Monthly Archives: August 2009

Chef Ludo to “Pop-up” in Culver City in October?

From the “Where’s Chef Ludo” desk, The Provender is hearing that Ludo Bites may be back as early as October in “pop-up” form in Culver City. This would be followed by the previously reported permanant home in the old Rita Flora space, which would open in December. Sounds ambitious…and delicious.

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Ludo Close To New Restaurant Spot

The Provender is hearing that Top Chef Master Ludo Lefebvre is close to taking over the Rita Flora space at the corner of 6th and La Brea. Keep your fingers crossed that Ludo and Apprentice-wife Krissy can keep serving their Michelin quality So. Cal. French at downtown prices, but in a non “pop-up” spot.

Ludo Bites “pop-ups” michelin style french cuisine without the stuffyness

Where’s a respectable foodie to take his newly ‘ringed’ fiance? A fine, romantic, french restaurant you say? Well this is Los Angeles, where The Rainbow still rocks and the Hollywood Hills roll all the way down to the Malibu surf. Why get dressed up when you can have the same meal dressed down?

Ludo Lefebvre is the Axl Rose of traditional French cuisine. His resume is a who’s who of chefs and restaurants: Marc Meneau, Pierre Gagnaire, Alain Passard, Guy Martin, L’Orangerie, and Bastide.

With Ludo Bites, Ludo reinvents himself and the fine dining experience. A ‘pop-up’ restaurant, currently located in the BreadBar location on Third Street (here) and open only for dinner (when BreadBar is closed), Ludo Bites is affordable Michelin style french cuisine, with a hip, casual attitude.

If you don’t make it over to Ludo Bites before its current incarnation closes on August 22, 2009, be sure to look out for whenever it ‘pops-up’ in a new location sometime soon.

With the best corkage fee in town ($5), we BYO'd a french style Pinot Noir, the 2003 Domaine Alfred Califa from the Chamisal Vineyard, Edna Valley, Central Coast California

With the best corkage fee in town ($5), we BYO'd a french style Pinot Noir, the 2003 Domaine Alfred Califa from the Chamisal Vineyard, Edna Valley, Central Coast California

The Fois Gras Black Croque-Monsieur with Ham, Cherry and Amaretto is creamy, rich and delicious.  The perfectly grilled bread gets its color from squid ink.

The Fois Gras Black Croque-Monsieur with Ham, Cherry and Amaretto is creamy, rich and delicious. The perfectly grilled bread gets its color from squid ink.

A new style greek salad comes together with Marinated Heirloom Tomato, Feta Mousse, Red Onion and Olives.  The creamy, sorbet-like feta mousse balances the sharpness of the olives.

A new style greek salad comes together with Marinated Heirloom Tomato, Feta Mousse, Red Onion and Olives. The creamy, sorbet-like feta mousse balances the sharpness of the olives.

The baked escargot with herb butter, spinach and curry-yogurt is one of the more interesting versions of the classic french dish.  Don't forget the garlicky crouton at the bottom of the dish; it balances the spinach beautifully.

The baked escargot with herb butter, spinach and curry-yogurt is one of the more interesting versions of the classic french dish. Don't forget the garlicky crouton at the bottom of the dish; it balances the spinach beautifully.

Grilled Duck Breast with Leeks Salad, Ginger, Capers and Black Truffle is a contrast in extremes.  The perfectly cooked duck shines in black truffle, but can get easily overpowered by the one-two acidic punch of the leeks and ginger.

Grilled Duck Breast with Leeks Salad, Ginger, Capers and Black Truffle is a contrast in extremes. The perfectly cooked duck shines in black truffle, but can get easily overpowered by the one-two acidic punch of the leeks and ginger.

Beef Tenderloin and Smoked Eggplant with Goat Cheese, Shallots, Chive Flower and Radish is Chef Ludo at his finest.  The beef, a perfect medium rare, explodes with char-grilled flavors, only enhanced by the smokeyness of the eggplant.  The goat cheese and carmelized shallots combine to taste like a fully loaded backed potato without the potato.  This is definately one of LA's best beef dishes.

Beef Tenderloin and Smoked Eggplant with Goat Cheese, Shallots, Chive Flower and Radish is Chef Ludo at his finest. The beef, a perfect medium rare, explodes with char-grilled flavors, only enhanced by the smokeyness of the eggplant. The goat cheese and carmelized shallots combine to taste like a fully loaded backed potato without the potato. This is definately one of LA's best beef dishes.

