More Love for Ludobites (review w/ pics)
As has previously been discussed on the board, Ludo Lefebvre, former chef of Bastide, is serving innovative small plates at breadbar on Third Street on Wed.-Fri. nights until December 21, 2007. We went at the end of October.
My review with pics is here: http://meganinlosfeliz.blogspot.com/search/label/Ludobites
I so love BYOB. We brought an excellent Ken Brown Pinot Noir (Cargasacchi Vineyard) - it paired wonderfully with the dishes.
Seeing as how we were at breadbar, we felt compelled to order the bread basket. The baguette (the little bit in the basket) was great, but what really knocked me out was the INSANELY GOOD butter with sea salt. Oh my. I could have eaten that all night long. Next time though, I hope they put some baguette aside for the evening (the person next to us asked if there was more and they said they had run out).
We started with heirloom tomatoes with a feta mousse. Although heirloom tomatoes can feel played out with every restaurant serving them of late, these were heavenly. Especially because of that cheese. I think I actually prefer it to burrata, which is saying something.
Next we ordered spicy stuffed peppers. These we should have skipped. Mostly spicy breading inside. Pass...
Up next was the chicken liver mousse. Hold the phone! Insane. So damn good. The mousse was extremely light and fluffy, but still had the intensity of flavor you find in the chicken liver crostini at AOC (a favorite of mine). The quantity of mousse is likely intended for more than two people, but we had no trouble finishing it. Yummm.
We then had the beef tartare spring roll. This was very delicate and restrained, but for me, a bit too restrained. Still, not bad. I just wanted more flavor.
Finally, we HAD to try the black croque monsieur with foie gras. Woweee. Deliciously decadent. This qualifies as "food that makes you swoon." Of course, after this and the chicken liver mousse, we probably should have walked across the street to Cedars Sinai.
We didn't. Instead, we ordered a cheese, a condiment, and some soppressata to go--we were running out of wine (and space). We were too full to eat it when we got home, but really enjoyed the cheese and soppressata over the course of the next few days.
Then we got the bill. $89. Maybe the best part of all. Gotta love BYO. Had we not taken anything to go, it would have been only $70.
A note re service - keep your expectations in check. The woman we had brought us water when we needed it, etc., but knew nothing about food (she is the lunch server at breadbar). However, she was very nice and given the price point, I really didn't care.
I can't wait to go back and try more things. Next time we would like to bring friends. It seems like a perfect place for 4 or 6. However, we are running out time. I wish this were a permanent fixture, so I highly recommend you check it out while you still can.
Space is limited; request a table outside. In general, weekend nights are always much busier than a weeknight. We went on a Thursday and were seated immediately and on time.
Black croque monsieur, heirloom w/feta mousse and potato gnocchi were excellent on our visit and be sure to bring wine; they have nicer wine glasses if you request them...
We sat inside to avoid the smoke potential, but I agree the outside is nicer if you don't mind that (inside you are at communal tables on bar stools).
We went on a Friday, about 3 weeks ago, and were seated immediately. The place was half full for much of the night, to my surprise. However, since then Ludobites has gotten some press, so it may be busier now.
I read Irene's review. I agree the beef tartare roll is pricey at $11 (didn't recall that), but none of the other dishes struck me as being priced high given the portion size. I thought many of the dishes were better than AOC and the prices were equivalent or less, and while the service at AOC is better, the no corkage policy makes this a draw, particularly b/c it is hard to get Ludo's food for under $100 for 2 people.
There's a review on this in the LA Times this morning. While it looks interesting, the dishes seem very hit & miss which would be acceptable if the prices weren't so ridiculously high. I mean, it's well and good to lay out "small plates" but when they're at "big plate" prices, every one of them had better be a gem, BYOB or not. Of course, that's just me.