If Chef Ludo had a rap game, he'd have this track and it'd go "Allow me to reintroduce myself my name is L Oh, U to the D O."
Ludobites 3.0, in which the cock attacks.
Since there will be at least 30+ blogs about this place, what's one more to toss in the heap? When you think about it, isn't that really the marketing genius behind Ludobites?
I did not plan on going to Ludobites until 12/10 (and this had more to do with my slow thinking brain when the reservations opened up), but as luck would have it, Hanh from Hungry Hungry Hanh happened to have a reservation on opening night and was gracious enough to invite me as her backup +1. If it wasn't for her date canceling, I'd be at home watching Top Chef. On top of that, a friend wanted to grab dinner Thursday night, and Krissy, the famous FrenchChefWife, was kind enough to accommodate us for an early reservation Thursday. So two doses of Ludobites within a 24 hour period? Why not?
Ludobites 3.0 is a full frontal attack on your senses. Folks with ADD, you've been forewarned. To start, the 20 yard walk from the door to the check in brings you by a set of visually intriguing exhibits.
As you get closer, the hip hop music adds a second layer of stimulation. Gone are the days of David Guetta's "F**k Me, I'm Famous," replaced by the lyrical prowess of Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and others. This is good, because the plexiglass and high ceilings combined with David Guetta's style would've been just a bit too much aural stimulation.
The trick to not being overwhelmed by it all is to get an early reservation (assuming you can somehow bribe Krissy and still get one.) Otherwise, you'll be in the hot and heavy throes of maids, art, food art, hip hop, large vibrant parties, a lightbox, foodbloggers and...Ludo. The menage a trois of Ludobites, Royal/T Cafe, and In Bed Together should not be taken lightly.
Ready to get laid?
The fun really begins once you take a seat.
The soundtrack for your mouth
The challenge to enjoying LB3.0 (Ludobites, not Lebron James' 3rd season) is in trying not to compare it to LB2.0. LB2.0's menu felt more whimsical, but that was due to Chef Ludo's tweets each morning, which gave a lot of insight into the mind of a chef as he took a concept and idea and turned it into a dish each day. There is not as much transperancy with LB3.0, but that does not detract from the creativity of the LB3.0 menu. The menu has benefited from the ethnic culinary excursions Ludo has had a chance to experience in Los Angeles since LB2.0.
Chef Ludo on acid
Enough talk from me, onto the food.
Scallop, brown butter, pineapple and black powder
You could say this was prepared ceviche style. What was the black powder? Squid ink.
Bread soup, poached egg, gruyere marshmallow
Where is the bread? I'll let you figure that one out.
Monterey squid, chorizo oil, kimchi puree and red onions
The squid was perfectly cooked and the oils and purees made this an explosion of flavor in your mouth. The kimchi puree appealed to the pseudo-korean in me.
We interrupt this post to take pictures
Veal, udon, kombu dashi, mushrooms and sesame seed miso
Maybe it has to do with the colder weather, but this was my favorite. If only they could serve this in a giant ramen bowl. Ludo always seems to include a comfort food dish on his menu and this was it. I'd put it in the same category as the oxtail polenta from LB2.0. I'd love to have one of each after a long day of work.
Foie gras beignet and yellow celery roots remoulade
If it's Ludobites, there will be foie gras somewhere. Great execution and balance between the rich foie gras, the sweet beignet, and the celery. Talk about having too much foie gras in a two week period (two beignets and the foie gras terrine from Bouchon will be the death of me.)
Confit pork belly, pickles mustard tartine and frisee
It's hard to dislike pork belly and this one doesn't disappoint. This was like an open faced pork belly sandwich and reminded me of Mendocino Farm's popular kurobuta pork belly banh mi sandiwch. The knife was unfortunately not up to the challenge of carving up the bread.
On day two, the bread was magically gone, replaced by vadouvan apples. Which one is better, that's subjective. And honestly, I didn't even know there was anything else on the plate until the pork belly was gone.
Wild striped bass, garden vegetables and yuzu aioli
On opening night, the top of the bass was slightly undercooked. On day two, this dish was perfect. One thing about this dish, it is visually stunning. Food art, or more appropriately...food porn.
This was the artwork displayed next to our table. Stimulation everywhere.
Now let's get back to the food.
Marinated hanger steak, crunchy escargot, baby corn, bok choy and black olive mole
Hanger steak is not my favorite cut of meat, but the temperature for this was perfect and made it a great steak. The mole, which Chef Ludo learned from Teenage Glutster's mom, was a good pairing for the dish. It would be nice to understand Chef Ludo's vision as to how everything comes together on this dish.
Fourme d' ambert tourte, red pear and honey-balsamic
I can't read or speak French, but I figured this was some kind of cheese tart. Flaky and mellow, it was a good transition to dessert.
This is something you will constantly see, Krissy working her magic around the room.
Now, onto dessert.
Pistachio rice milk & pound cake
Remember the lightbox I mentioned? I'm still too new to photography to feel comfortable using it, but i did take this dish into it to see what could happen. Looks good to me, although it makes the dish look a little...sterile? I think I'll survive with the dishes staying in their natural, unrestrained habitat.
Chocolate cake, coconut sorbet soup and pink pepper meringue
With my recent coconut froyo kick, it was a good thing this was a small portion. I could probably inhale a few bowls without thinking twice, which led me to this idea: coconut + chocolate froyo at yogurtland. I guess that will be an acceptable substitute for this dessert. On day two, the pink pepper meringue was replaced with banana rum lime.
One thing to keep in mind with Ludobites is that the menu IS constantly evolving, so by the time I go back on the 10th, there will probably be a completely new menu and accordingly, a whole new review.
Domaine LA coupon
When the check arrived, we received another surprise, a 10% off coupon to Domaine LA!
Chef Ludo really challenges your senses. LB3.0 in partnership with Royal/T and In Bed Together makes this an over the top experience. Whether or not you like Ludobites upon leaving, you won't forget about it. And when you sit down and think back through all of meals you've forgotten about in your life, that's not such a bad thing.
And with that, completes our journey of Ludobites 3.0.
Ludobites at the Royal/T Cafe (showing on select dates)
8910 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232