Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ludobites 5.0 - A Lookback Before The Start Of Ludobites 6.0 (Los Angeles)

Ludobites 5.0

Ludobites 5.0

Yes, the time has come, the start of Ludobites 6.0. Why am I posting 5.0 you might ask? It's as simple as the fact I'm back logged and figured it's good time as any to come out of hibernation. Similar to 2.0 at Breadbar, 3.0 at Royal T, and 4.0 at Gram & Papa's, Ludobites 5.0 did not disappoint. Since we had a party of 6, there was no easier choice than to run the "gamut," aka run the whole menu.

Vadouvan Naan Bread with Salted Coconut Butter

Vadouvan Naan Bread with Salted Coconut Butter

Warm naan bread (probably the only thing I like about Indian food) and coconut butter. What could beat that combination?

Cheese Cupcake

Cheese Cupcake - Foie Gras-Chicken Liver & Chantilly, Tangerine, Cornichon

The cheese cupcake reminded me of Chef Ludo's famous foie gras cupcake from Ludobites 2.0, but this version was slightly lighter and I enjoyed the tangerine that complemented the cupcake. Delicious!

Lightly Smoked Grilled Squid

Lightly Smoked Grilled Squid - Cold White Bean Cream, Candied Olives, Prosciutto Chips, Meyer Lemon

Beautifully presented, and one of my favorite dishes of the night. The squid was cooked to perfection and the white bean cream added a nice flavor contrast to the dish. Very nice!

Poached Egg

Poached Egg - Potato Mousseline, Chorizo Condiment

This was one dish I was waiting for from my 2nd Ludobites 4.0 dinner, the potato mousseline I had that accompanied the lamb dish was utterly heavenly. I'll admit, I do prefer that version more than the this version with the poached egg and chorizo, but it's still delicious. I do have to say, the richness of the previous version of the mousseline did not need the chorizo. Simple is actually better in this case!

Goat Cheese SoupGoat Cheese Soup

Goat Cheese Soup - Bacon, Lardo, Tofu, Green Apple, Frisee Salad

I enjoyed the presentation and the complex of flavors here, but sadly, it wasn't one of my favorites of the night. For me, the cheese was a bit strong, but I'm usually not too keen on strong cheese courses, so it's more of a personal preference.

Raw Waygu Beef

Raw Waygu Beef - Dried Miso, Somen Noodle, Peanut Vinaigrette, Watermelon

The wagyu beef tartare was easily my favorite dish of the night. The flavors of the peanut, dried miso, watermelon meshed so well with the beef I wish I had the whole bowl to myself. I hope this is a dish I'll see again in 6.0. It's easily in the top 3 dishes that I had at Ludobites.

Grilled Octopus

Grilled Octopus - Oregano, Grilled Hazelnut Polenta, Pineapple Aioli, Piment D'Espellette Gelee

I enjoyed the charred exterior of the octopus, but the octopus itself was quite tender. Grilling the polenta was also a nice touch that I enjoyed.

Heirloom Tomato Smoothie

Heirloom Tomato Smoothie - Ice Dashi, Squid Ink Vodka-Gelee, Seaweed

The tomato smoothie was definitely a nice idea for the warm summer nights we had. I especially liked the color contrast of the squid ink vodka gelee that added to this dish.

Hot Foie Gras Dynamite

Hot Foie Gras Dynamite - Tuna, Lychee, Crackers

This was probably the richest dish of the night, but I liked the use of the tuna here, as it's definitely not something I would have expected to be included in a dynamite dish. Also, the addition of the lychee helped cut down the rich flavors of the dish.

Steamed Duck Lemon Verbena

Steamed Duck Lemon Verbena - Crispy Skin Puree, White Peach, Radish & Balsamic

A dish I wasn't sure if I'd like was the steamed duck. I'm a big fan of duck and had it cooked various methods, but steamed wasn't one of them. I especially loved the crispy skin puree that was layered on top of the steamed duck. A definite winner!

Confit Pork Belly

Confit Pork Belly - Raw Choucroute Thai Style, Mustard Ice Cream

It's hard to go wrong with pork belly these days, and this was a good rendition of it. I liked the mustard ice cream served that went along the pork belly. The raw vegetables added a nice texture to the dish as well.

Wild Striped Bass

Wild Striped Bass - Grilled Yellow Corn Mexican Style, Salted Butter Powder, Fresh Wasabi Salsa

Here we have a well cooked piece of fish served in a pseudo Mexican elote style presentation. Instead of the cotija cheese, it was actually salted butter powder. I enjoyed the dish and the presentation quite a bit.

Matcha Green Tea Almond Cake

Matcha Green Tea Almond Cake - Red berries, Mascarpone mousse

I was looking forward to this ever since I saw it on the menu prior to my visit. The matcha green tea almond cake was simply MONEY (in the words of Guy Fieri)!

Campfire Smoked S'mores

Campfire Smoked S'mores - Guacomole sorbet

If the previous dessert dish was money, this simply was far from it. I'm not sure what caused it, but the combination of the chocolate and the avocado resulted in a slight bitter after taste. Overall, I'd probably like each component of this dessert separate, instead of being used together as one dessert.

Caramel Souffle

Caramel Souffle - blanco grapefruit, fleur de sel ice cream

Thankfully, we closed out the meal with probably the best souffle I've had in a LONG time. The caramel souffle was light and delicious. I love the accompanied grapefruit and ice cream. Simply, a wonderful dessert I wished I had the whole thing to myself.

All in all, Ludobites 5.0 was a success, which of course lead to the mad house on Ludobite 6.0's reservation day. Although I'm not one of the lucky ones that snagged up a reservation, I hope to attend one of those upcoming dinners. Good luck Krissy and Ludo, I'm sure it'll be a knockout success!

Ludobites 6.0 will be held at Max
13355 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

The above dinner was at Ludobites 5.0 @ Gram & Papa's