Food as Art: Ludobites 6.0

Restaurant: Ludobites 6.0 [1, 2]

Location: 13355 Ventura Blvd Sherman Oaks, CA 91423.

Date: Nov 02, 2010

Cuisine: Eclectic Modern

Rating: Excellent, but a tad intellectual.


Chef Ludovic Lefebvre has been doing this series of “mobile” or “popup” restaurants that appear for 1-2 month stretches in the space of another place. He brings very rapid experimentation to the forefront. While not as polished or perfected as a place like Calima, this is a very creative and tasty avant garde establishment. Oh, and did I mention how hard it is to get a table. I and another foodie friend were spamming the reservation site as they became available for 6.0 and we barely snagged our Tuesday 6:30pm table for six. We’re glad we did.

A Ludo signature COQtail, “Yuzu Tequila Martini.”

Tonight’s menu. We had everything!

I brought the wines from my celar as usual. The 2005 Comte Armand Pommard Clos des Epeneaux. Parker gives it 94-96 points and says, “The 2005 Pommard Clos des Epeneaux was still in three lots segregated by age and location of vines when I tasted – each fascinatingly delicious in itself, and the concentration of the old vines portion in itself almost too severe. Fascinating dark berry, carnal and mineral notes mingle in the nose. Low-tone sirloin meatiness, black cherry, cassis, faintly bitter black chocolate, and toasted hickory inform a glycerin-rich, polished, yet firmly structured palate. Notes of licorice, horehound, and mineral salts add complexity to a finish of palate-staining intensity and grip. This superb Pommard should require 5-7 years of cellaring and reward considerably more.”

This Ludobites has a wine list now, small but good. But I prefer my own cellar. Corkage was a reasonable $15.

“Warm Baguette, Baratte smoked butter, Sardine-Laughing Cow Cheese.” The bread was fantastic. The sardine spread reminded me of good whitefish salad.

Sea Urchin Roe, Frozen milk, balsamic, orange broth, black rice.” This had a very novel texture, and tasted like… well Uni (sea urchin).

“Oriental Mussels Veloute, Heirloom Tomato, Small Fries.” The fries were to die for, like fresh potato sticks. The mussel veloute was silky smooth, creamy, and delicious. Somewhere between a french cream soup and a very soft Thai green curry.

“Marinated Mackerel, Leche del tigre, baby leeks, verdolagas leaves.” This was a great dish too. The mackerel had a pleasant fishiness to it, but the prep was a bit like a Nobu miso glaze.

Hamachi, Vietnamese style.” This was my favorite savory dish. The hamachi was nice, but the topping was like some great Vietnamese salad, with spice, interesting texture, and a refreshing citrus note.

“Barely cooked squid noodles, pad Thai, prawn, black radish.” This was weird, but good. Not for the timid eater because of the textures of the raw fish, but I liked it.

“Scallop, Celery Root Remoulade, red port, walnuts, passion fruit.” Tasty. I liked the salid bit (slightly Waldorf slaw-like) best, but I prefer my scallops raw.

“Poached-roasted Foie Gras, Acacia Honey, Autumn fruits, rose flowers.” This was damn yummy. The fruit was one thing, but the pink stuff is some kind of reduced rosewater, and it went great with the Fois, lending it a middle eastern note.

“Salmon ‘a l’huile’ Somen Noodles, carrots, red wine vinaigrette, grilled salmon roe.” This was a really good dish. The salmon was raw sashimi, and the roe like Ikura. The noodles lent it a nice slippery coolness.

John Dory, potato, herbs, brocollini flowers, green jalapenos nage.” There was nothing wrong with this dish. The fish was succulent and perfectly cooked, but it just wasn’t as exciting as some of the others.
The 2001 Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape. I’ve long been a fan of this Chateau, even going so far as to visit last year. Then I got to split a free bottle of the 2007 Chateau Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape Hommage A Jacques Perrin (100+ pts). But tonight’s wine Parker gives it a mere 95 and says, “Beaucastel has been on a terrific qualitative roll over the last four vintages, and the 2001 Chateauneuf du Pape (which Francois Perrin feels is similar to the 1990, although I don’t see that as of yet) is a 15,000-case blend of 30% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah, 10% Counoise, and the balance split among the other permitted varietals of the appellation. This inky/ruby/purple-colored cuvee offers a classic Beaucastel bouquet of new saddle leather, cigar smoke, roasted herbs, black truffles, underbrush, and blackberry as well as cherry fruit. It is a superb, earthy expression of this Mourvedre-dominated cuvee. Full-bodied and powerful, it will undoubtedly close down over the next several years, not to re-emerge for 7-8 years. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2025.”
“Half chicken, poached egg, chanterelles, chorizo.” Tasty and rich, but I was starting to fill up.
“Marinated korean steak, crispy kimchi, bone marrow.” The steak was very rare. Not as good as a great cut at a top Korean BBQ place, but good. The marrow added a nice richness. Starting to get very full.
Onto desert. The “Cold chocolate soup, peanut butter, marshmallow, long pepper chantilly.” This was damn good. The texture and peanut notes of the marshmallow really added.
“Warm carrot cake, coconut, Thai curry, mango sorbet, kaffir lime.” It was weird, but good. The overall flavor profile was like a Thai red curry. The mango sorbet, refreshing as it looked, was actually fairly spicy. The icing stuff tasted like butter icing. Inside the ramekin is Kaffir lime oil. The savory quality of this desert reminded of my first Ludo meal, at Bastide, where I ordered the “Chocolate spaghetti al carbonara,” a desert that actually had pancetta and raw egg cracked over chocolate noodles with a scoop of parmesan ice cream!
Overall the meal was very very good, although a tad intellectual. A few dishes felt like they were trying too hard without totally paying off. Still, it’s a rare restaurant this creative.