Saturday, August 15, 2009

Things to Love at Ludobites

Ludobites at Breadbar
8718 West 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048
310 205 0124
Through August 22, 2009

Last week I hit Ludobites for the third time this summer. For the third time in 6 weeks, no less. His food is not only that good, it is that fun. Inventive, ever changing, playful.

One thing to notice about the menu at Ludobites is how different it is with every visit. Not 100% different. But tweaks seem to be made to each dish, I notice, when I have had one repeatedly.

The assumption is that some tweaks are made with respect to available ingredients. However, my palate and tummy happily noted that some tweaks seem to happen in order to better perfect a dish. One such example is the croque-monsieur. My last tasting of this sandwich found the croque overcooked on the outside and undercooked on the inside. This time was juuuuust right.

Croque-Monsieur on Squid Ink Bread (baked for Ludo by Breadbar, not for sale), Foie Gras, Ham, Cherry Amaretto (cherry Amaretto jam schmear on the plate for dipping, sweet insanity).

Inside, the gooey melted fromage, the hearty chunk of foie, warmed ham...this is close to obscene. Mormons would pale. Last time this was not my favorite dish, this time it might be my favorite dish anywhere, ever. D had seconds, and that is saying something when discussing fancy-pants food.

Another surprising and happy tweak for the better was the plating of the duck, shown above. Grilled Duck Breast, Leek Salad, Ginger, Capers, Black Truffle. Ludo did away with the Orange Flower on the dish that last time seemed to beat me over the head insistently like a robber with a baseball bat accosting a Beverly Hills socialite for her 5 carat emerald cut and her LV Speedy. This visit, the dish was subtle, the flavors competing more equally. Truffle standing up to ginger and capers, with the fat serving as flavor delivery vehicle for meat and sauce. Perfection.

Now, when I toss around the adjective "inventive", let me qualify. Below: Spaghetti Carbonara, Santa Barbara Prawn, Sage. Carbonara is a dish to be adored and comforted by. This dish was ignored during previous visits because there are so many things to adore on the menu. This visit was organized by Danny of King Food Panda and partially funded by Will of FoodDigger . Because my experience was already in the hands of two capable eaters, I simply ate & drank what appeared in front of me, and what appeared in front of me toward the end of the entrees was the spaghetti carbonara.

The richness of the egg, cheese and pork was tempered beautifully in this dish by the spaghetti itself, which in this rendition was made from celeriac. Celeriac is a root veg harvested more often for its hypocotyl than for its stems and leaves. It has a taste somewhat reminiscent of celery. The hypocotyl, or root bulb, is often pureed for sauces or soups, or added to baked dishes such as casseroles or gratins. Here, Ludo actually uses the upper stem portion which can be separated into long, thin, strawlike (or spaghetti-like) segments. Extremely well disguised in this dish, H.C. of LA and OC Foodventures, began to decline due to the stereotypical richness of the dish. When informed that the dish was veg based, lightening up the flavors and textures nicely, well, let's just say H.C. nommed. This type of tweak is a perfect manifestation of playful.

Taking up both communal tables, out party of 14 sampled nearly everything on the menu. Several plates of each dessert arrived one after another. Above, please see the Peach, Curry, Mascarpone, Verbena. I hearts stone fruits, and Ludo has a beautiful, light way with cremes, foams, anything dairy with a whipped consistency. The mascarpone in this was a weightless ballerina dancing in my mouth, and the curry was surprisingly subtle.

Chocolate Cupcake,

Candied Bacon Almonds, Maple Syrup,

Foie Gras Chantilly.

The end.


Kung Food Panda said...

Glad you had fun and enjoyed the sandwich better then 2nd time around! Hopefully next time we'll sit in the same vicinity! Have a great weekend!

Food GPS said...

Good rundown of your latest experience. I hadn't been to LudoBites since opening night, but returned yesterday for a meal that was really similar to yours. I really enjoyed seeing all the progress Ludo's made in only three months. The foie gras croque monsieur was pretty much ideal. Best sandwich in L.A.? The duck was also expertly cooked, and I was a big fan of the crunchy leek salad and ginger sauce. The "spaghetti" carbonara was another outstanding dish, and Ludo's foie gras cupcake was equally good. Hopefully Ludo gets his own place so LudoBites lives beyond August 22.

kevinEats said...

What do you mean by "partially funded by Will of FoodDigger?" Was this a FD event?

Food, she thought. said...

Thanks KFP! Next time, we will have to sit more strategically.

FGPS: Cannot wait til Ludo & Co reopen elsewhere.

Kev: This was not a FoodDigger dinner, however it was mentioned to me that Will subsidized the bill. But everyone chipped in cash & fermented beverages.

FoodDigger said...

Hi Lizzie. It was so good to finally meet you. It was a great pleasure to dine with you and your charming husband.

Definitely not an FD event, but when the booze flows, my wallet tends to open up.

Be well and see you soon


Linden said...

Was D the guy who ordered two croques in 15 mins and was considering a 3rd that Ludo tweeted about? ;p

Don't think I'll make it back for our third visit this summer but join us for dinner when he re-opens?

Food, she thought. said...

Linden...consider a visit to the next Ludocation on, please bring A.

Right Way to Eat said...

It's not a FD event, but there is a "Will's Appreciation Happy Hour" next door at Barefoot. LOL

Great to meet you again at LudoBites Food, She Thought! You're absolutely right, I think Ludo did do the plate differently every single time I went there. I'm glad he's always trying out new dishes.