Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ludo Bites @ Breadbar - A Must Try

We were fortunate enough to be invited to the latest Food Digger event at Ludo Bites. First, let me thank Will, Marshal, Brian, and the rest of the gang at Food Digger for hosting this wonderful event. With Evelina 3,000 miles away, it was time for me, Wesley, the one lonely panda to step up to the plate and formulate this review.

Upon my arrival, I was greeted and introduced to a community of bloggers that I have followed over the years. I have read their reviews and seen their pictures but being able to converse with them was a pleasure.

Assigned seating- Gourmet Pigs to my right, Marshal on my left, and Grub Trotters in front.
Ludovic "Ludo" Lefebvre, author of Crave, is now hosting Ludo Bites at Breadbar on 3rd St until August 22nd. Ludo is known for his innovative and daring dishes. When it comes down to food, Ludo has a no guts, no glory attitude, regularly walking the plank over a pool of feisty critics.

Chef Ludo introducing himself to the Food Digger gang.

First up was a deconstructed Blood Mary. This was a tangy starter comprised of spicy ice, vodka gelatin, and a sorbet.

Next to arrive was a Breadbar basket with butter that is made by Ludo himself. Both the bread and butter were delectable.
Tuna Sashimi, Sushi Rice Ice Cream, Shishimi Togarashi - First off, lovely presentation, great colors, and interesting texture choices. The ice cream tastes exactly like sushi rice and when it's combined with the tuna, fried onions, and sauces, it was amazing.

When this next dish this was presented to me, I couldn't help but notice how fragrant it was. Krissy, Ludo's wife explained to us that it was Chorizo, Onions, and Cornichon. This is what I mean by walking the plank and Ludo really putting himself out there... I mean, blended Spanish chorizo? This was another spectacular dish that hit me by surprise with its great meaty flavor, a wonderful contrast to the onion and cornichon ice. This dish is 100% Ludo.

King Red Salmon, Smoked Vinegar, Watermelon, and Mint was the next dish to arrive. We were instructed to eat the salmon first and pop the watermelon in immediately after like a chaser. The king salmon salmon was rich in flavor and combined with the roe, it left a salty aftertaste. The watermelon the instantly neutralized the saltiness with an instant burst of sweetness.
Shrimps, Sweet and Sour, Rosemary - This was another one-bite dish. Krissy insisted that Ludo would scream at us if he saw us eating it any other way. The sweet and sour sauce had a nice buttery flavor to it that went well with the perfectly cooked shrimp.

Foie Gras Tart, Lemon Paste, Mushroom, Four Spices - Hands down my absolute favorite dish of the night - wow. The foie gras had its signature buttery taste and the maple tart underneath was to die for. Combine the foie gras, maple tart, mushroom, and lemon paste and you have got yourself a winner. Seconds, please.

Diver Scallop, Port, Crème Fraiche [in foam form] - The scallop was cooked beautifully and the port and crème fraiche gave this dish a nice zing.

Halibut, Spiced Butter, Fresh Porcini, Tonnato Style, Lettuce - This is showing Ludo's classical French skills. The halibut was cooked and seasoned perfectly. The porcini mushrooms and lectuce had a savory buttery taste. However, the tonnato sauce is what made this dish spectacular with its rich creamy flavor.

My second favorite dish of the night was next - Duck, Almonds, Crispy Skin Puree, Tapenade, Turnips. This was another fragrant dish, with the tapenade and lemon oozing made for some olfactory goodness. The duck was very lean and tender went well with the sweet almonds. The almonds and tapenade gave a much-appreciated contrast. One gripe - I had leftover tapenade and a piece of bread would have been PERFECT at that moment. With my dish out of the way, bread arrived several minutes later.

As you can see, we bloggers are a busy bunch equipped with cameras, notebooks, and cell phones. I thought to myself, "Oh no! Cheese...,"a sign that the end is near. The cheese platter was amazing and I was too busy stuffing myself to jot down any names. All I can say is bread, honeycomb, and cheese is a winning combination.

Panna Cotta, Caviar, Caramel - The vanilla panna cotta and the caramel offered a nice sweet taste - combine with the caviar and Ludo is playing games with my palette. Beautifully constructed, amazing flavors, a great way to end our dinner.

Ludo showing off his tatted sleeves and his rock star qualities.

We all gathered around to watch Ludo compete on Top Chef Masters [with Ludo's commentary]. It was great to sit there and enjoy the show with him. Expletives were thrown here and there, laughs, good wine, and good company. Does it get any better?

Ludo Bites (@ Breadbar) on Urbanspoon

Breadbar in Los Angeles

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  1. Hi Wesley! It was nice meeting you last night. Your photos turn out great as always. Love the photo of us all watching Top Chef!

  2. Gorgeous photos. The duck looks like it's blushing.

  3. beautiful photos & nice review!

    nice to have met you neighbor!

  4. Hey Wesley - this is Eddie from the FoodDigger crew - glad you had a great time, wish I coulda been there with you guys! Just wanted to comment on your beautiful pictures! Luv the hang ten shot of Ludo...!

  5. Wesley. Thanks for coming out and sharing our one of a kind meal. Your photos are amazing. I find myself dreaming of that chorizo soup! Be well and hope to see you soon


  6. Wesley - Your pictures are absolutely stunning! Makes me feel like I am experiencing it all over again. I agree re: the foie gras - my favorite of the night too. I'm still thinking about it!

  7. Fisheye FTW! Which lens is that?

  8. @burumun: it was a pleasure meeting you (and sitting next to you)

    @yutjangash: thanks! looking at the picture of the duck makes me hungry. still wish i had that piece of bread.

    @daily gluttony: thanks! should get to get together when the other panda gets back in town.

    @eddie: too bad you couldn't have been there. hate to rub it in your face but it was an AWESOME event.

    @will: thank you for the invite. i look forward to the next event (assuming im invited)

    @diana: it was a pleasure meeting you and reading your amusing entry

    @kevin: 15mm sigma fish; love that picture you took of me taking the pic of the cheese

  9. Hey Wesley: Great to have met you in person. Let me know when you want to join the SGV crew to grub in the future. Again, great pics, all the more for me to get better lens for my camera!

  10. this just pushed me in favor of going there for dinner tonight on my solo night on the town. noms. and I don't have to share.

  11. @Danny: It was great meeting you. I am always down to join the SGV crew to grub. My summer session is ending next week so I'm going to be a happy camper.

    @Food, she thought: Great! It's funny because I was actually reading your Bottega Louie post before bed last night [been meaning to drop by there for a while now]. Let me know if you enjoy Ludo Bites or I suppose I can stay tuned for your blog post :)

  12. Hey dude,

    It's a sure sign of nice photography when I can imagine every single one of these on a food magazine or something :)

    Yeah man, you would of been included in this Baja trip if I knew you earlier, spots were given out like three months ago.

    Don't worry though, Bill said this is only the first of many media trips to come, will surely include you in on next one :)

  13. Your pictures are beautiful!!!

    Nice meeting you on Saturday, even if it was very briefly! Maybe next time we will have more time to chat. :)