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.
Candied Bacon Almonds, Maple Syrup,
Foie Gras Chantilly.