Ludobites at Breadbar - Review
Six of us dined al fresco last night at Breadbar (of all places!) on 3rd street to enjoy chef Ludovic Lefebvre’s playful tapas menu. The Cheese Shop of Beverly Hills provides all of the fine charcuterie and cheese and diners are encouraged to bring their own wine. A win win situation all around.
Prices range from $6 (cheese, vege plates) to $26 for the “black croquet monsieur”. With sleeves rolled up, Chef Ludovic’s tattooed arms were kept busy by a full restaurant; below is what we ordered:
-Black Croque Monsieur – could be THE best grilled cheese; thin bread is soaked in squid inked and lightly filled with cheese, cured ham and foie gras and then grilled. The rich texture of the “stuffing” along with the crisp, buttery bread is heavenly.
-Potato gnocchi – dense, pillow like gnocchi accompanied by crisp shreds of romaine and charred prosciutto lightly dressed in a cheese veloute sauce. Like the croque monsieur, this was a real hit with everyone.
-Hanger steak – cooked to a perfect medium rare, it comes pre-sliced with a subtle mustard-based sauce.
-Heriloom tomato salad - a play on a greek salad, the super sweet heirloom tomatoes are drizzled with a vinaigrette and garnished with a few olives, red onions and topped with an ethereal dollop of feta “mousse”. Another standout dish.
-Crab – served in a small round dish, a cold crab "cake" sat in a pool of coconut milk flavored with lemon grass. This was one of the least favorite plates of the night; the crab was good, but the coconut “cream” was soley rich and one dimensional and needed some acid to enliven the dish
-Charcuterie/Cheese – as expected, all of these were fantastic. We had prosciutto, lomo, epoisses, extra aged comte, a triple cream and mimolette; the mimolette (cow’s milk, hard, orange color) was our favorite.
-Dessert – chocolate mousse (spiked with chipotle or some kind of spicy chile) and a vanilla ice cream and apple combo. I would skip the desserts next time.
Overall, we really enjoyed the concept and thought the food was excellent. I think the tapas menu is being offered through December and I would definitely go back to see what else the chef will be creating.
4 of us went last night, we first had the cheese plate ($33) It was worth every penny, 6 types of cheese and about 8 little condiments along with as much great bread as you could eat. There was enough of each cheese for all 4 of us to get our fill of each of them. The condiments were on the whole very tasty, the pink grapefruit marmelade was amazing, as was the date puree. There were one or two that I didnt like, a white chocolate thing that felt out of place, but otherwise it was great fun pairing bread with cheese with condiment. Each bite was different and delicious.
As for the main dishes the heirloom tomato salad was nice and light after all the cheese, and the smoked salmon / lentil / caviar plate was very good. I generally dont like smoked salmon but everything came together very well. The crab was a big disappointment, I dont think anyone had more than one bite, it tasted like bad tuna salad with too much mayo.
We had a apple / butter ice cream desert as well as a rose gelato. I would skip them next time, nothing stood out about them.
The service was friendly and not pushy, but they didn't know a whole lot about the food. I guess this is to be expected as the food changes so often and it is a temporary gig, but our server had to go ask the chef twice what kinds of cheese we had on the cheese plate sitting in front of us and nobody seemed to know what the little green things all over our rose gelato were (we found out later they were basil seeds).
No corking fee on the wine was very nice, we got out of there a little over $100 for the 4 of us which was a nice change. I think the more people you go with the better the experience you will have, as you only need a few bites of each plate.
My wife and I went a couple weeks ago. We're huge fans of BreadBar and bigger fans of the BH Cheese Store, so we thought this was a slam dunk. While Ludo certainly knows how to cook, I found the menu to be really disjointed. Of course, the idea is to share a bite of this and a bite of that. That works, but the menu still has to have some cohesiveness, after all. I did not get that. The prawns were really good. The brocolli "guacomole" was ho-hum. The bread basket was great, especially with the rich butter from the Cheese Store. The cheese was very good, but that's to be expected. The hanger steak was pretty good, but I did not find it particularly memorable. We had a passionfruit panna cotta for dessert and it was OK, but the consistency was not quite there -- it had an odd mouth-feel.
this was very reminiscent of those "greatest hits" albums that rock bands put together and to entice buyers, they throw on one of their newer, experimental tracks. There were definitely some dishes that were well done and I got the sense that Ludo had perfected them over the years, but then there were some oddly inventive dishes that didn't resonate with me.
I went a few weeks ago. Neither the cheeses nor the charcuterie were in the good shape; they had picked up off flavors, probably from the refrigerator.
A couple of the dishes were seriously oversalted -- and I usually don't mind salty food. Ludo's condiments were really compelling, though. Worked very well with the cheeses.
I've had quite a few of the items from the Cheese Store and they've always been impeccably fresh and delicious. I'm not sure where things fell apart.
Yes, although there's only a few tables indoors and you sit on high stools without backs. The outdoor tables are probably more comfortable, there's heaters, if you're up for it. The menu changes each week. We tried the hangar steak Vinosnob mentioned but the standout was the chicken liver mousse.
Is this a daily or weekly event? How does one (me) get in on the action. I am assuming I call breadbar and make a reservation. Its not on their website.. Update.. It is on their website. Lots of information and a sample menu as well. Just called and I am going next Thursday. Thanks for the tip...
I also went to ludobites
THere has been very little buzz about the event anywhere, yet when we went, it was packed. I was shocked. Some of the crowd was the ditzy glitzy bunch, but most of the crowd seemed to be city-foodies coming to enjoy a great meal.
We had a very similar meal to yours and we loved it all.
The heirloom tomatoe and feta cheese mouse was great. So great that my wife and I went the the santa monica's farmers market to pick out the sweetest and best heirloom tomatoes we could find. We went to bristol farms to pick up burrata since we werent going to make the feta mousse. We have a very flavorful olive oil and vinagerette, so we used that and some sea salt and pepper to give it a little body. Simple enough right?!?
Our creation didnt come close to Ludo's. We didnt know how the heck Ludo made a dish so simple, taste so divine. Maybe he sprinkled some crack in it?!
The “black croquet monsieur” was freakin awesome. So awesome that I searched all over the internet to find a recipe. Well, guess what? I found one.
Go to www.justoneplate.com, and follow the links so you can make it at home. I still dont know what bread he used though.
If hounds are out there and havent tried ludo bites, you should. If for nothing else, go because it is BYOB and you can get an AWESOME cheese plate. Wine and cheese...yum!
Most menu prices are very reasonable.