ludobites update 11/16
a little update on ludobites:
i just went last night... it was pretty rockin in the good food arena...8pm reservations for three... i brought a nice bottle of saint julien bordeaux and my friend brought some dry chilled sherry...they didnt have stemware but sort of cheaper versions of the reidel o series glasses...
we got the bread basket with awesome seasalt sprinkled beurre echire. my friend whom i was treating is a butter nut, and was taking the butter straight to mouth at times bypassing bread towards the end of dinner...
we had the heirloom tomato salad ($7), which essentially is a sophisticated take on greek salad. beautiful tomatoes, red onion, olive, and a quenelle of feta "ice cream". the strong taste of feta was definitely muted and whipped into a light cold cream...
smoked salmon, tarama, trout roe, lentil pot ($9) was presented as a trio on a long plate.
5 slices of smoked salmon like sashimi, then the taramasalata was great (starting off the dinner very greek!) the tarama was firmer than i am used to but the flavor very good and coated with trout roe. very good!!! the lentil pot was fine...
chicken liver mousse and green apple gelee ($9). loved this dish. a light creamy livery mousse presented on toast... topped with cornichon shavings... the green apple gelee was not to our liking... like an apple jello.
green oatmeal with sauteed escargots, and garlic bubbles ($11). our table was quite dark so we couldnt really see what we were eating at this course as a result of the deep bowl it was served in.. its kind of as advertised. a savory oatmeal with buttery lightly garlic-y escargot... fine but not mind blowing.
then we had wild striped bass with fennel marmalade ($15). the fish portion was smaller than i was expecting. about two large sushi slices of fish perfectly cooked and seasoned atop a tangy fennel marmalade. i liked this dish but wished there was more...
black foie gras croque-monsieur ($15). wow, this was awesome. like the worlds best grilled cheese, with a bit of prosciutto thrown in for balance... not tons of foie, but a very noticeable flavor of it. if the bread is actually dipped in squid ink, i couldnt tell by taste, and again it was dark.. i wish i could have seen this dish in the light...
marinated flank steak with aligot potato puree. ($20) at about this time our service started to really slow down. these last two courses took a while to come out.... this dish was the least interesting to me, and the steak might have been sitting before it was served to us... the pomme puree was nice and creamy but a bit heavy (i just had the pomme puree at joel robuchon so its hard to live up to that!)
we ended the night with some extra aged comte with pink grapefruit confit which was pretty interesting
and a chocolate cake with a quenelle of blue cheese whipped cream... i liked the interplay of sweet and savory... the chocolate cake was more of a mousse cake and the blue cheese flavor was not overpowering....
these two courses took forever to come out and we were getting pretty full. i specifically asked them to wait for the cheese course to come out before they served the chocolate cake but they came at essentially the same time which was kind of a bummer.
the service didn't bother me especially with no corkage and the casual setting... it wasnt' too crowded. i was expecting more people with the recent press. we chilled at our table and enjoyed the night and everyone was pretty happy..
I was there last night as well! We ordered much of the same dishes (heirloom tomato/feta, chicken liver mousse, green oatmeal/escargots, croque monsieur), and had the same impressions as you did. Really enjoyed the heirloom tomatoes, liked the chicken liver mousse but not that green apple gelee. Was pleasantly surprised by the oatmeal, and adored the croque monsieur. For dessert, we also got the panna cotta with caviar (served with a great thick slightly salty caramel sauce), which I really enjoyed but my friend could not abide, the red fire chocolate mousse (flavored with jalapeno, hence the fire), and the baba with rum and aloe vera jelly (not a fan of the jelly - also, more like Jello in its consistency - but that might be because I associate it with soap and bath products, much like violets and lavender, so that when I eat it, I think of... well, soap and bath products).
While I am glad I went, I don't think I'd go back. The food was good, and inventive... but, there was still something intangible lacking. It reminded me of Minibar (Jose Andres' paean to molecular gastronomy in Washington DC), but taken down a couple of notches. That being said, however, nowhere in LA is anything quite like this being done (at least not to my knowledge), and that alone makes it a good thing.
We got there at 8 as well, or a little past. My friend and I were outside, right next to the door, on the most annoyingly tilted table (tilted due to the slant of the concrete).
The one time I had Centeno's tasting menu at Opus, I didn't think it was anywhere near conceputally close to what the chef is trying to create at Ludobites. It's been forever since I've been to the Ritz, and I've never gone to Bastide, so I can't comment on those places.
we were the middle table outside closest to the sidewalk...
i've had the opus tasting menu perhaps ten times. always loved it.. i think ludo's food is more refined, but yes, similar in its modernity... or should i say... post modernity...taking influences from multiple cultures, presenting them in playful and witty ways...
if joseph opens a spot in silverlake that means there will be an actually good restaurant in silverlake...
Thanks for the review. I went two months ago before there was any press about it. It is good to find that Ludo's cooking is catching on. Ludo reminds me alot of Centeno, but a little more polished. Anyhow
I LOVED the black foie gras croque-monsieur and the heirloom tomato and feta mouse. The black foie gras croque-monsieur made me giggle it was so good. There is a recipe online at www.justoneplate.com.
The cheese plate turned me into a cheese snob over night. Whenever I eat cheese plates with others and people talk about how remarkable the cheese is, I think to myself, its good, but ametuer compared to Ludo bites.
We had shared 8 dishes total. 2 were phenomenal, 2 were very good, 2 were not memorable at all, but still good, 2 were just didnt work well. That is a great spread for me at the price point.