Ludobites at Breadbar (til 08/22)
8718 West 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048
310 205 0124
Our Thursday night culinary adventure started walking down a hill and hopping on the bus, heading toward Chef Ludo Lefebvre and his Ludobites concept at Breadbar on the very eastern outskirts of Beverly Hills. The lovely 3 bus. The metro transit system in Los Angeles may have its faults: not enough lines, they don't run often enough, there are sometimes weird freaks with 3 foot wide 6 foot long dreadlocks that look like the world's largest poop high as a a kite on who knows what basically speaking in tongue. However, buses are cleaner and smell better than a taxi. They are incredibly safe. I find the drivers to have a wonderful balance between efficiency in terms of speed and safety. Air conditioners pump out so much cool air, one needs a sweater on an early July afternoon. Buuuut, they are unpredictable in terms of delivery time. We were 30 minutes late for our reservation. Nevertheless, Ludo's lovely and gracious wife made room for us despite it, with a nice little table on the sidewalk patio.
Breadbar is BYOB, no corkage. LOVES! Since we literally ran out of the house to catch the 6pm 3 at the corner, we didn't have time to swing by our local, Silverlake Wine. Lee's Liquor on 3rd is about a block away, so we stopped in there and among their kinda not so great selection found one lone bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape. We're snargy like that. Louis Bernard Red Rhone Wine, 2005. A lower priced Chateauneuf, but after breathing a bit it was perfectly serviceable for wetting our whistles while noshing on Ludo's small plates.
Last night's menu above. What the hades is Ludobites? Ludobites is a guerrilla style pop-up restaurant created by Chef Ludo Lefebvre, recently featured as the melt-down king of pig's ears quesadillas on Top Chef Masters. Please do not hold that against him, different people work well in different kinds of situations, and in his own kitchen Ludo's food shines. He has a very loyal following of bloggers and food eaters in Los Angeles, and it can be hard to get a reservation right now at Breadbar. From his website Ludo says that the goal is to, "create a new 'bistronomy' cuisine that features Michelin style French cuisine with modern technique offered at affordable prices". The plan is to offer a "restaurant within a restaurant" by coming in to do temporary dinner service in restaurants that only typically offer breakfast and lunch. Genius in concept, one of my favorite recent restaurant experiences in execution.
Food. Wonderful food. All the food is small or moderately small plates intended to share. D has come along way during this heavy blogging year. He is now not only willing to eat oysters, but often requests them, and he is also now open to sharing small plates. Yay. We started by sharing the White Asparagus Veloute with Mozzarella Ice Cream, Shaved Fennel, Dried Olives and Lemon Zest. Starting off on the right foot, this was elegant and innovative.
Look at this pic carefully and you can see the differences in the two soft textures. On the outside the soup is, well, thick and soupy and the ice cream remains just barely frozen in the middle. The temperatures mixed interestingly, the soup being served at a fairly ambient temperature, and the ice cream just barely cold enough to be able to discern the differences in texture and flavor. Flavor from the dried olives was very intense, keeping the asparagus and mozzarella flavors from being too mild.
D was entranced by the Poached Egg 65 Degrees with Savory French Toast, Black Truffles and Parmesan-Onions. He claims this is the consistency to which soft boiled eggs are cooked at every Jewish deli on the planet, then served less fancifully over rye toast. He even challenged me to a culinary tour of the great Jewish delis in LA, comparing and contrasting soft boiled eggs on toast moving from the Westside to the Eastside.
I counter challenged him that they could not be this delicious without the black truffle and whatever those two delicious sauces are on the bottom of the plate. I wish I snapped a pic of the egg broken open. The yolk was that perfect bright orange with a luxurious almost pate-like texture. Spreadable, and not the slightest bit runny. Good thing the bus person came along when he did, because I was about embarrass my easily embarrassed husband by licking the plate. I swear.
Above is the Cod with Spiced Butter, Fresh Porcinis & Almonds served Tonnato style. This was the only meh of the evening. The ingredients all look and sound wonderful together, the quality was good and the freshness and texture beautiful together. But the flavors were flat. There was nothing popping on this dish. Next.
Next was good, very good. Creamy Polenta, Cantal Cheese and Oxtail Meat.
While fairly well buried in the delicious and not overly rich polenta, the oxtail meat was generously portioned. Basically it was just barely surrounded by polenta. I might make this at home with the leftovers the next time I make oxtails. Because I rarely cook, it takes true inspiration to get me in the kitchen. If I want to riff on something a chef does, that is the highest compliment I can give.
Surprisingly, D was less inspired by the Heirloom Tomato Salad, with Red Onions, Feta Mousse and Oregano. He said, this isn't that original or unique. My thought was this is the perfect spin on a classic summertime heirloom salad, with the feta mousse. Not much needs to be done to a Greek style tomato salad to improve upon perfection. He wisely agreed. It was acidic marvelousness balanced by the creaminess of the cheesy mousse.
Strangely, we ended with the Chicken Liver Mousse with Cornichons and Green Apples. Strange because it's really an hors d'ouevres. It was super good though, the sweet green apple surprising against the sour of the pickle and the richness of the liver.
We had a really wonderful meal, with great service. Really great, comfy personal service. Nothing pretentious or ever the least bit formal. I love this kind of service, like these people could be your next door neighbors or someone you sat next to having drinks at your favorite bar. I definitely plan to go back before August 22nd. And after August 22nd, I will follow wherever Ludo's food leads.
And we took a stinky cab home.