Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ludo Bites @ Breadbar - Why must you leave?

It's been almost two months since our first Ludo Bites review and Chef Ludo Lefebvre's creations continue to be innovative and delicious. The difference between now and then? The place is even more packed as Ludo Bites is nearing the end of its fourth-month run at the Breadbar (last dinner on August 22 is completely booked). Since Ludo's television appearance as a contestant on Top Chef Masters, reservations have been tough to land and Ludo has drastically increased his celeb-status.

Ludo still does much of the cooking, but also rely on his sous chefs to help him feed a packed house.
The atmosphere is hip; the crowd is young.

If Ludo sold his lavender butter, we'd be first in line to buy.

Chorizo, Cantaloupe, Cornichon $11 - The soup is made of Spanish chorizo and served chilled. The soup has a strong meaty flavor on its own but when coupled with the cornichon ice and cantaloupe, the whole dish balances nicely.

Green Beans Salad, Peach, Coconut, Apple, Horseradish, Lemongrass $9 - The salad was light and refreshing. It wasn't anything mind blowing but Wes must say - if horseradish always tasted like this, he would eat more of it.

Veal Tartare, Oysters, Almonds, Lemon, Avacado, Tonnato Sauce $12 - The veal was lean and its texture was similar to tuna. The tonnato sauce gave the dish a creamy texture and rich flavor. This dish was one of the favorites that night.

Homemade Boudin Noir Terrine, Potato Puree, Mustard, Black Currants $10 - This was something we didn't really expect at Ludo Bites. Pork's blood is nothing new to us. It's widely served in Chinese/Vietnamese cuisine. Evelina usually pushes Wes to order pork's blood when we eat dim sum but Wesley despises it. Ironically, Wesley was a fan of the terrine but Evelina didn't think much of it.

Foie Gras Black Croque-Monsieur, Ham, Cherry, Amaretto $20 - Three words: OH MY PANDA. A generous slice of foie gras tops the ham and cheese that's grilled in between two slices of squid ink bread. Toss on some cherry amaretto sauce and you're in heaven. We wonder if Ludo can make this in a footlong...

Creamy Polenta, Cantal Cheese, Oxtail Beef, Black Truffle $14 - The beef was tender and the polenta had a nice creamy flavor. This dish was very well balanced when you combine all the elements.

Marinated Heirloom Tomato, Red Onions, Feta Mousse, Olives- This was a refreshing dish so we wished it was served as the second or third course. As the middle course, it felt out of place. Nevertheless, the tomatoes were beautiful with a sweet refreshing flavor that pops in your mouth.

Caramelized Halibut, Yellow and Orange Carrot, Mango, Peanuts, Thai Basil $22 - Cod was originally on the menu but Ludo told us the quality of cod that night was unacceptable so he created a halibut version instead. The fish was beautifully cooked and held its own.

Spaghetti Carbonara, Santa-Barbara Prawn, Sage $22 - Wesley is a firm believer that bacon makes all things better--this was no exception. The dish may sound very straight forward and ordinary but as a twist, Ludo used celery root to make the noodles. They looked, bounced, and felt like regular noodles but when instead of being chewy, it crunched.

Grilled Duck Breast, Leeks Salad, Ginger, Capers, Black Truffle $22 - Ludo surely knows how to cook a duck. Combine duck and black truffles and there's no wrong The duck was a bit salty but Ludo informed us that it was intentional. He was trying to go for more of an Asian flavor.

Peach, Curry, Mascarpone, Verbena $10 - Cheese, curry, and peaches? This was actually an excellent combination. The curry flavor added a punch to the sweet peach and mascarpone really even things out.

Chocolate Cup Cake, Foie Gras Chantilly, Candied Bacon-Almonds, Maple Syrup $12 - another OH MY PANDA moment - wow. The foie gras chantilly and maple-soaked bacon is a dessert of its own. The chocolate cup cake is rich and moist. All these elements together - perfection.

Creme Fraiche Panna Cotta, Carmel, Caviar $15 - The panna cotta has shrunk considerably since the first visit and the specks of vanilla bean are no longer visible, however, the wonderful combination of flavors are still there. The mix of sweet, salty, and creamy flavors in our mouths was a wonderful way to end our dinners.

Ludo ends his stint at the Breadbar on August 22. If you don't have reservations already, we wish you luck. When we asked Ludo's wife Krissy what their plans were she immediately responded vacation in Hawaii. Then back to France for a month of training and back to Los Angeles to find a permanent location for Ludo's new restaurant. We can't wait.

Thanks to KungFoodPanda and Will of Fooddigger for planning the blogger-infested dinner.

Ludo Bites at Breadbar in Los Angeles

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  1. I weep for not getting a reservation. [sniffle]

  2. Wow, I can't believe how the pics turned out, the candle light did them good! =D

  3. Great post - thanks for sharing. It's very cool that you met Ludo Lefebvre. His food does look great but I'm disappointed with his attitude on Top Chef Masters. I guess that doesn't change the food though...