Creme Fraiche Panna Cotta with Caramel and Caviar is perfectly executed contrast in flavors; the soft, creamy panna cotta is enveloped by the sweet, smooth caramel and then taken to an entirely new level by the salty, burst in your mouth caviar.

Creme Fraiche Panna Cotta with Caramel and Caviar is perfectly executed contrast in flavors; the soft, creamy panna cotta is enveloped by the sweet, smooth caramel and then taken to an entirely new level by the salty, burst in your mouth caviar.

The Chocolate Cup Cake with Fois Gras Chantilly, Candied Bacon-Almonds and Maple Syrup is a meal unto itself.  Rich, savory, smokey and sweet all at once, this dessert is not for beginners.

The Chocolate Cup Cake with Fois Gras Chantilly, Candied Bacon-Almonds and Maple Syrup is a meal unto itself. Rich, savory, smokey and sweet all at once, this dessert is not for beginners.

Hirozen Gourmet – a local sushi joint that is anything but ordinary

Hirozen Gourmet is a perfect example of why you can only find the best sushi in the U.S. in Los Angeles. Located in a mini-mall on an average corner of Beverly Blvd. (here, actually), Hiroji Obayashi’s 20 year old restaurant puts out consistently excellent food with a creative and colorful flair. I have enjoyed the delights of Hirozen many times and have never had anything but a great meal.

Obayashisan’s philosophy is “food is for the human relation,” meaning that a meal is the connective tissue of society around which one creates a gathering of people to share their lives with one another. His food expresses his philosophy in the way it surprises without demanding center stage, delights without showing off and sublimely satiates without overpowering. In a city of many options for outstanding sushi, Hirozen Gourmet enters its third decade still standing out from the crowd.

Cucumber sunomono - sliced cucumbers, seaweed and shoots in rice vinegar with lemon; a light, refreshing start to any sushi meal

Cucumber sunomono - sliced cucumbers, seaweed and shoots in rice vinegar with lemon; a light, refreshing start to any sushi meal

L-R: Tai - japanese snapper with sea salt and mint; Loup de Mer w/ yuzu-kosho and sea salt; Dorado - French Snapper w/ sea salt

L-R: Tai - japanese snapper with sea salt and mint; Loup de Mer w/ yuzu-kosho and sea salt; Dorade - French Snapper w/ sea salt

L-R: Blue Fine Tuna with soy sauce and wasabi; Hirame with ponzu and green onion

L-R: Blue Fine Tuna with soy sauce and wasabi; Hirame with ponzu and green onion

L-R: Tasmanian Sea Trout with ponzu and scallion; Aji - spanish mackerel with fresh ginger and scallion; White Salmon with scallion; the best trio of the meal, 3 smokey, creamy delicious pieces of fish

L-R: Tasmanian Sea Trout with ponzu and scallion; Aji - spanish mackerel with fresh ginger and scallion; White Salmon with scallion; the best trio of the meal, 3 smokey, creamy delicious pieces of fish

Albacore Clear Roll - albacore, avocado, mango, cumcumber in clear rice paper

Albacore Clear Roll - albacore, avocado, mango, cucumber in clear rice paper

Another highlight, the Wagyu - grilled sake-kasu japanese beef - was perfectly cooked tender, and delicately seasoned sweet and salty

Another highlight, the Wagyu - grilled sake-kasu japanese beef - was perfectly cooked tender, and delicately seasoned sweet and salty

L-R: Kampachi - amberjack (or baby yellowtail) with yuzu-kosho; Mirugai- jumbo clam with mint; Yari-Ika - fresh squid with ginger; a return to light and citrus flavours

L-R: Kampachi - amberjack (or baby yellowtail) with yuzu-kosho; Mirugai- jumbo clam with mint; Yari-Ika - fresh squid with ginger; a return to light and citrus flavours

L-R: Spicy grilled yellow tail with scallion; Uni - Santa Barbara Sea Urchin; Unagi - fresh water eel with eel sauce; finishing the meal with a tour of flavors, from rich to briney sea to a savory, sweet, grilled dessert

L-R: Spicy grilled yellow tail with scallion; Uni - Santa Barbara Sea Urchin; Unagi - fresh water eel with eel sauce; finishing the meal with a tour of flavors, from rich to briney sea to a savory, sweet, grilled dessert