Ludobites is back!
I've been but I think he's changing the menu and the concept.
When I went (Thursday) it was the 3 course menu for $39. Appetizer and dessert were good but entree (lamb curry) was good-not-great. He said that night "was a disaster". The next night he was apparently in a bad mood and closed down. Now supposedly he is going back to the tapas-to-share style like last year? Haven't confirmed yet.
But from the menu when I went the following were great: foie gras miso soup, chicken liver mousse and bacon, gougeres with mornay sauce - these were the starters that you can (could?) order any day regardless of what's on the prix fixe.
From the entree I heard the duck-fat fried chicken was phenom.
I plan on going back for the tapas, will report back laters!
Was just there tonight with 7 other foodies, and everyone LOVED it! There wasn't a $39 prix fixe on the menu tonight, but we were there early, so early that the restaurant was still empty, and I told him that we weren't aware, and we were very nice, and obviously excited to be there, and he made it for us anyway AND threw in a 4th course! So, yes we had 4 courses for $39pp. It was AWESOME! So great that my brain is still partying, so memory is a little hazy, but here's what we had...I think:
First Course: Tuna Tartare with Watermelon, Beet Sorbet, Balsamic Tapioca, Lavender and??? (sorry I forget the other garnish)
I'm not a fan of raw fish, but this was excellent, and I wish I could eat it everyday. Super fresh, light and luxurious mouth feel, and the sweetness of the beet and watermelon did a little dance with the balsamic and tuna. Wonderful.
Second Course: Scallop with Yogurt Curry. There was a little nice bit of heat at the end of the taste of the curry from ginger, and we thought there was maybe lemongrass in it. The
sauce had just the right amount of sweetness. The scallop was cooked perfectly. Again, wonderful. All agreed.
So, at this point we were all really happy, digging the great experience, drinking the wine we bought down the street ($5 corkage fee), and wondering how it can be this good for only $39 and there were two more courses to come. Life is good.
Third Course: Fried Chicken in Duck Fat(!!!!)
Everyone thought it was tender and crunchy and just so amazing! And fried in duck fat. There's only one thing to say...Viva La France!
My Third Course: Oxtail with Polenta
All I could think of while eating this was how beautiful it is that a great dish can give me the same warm, safe feeling that I used to have whenever my foodie grandmother made food like this for us at her house. The oxtail was tender and rich and had tons of deep
"this is really good for your soul" taste. The polenta was perfect. Makes me want to make some shrimp and grits for breakfast.
Fourth Course: Strawberry Soup with Marshmallow Sorbet
Lovely. And there was some rhubarb in the soup. Sweet and light. Perfect for spring/summer. I felt that if this had been a cake or pie or something it would have been
too much, because I was stuffed at this point, and so was everyone else.
Has he been in The South? Fried Chicken...oh, and spinach with the Scallop, and Strawberry and Rhubarb... Since we sat outdoors on the patio the night was reminiscent of the great summer evening dinners of my childhood...if my mother was a charming and handsome French guy who could cook like nobody's business. He's awesome! Can hardly wait to see him compete on Top Chef Masters next month. Have fun!
Responding to my own post....had a very enjoyable meal tonight. I'm posting the tapas menu for May 26 below with notes on items ordered. $160 after tip and tax for 5 people without alcohol. According to Chef Ludo, menu will be changed every two weeks or so to reflect market fresh ingredients. Can't wait to go back!
Breadbasket and Butter $7 (Honey Lavender Butter was very tasty on fresh breads)
Cheese Board, Condiment $35
Brocamole with Wasabi, Corn Tortillas $6 (Guacamole made with broccoli instead of avocado)
Poached Egg, Mayo, Black Olive Bread $5
Chicken Liver Mousse, Bacon, Green Apple $6
Foie Gras Miso Soup and Radish $10 (very interesting combination of ingredients and it works)
Tuna, Multi-Color Beets, Watermelon, Balsamic Pearls $12 (very refreshing)
Sauteed Diver Scallop, Curry-Yogurt, Spinach $12 ( very delicious)
Green Aspargus, Cesar's Dressing, Orange Breadcrumb $8
Cheesy Rosemary Polenta, Oxtail Beef, Yellow Carrots $10 (very good)
Calamari, Avocado, Lime, Fresh Almond $9 (excellent dish)
Beef Tartar, Shallots, Peanuts $12 (good but not outstanding)
Fried Chicken in Duck FAt, Basquaise Vegetables $13 (absolutely delicious)
Steak, Big Frites $15
Strawberry Soup, Rhubarb, Hibiscus, Marshmallow Ice Cream $7 (refreshing dessert)
Chocolate Mousse, Grilled Bell Pepper $8 (did not like the grilled bell pepper sauce. chocolate mousse itself was bitter sweet and tasted better with strawberry soup)
I was very disappointed with my meal at Ludobites. The foie gras miso soup lacked any body or depth, and the pickled radishes totally overpowered the broth both in its overwhelming taste and in the chef's decision to leave the pickled veggies in their natural form, uncut. I was looking forward to the fried chicken but it was not available the evening I was there as were a few other items including the black cod. But perhaps the most disappointing part of the night was being lied to by the chef himself. When he came to our table to ask us how the meal was, we asked why there were so many items missing from the menu and specifically the chicken. He stated that they had just run out. We were content with his answer up until the moment we saw a glistening plate of chicken being served to no other than Mr. Jonathan Gold (mind you this was 1 hour into our meal). Now, I understand that Mr. Gold's reviews are important to any restaurant but shouldn't the customer's experience count for something? I have been a big fan of Chef Ludo for many years, but his lack of interest in regular paying customers like me was too much especially since nothing I had that evening was memorable. In other words, that "I must have that dish again" moment never happened.