Ludo Bites 5.0 at Gram & Papa’s – Los Angeles (Downtown)

Ludo Bites 5.0 at Gram & Papa's - Downtown

I was one of the poor saps that Open Table kicked out of its reservation system while trying to snag a table to the sixth iteration of Ludo Bites. Since it doesn’t look like I’ll be experiencing Chef Ludo Lefebvre‘s latest and greatest creations over at MAX anytime soon, I will have to take comfort in reminiscing about Ludo Bites 5.0 instead. Consider this a trip down memory lane through the strongest and tastiest Ludo Bites to date…

Ludo Bites 5.0 at Gram & Papa's - Downtown

Truth be told, I failed to score a table to 5.0 as well. The Astronomer and I luckily snatched up a canceled reservation via @FrenchChefWife, who tweets about such matters daily during every Ludo Bites run. We arrived a little before 9 PM and were seated soon after. Our table offered an unbeatable view of the open kitchen. With an animated chef like Ludo manning the stoves, a front row seat is a must.

Ludo Bites 5.0 at Gram & Papa's - Downtown

Our first course was a vadouvan naan bread with salted coconut butter ($4). No one can touch Ludo when it comes to elevating butter to the next level. He deserves an honorary Ph.D in buttery infusions.

Ludo Bites 5.0 at Gram & Papa's - Downtown

Next to arrive was a cheese cupcake with chicken liver chantilly, tangerine, and cornichon ($14). Mark my words, savory cupcakes are the new black.

Ludo Bites 5.0 at Gram & Papa's - Downtown

The third dish consisted of chilled somen noodles topped with raw waygu beef, dried miso, watermelon, mint, and peanut vinaigrette ($17). This was quite possibly my favorite course of the evening, because raw beef makes me swoon and noodles are my weakness.

Ludo Bites 5.0 at Gram & Papa's - Downtown

Our fourth course was grilled octopus with oregano, burnt red pepper polenta, pineapple aioli, and piment d’espellette gelee ($19). The Astronomer and I hadn’t tasted octopus this tender and meaty since our meal at Standard Tap in Philadelphia sometime in 2007. I was especially impressed by the thoughtful, innovative, and unexpected accouterments.

Ludo Bites 5.0 at Gram & Papa's - Downtown

The fifth course was a poached egg hidden beneath chorizo and an impossibly smooth potato mousseline ($16). This dish is the epitome of the Ludo Bites experience—luxurious texture, over-the-top richness, and beautiful presentation.

Ludo Bites 5.0 at Gram & Papa's - Downtown

For our final savory course, we chose the confit pork belly with a Thai-style choucroute and mustard ice cream ($25). The crisp, clean, and fish sauce-doused slaw complemented the tender hunk of pork charmingly. The mustard ice cream made me smile.

Ludo Bites 5.0 at Gram & Papa's - Downtown

To cap off our flawless meal, a piping hot caramel souffle with preserved grapefruit and fleur de sel ice cream ($14). I loved the contrast between hot and cold, sweet, salty, and bitter. Ludo killed it with this one.

Here’s to hoping that a few of the lucky bastards who scored a table to 6.0 are forced to stay late at work or can’t find a sitter. I want your seat badly.

Ludo Bites 6.0 at Gram & Papa’s
227 East 9th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Phone: 213-624-7272

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