I have been a huge fan of Ludo’s cuisine and was a very frequent diner at Bastide. I was distressed when he left LA to go to Vegas and thrilled when he returned to LA to introduce his newest concept — the pop-up restaurant – one type of restaurant by day and then Ludo arrives when they close to “open” his restaurant at night. The latest reincarnation at Gram and Papa’s is probably the best – the kitchen is not make-shift and the BOH can actually function in this space. How Ludo manages to produce such exquisite food in a pop-up restaurant is a feat in of itself. For those of you who have a restaurant or worked in a restaurant when prep often starts at 8 am for the evening meal, you will understand the incredible passion, dedication and just hard work that Ludo, with Krissy at his side, produce. Amazing is a huge understatement.
Gram and Papa’s Room
The Open Kitchen
I had read every blogger’s notes on Ludo Bites 4.0 at Gram and Papa’s. I spent hours trying to devise a sensible tasting menu. With Krissy’s and Ludo’s editing of my efforts, I must say we were very successful.
I had adored Ludo’s soft shell crab cone at Bastide. There was no question that I had to have this. In retrospect, we could have ordered just one as this was a maxi version of Bastide’s version. All other dishes were one for two.
Crispy Soft Shell Crab Cone, Mango, Red Spicy Mayo, Corona Granite – the corona granite was an essential component as this definitely had a spicy kick to it.
Krissy explained that an entire soft shell was used in each cone.
Cone broken open
No photo – Tartine plate “Warm baguette” Honey-Lavender Butter and Smoked Lard – John indulged – I didn’t – I wanted to save my appetite.
Marinated King Salmon, German ButterBall Potato, Red Wine Vinaigrette, Creme Fraiche – this was in a word a Michelin 3 star dish – absolutely perfect
White Asparagus Veloute, Mozzarella Mousse, Candied Olive, Fennel Shavings, Salmon Eggs, Foie Gras Powder – this was served cold and the foie gras powder was a new addition to the veloute – the pop of the salmon eggs, the crunch of the powder, the slight licorice taste of the fennel and the smooth veloute made for another perfect blend of taste and texture.
BYO White Wine
Seabream Ceviche, Heirloom Tomato, Jalapenos, Meyer Lemon Paste, Cilantro Flower- As with all Ludo dishes no ingredient is on the plate for show – the Meyer lemon paste was a crucial element of this dish.
Santa Barbara Prawn, Frozen Avocado and a Cocktail Sauce made with Ketchup, Tabasco and Cognac – Who needs a knife and fork? Just pick up the prawns by their tails, dip in the great sauce and Voila.
“Paris’ Ham Soup, Bread, Swiss Cheese, Radish, Cornichon, Guiness – Krissy explained that the inspiration for this dish came from the Ham and Gruyere Sandwich that you can get in every little shop in Paris. I have had the sandwich in Paris and yes the soup brought back lovely taste memories.
BYO Red Wine
John, the photographer, forgot to take a picture of the next dish which was a true tour de force.
Foie Gras, Green Cabbage, Kimchi Consomme, Pickled Turnips, Sesame Oil – I wish you could have seen this. The foie was wrapped in cabbage and was melt in your mouth perfect. The kimchi was subtle, but gave the perfect balance to the dish. We were very full and knew we had more dishes to come. We ate every bite of the foie.
Squid “Carbonnara”. Pancetta, Poached Egg (63 degrees), Parmesan Snow, Chive Flowers – I was going to skip this dish as I was getting full. Neither Krissy nor Ludo would even contemplate that decision. I am so glad they didn’t listen to me. I didn’t eat as much as I wanted to, but it was superb.
Rack of Lamb (roasted in its own fat), Goat Cheese, Artichoke, Mint – For those bloggers who say the lamb is too rare just let it be my thought that this is how lamb should be served. Again the combination of ingredients in particular the goat cheese and lamb was extraordinary.
Served with the lamb potato mousseline – I have a feeling this was Robuchon’s take on potatoes – a pound of potatoes and a pound of butter
BYO Dessert Wine
We just couldn’t do dessert and used the wine as our “sweet.”
Brie Chantilly, Honey Comb, Frisee Salad, Balsamic – this was our final course and again I didn’t do it justice – delicious yes.
Ludo 4.0 is a restaurant — pop-up maybe, wonderful food absolutely. This is not a place to order one dish for 4 or 6 people. You miss the essence of Ludo’s cuisine where every element is essential on the plate. You can absolutely order one for two as Ludo can and will accommodate that kind of plating. What a fun evening with serious BOH (Ludo) and dedicated FOH (Krissy).