Ludo is back!!!!! I can’t begin to express how much I miss our meals at Bastide with Ludo.
This is what I originally wrote:
There is no way that I can do justice to the many, many meals we had at Bastide with Ludo Lefebvre. It was a sorry day when he left Bastide and even more a bigger shame when he left Los Angeles to open a restaurant in Las Vegas. I loved our meals at Bastide. Ludo’s creativity was incredible, but it was not innovative cuisine just for shock value. Instead his food was all about the layering of flavors and textures. I said after one of my meals at Bastide that Ludo’s food was very masculine. It was assertive; there was nothing prissy or overwrought about Ludo’s cuisine.
As a tribute to Ludo, here is just a fraction of some of the dishes we were fortunate to experience at Bastide.
Well LudoBites is not Bastide, but Ludo is still Ludo and the creativity remains as strong as ever.
Ludo – still cute
Krissy – his wonderful, hard-working and also adorable wife.
Painting on the far wall
I asked why the Rooster is Ludo’s symbol. In typical French fashion, Ludo repsonded he likes roosters, they are very French and they are a proud bird. Enough said!
BYO Krug Champagne
The bread was delicious, but the house-made butter was wondrous – an incredible combination of butter, honey and lavender. If Ludo wants to make a fortune just sell the butter.
Cherry Gaspacho, Spanish Blue Cheese,Toasted Chopped Hazelnuts, Borage, Castelas Olive Oil – The gaspacho is a true gaspacho soup made with bread, onion, olive oil etc. How to describe this taste? It was fresh, light, summery with an incredible layering of flavors.
King Red Salmon Cube, Salmon Eggs, Watermelon Cube, Basil Chiffonade, Orange Confites, Smoked Vinegar and Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil – The salmon had been marinated with smoked vinegar, obviously created by Ludo. We were instructed to eat the salmon first and then immediately chase that with the watermelon. In good sushi bar form, I deep-sixed the fork and popped the salmon in my mouth and then immediately the watermelon. Again, this is what Ludo is justly famous for – flavor and textural combinations. What a super four bite dish.
Shrimps, Daikon, Sweet and Sour Emulsion, Rosemary, Lemon Zest – The shrimp was the bottom layer, then topped with a thin daikon slice. The sweet sour emulsion was sherry vinegar, honey and grapeseed oil. Again, this was another all in one bite dish. There are just no words to describe how good this was – perfect aptly describes this dish.
Poached egg 65 degrees, Bread Toast, Sauce Mornay, Crispy Bacon Bits
The egg is done in a circulator at 65 degrees for at least 2 hours, but will hold for 6 hours — 65 degrees because the yolk coagulates at 68 degrees and the white at 62. The egg is a cross between a poached egg and a very soft boiled egg.
Another view – again what is not to like – toast, egg, bacon, Mornay sauce
Holland White Asparagus Veloute, Parmesan Marshmallow, Shaved Fennel, Lemon Zests – the greatness of this dish was the contrasting textures – the slippery fennel “noodles”, the light as air parmesan marshmallows, the smooth, luxurious asparagus veloute
Another view of the veloute
Beef Tartar, White Holland Asparagus, Shallots, Peanuts, Anchovy – I was getting very full and next time I go to LudoBites (yes, there will be a next time) we will order one for 2 for each course – There are times when you question why Ludo pairs one ingredient with another – anchovy, beef, asparagus???? It works. Why? I don’t know and that is why Ludo is THE chef. My only negative on this dish is that I wish there was more of a binder with the tartar – maybe egg yolk, worchestshire???
BYO Red Wine
Not pictured – John gets a F for photo taking on this one. - Miso Soup, Foie Gras, Rhubarb, Hibiscus, Turnips, Beets and on the side of the dish lemon paste. The foie gras had been simmered in the miso soup for 2 minutes and in Ludo’s culinary vocabulary the foie replaces tofu. Again, disparate elements that somehow work both in a culinary sense and a textural sense.
French Cod, Spicy Butter, French Porcini Mushrooms, Fresh Almonds, Tonnato style – I like to think of this dish as Ludo gives a nod to Italy – sort of a culinary French/Italian bonding. The cod was perfectly cooked with just the right amount of “kick.” The tonnato sauce was superb and I wish I had some right at this minute. Wonderful mushrooms and crunchy almonds (not even close to the stuff in the market) and you have a creative, masterful dish.
Crispy Veal Sweetbread, Foie Gras, Asian Pear, Imaginary Charcroute (actually sauerkraut gelee- upper right corner), Mustard – My notes say A++ Again, the flavor combinations and textural contrasts were remarkable. Ludo could package that gelee and make his second fortune after the butter.
Krissy is a gracious host, Ludo is a remarkable, talented chef and I urge everyone to try LudoBites. What an experience.