.
The soufflé: a gorgeous "rise", fluffy, soft and moist.
To top it all off: whisky in your ice cream for a kick.

If I wanted to be done with Ludobites I will have to quit reading blogs and twitter.
In the meantime, I still have a long list of dishes to try: poached jidori chicken, egg & potato mousseline w lobster, etc, etc ...

LudoBites @ Gram & Papa's
227 E 9th St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 624-7272
LudoBites @ Gram & Papa's on Urbanspoon


Chubby Chinese Girl

been wanting to try his food but never seem to coordinate the time with his events when I"m there =/

Exile Kiss

Hi burumun,

Thanks for the review of the latest Ludobites appearance. :) I still haven't tried any of the Ludobites yet; I'll do it one of these years. :)

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