Last Friday, me and a bunch of my blogger friends, converged on Gram & Papas in downtown L.A. for Chef Ludo Lefebvre’s fourth pop-up restaurant, Ludo Bites 4.0, which runs til May 28 but is all booked up. Anyhoo, if you don’t have Twitter, read L.A. food blogs or own a TV, Chef Ludo is a Top Chef Masters contestant and the tres beau, tatted-up French chef behind a very successful pop-up restaurant in Los Angeles.
Suffice it to say, where Ludo pops up, so do his blogging fans. And on this night it was me, Lindsay and Sam of LAist, Diana Takes a Bite, estarLA and Sarah (KCRW), who isn’t a blogger but we love her anyway. Hee!
Since we’re all foodies and couldn’t make up our minds of what to get what with our varying preference and certain food aversions (I try to avoid red meat), we settled on ordering every single item from Ludo’s menu. A perfect way to appease everyone and get a taste of everything.
Naturally there were many items that I wish we didn’t have to share like the creamy white asparagus veloute, rich ham soup, seared foie gras pina colada and the two desserts but at least, should I get an opportunity to go again, I’ll know what I’ll order for myself.
Here’s the menu (listed in order of appearance ), which changes but you can click here for the updated one. All are pictured except the baguette with honey-lavender butter, which is basically bread and incredibly yummy butter. Heh. (I want to have my own tub of that butter to use in all my meals.)
By the way, sorry for the photos. Diana was kind enough to supply some light for some of the photos but it just doesn’t compare to the lightbox, which Ludo’s wife, Krissy, said they didn’t have room for at this pop-up space.
<dd class='wp-caption-text gallery-caption' id='gallery-2-121288'> Red Snapper Tomato Ceviche </dd>
<dd class='wp-caption-text gallery-caption' id='gallery-2-121289'> Carrot Salad </dd>
<dd class='wp-caption-text gallery-caption' id='gallery-2-121290'> Brie Chantilly Napoleon </dd>
<dd class='wp-caption-text gallery-caption' id='gallery-2-121291'> White Asparagus Veloute </dd>
<dd class='wp-caption-text gallery-caption' id='gallery-2-121281'> Scallop </dd>
<dd class='wp-caption-text gallery-caption' id='gallery-2-121282'> Burgundy Escargots </dd>
<dd class='wp-caption-text gallery-caption' id='gallery-2-121292'> Seared Foie Gras Pina Colada </dd>
<dd class='wp-caption-text gallery-caption' id='gallery-2-121283'> Pork Cheek Terrine </dd>
<dd class='wp-caption-text gallery-caption' id='gallery-2-121293'> Ham Soup </dd>
<dd class='wp-caption-text gallery-caption' id='gallery-2-121294'> Squid Carbonara </dd>
<dd class='wp-caption-text gallery-caption' id='gallery-2-121295'> Steak au Poivre </dd>
<dd class='wp-caption-text gallery-caption' id='gallery-2-121284'> Monkfish </dd>
<dd class='wp-caption-text gallery-caption' id='gallery-2-121285'> Rack of Lamb </dd>
<dd class='wp-caption-text gallery-caption' id='gallery-2-121287'> Dark Chocolate Souffle </dd>
<dd class='wp-caption-text gallery-caption' id='gallery-2-121286'> Strawberry Chantilly </dd>
- Red Snapper Tomato Ceviche, jalapenos, red onions and Meyer lemons ($14)
- Carrot Salad, saffron anglaise cream, pearl onions, citrus, confit, mustard oil ($10)
- Brie Chantilly Napoleon, honey comb, frisee salad, balsamic ($7)
- White Asparagus Veloute, mozzarella mousse, fennel, candied olive, salmon roe ($14)
- Scallop, almond puree, pickled grapes, capers, curry oil and cauliflower ice cream ($14)
- Burgundy Escargots, garlic flan, green jus, violets ($12)
- Seared Foie Gras Pina Colada ($29)
- Pork Cheek Terrine, German butter ball potato, smoked mayo and apples ($12)
- Ham Soup, bread, Swiss cheese, radish, cornichon, Guinness ($12)
- Squid Carbonara, pancetta, poached egg (63 degrees), parmesan snow, sage ($18)
- Steak au Poivre, shallots, polenta bone marrow, roasted eggplant puree ($27)
- Monkfish, jardiniere de legumes, vadouvan ($24)
- Rack of Lamb, fresh goat cheese, smoked eel, artichokes, potato mousseline, mint ($26)
- Dark Chocolate Souffle, vanilla black pepper ice cream, chocolate cream ($13)
- Strawberry Chantilly ($12)
I love Ludo’s reimagining of food, like the cauliflower ice cream, pina colada foie gras, polenta bone marrow, brie chantilly napoleon and potato mousseline, or what Krissy called, “butter with potato.” All were deliciously executed. I didn’t get to eat nearly as much as my dining companions since I avoided the steak and only took eeny bites of the lamb (which Lindsay was in love with) and the escargot which almost changed my mind about its snailness since it was so tasty. But I was still stuffed and quickly slipping into a food coma by the time we polished off the dark chocolate mousse.
Regarding wine, since it’s BYOB here, estarLA picked up a bottle for us from Domaine LA on Melrose Avenue. The 2008 J. Wilkes Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir was a very smooth vino with hints of orange zest, cardamom and cherries. Unfortunately, it was the last bottle in the store but Jill, owner of Domaine LA, has created a virtual list of wine suggestions just perfect for dinner at Ludo’s.