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