LudoBites 3.0, redux

When asked to set up a dinner at LudoBites, I happened to be out of town and not at a computer. But I was able to secure reservations through the magic of Twitter. Thank you again, Krissy!

Just a few short weeks ago, I was at LudoBites the second night it opened. You can read about that great meal here.

Joining me on this adventure were Matt of Artisinal Ice, Anisha from Food is my Nish and Amanda of InnocentAmanda.

I was very excited to see how the menu would evolve by the time I showed up last night. A few things were similar; the scallops, squid, foie gras beignet, the cheese tart and chocolate mousse. Last night’s menu had 14 items versus the 12 items I tried two weeks ago.

We ordered it all, of course.

Starting with the tuna and sushi rice ice cream.

tuna, sushi rice ice cream, soy sauce gelee, smoked ginger oil

Absolutely wonderful and a great starter. I loved the symphony of flavors from the good fish, the creamy sushi rice ice cream, the salty soy and the explosive ginger. I have read that Ludo brought this back from his Bastide days and I’m very glad he did. $16

Nantucket scallop, pineapple, brown butter, black bread powder

I will always love this dish. The simplicity of great scallops paired with the refreshing zing of pineapple and the unexpected crunch of the black powder is all so very wonderful.$14

caramelized endive, orange, grapefruit, gingerbread croutons

I’m used to eating endive raw in salad so to have it cooked was very different and cool. I thought the citrus in it was the perfect winter accompaniment to this veggie. Plus the gingerbread “croutons” added another textural element.$10

celery soup, black truffle, parmesan

I was sad to see the bread soup didn’t make it to the end of the run. I had heard it was already changed by the next night. The celery soup although rich wasn’t overly heavy. $15

crispy confit pork belly, burnt eggplant puree, plantain, coconut Thai chili emulsion

It has been fascinating to me how the pork belly has evolved. On opening night, it was a sandwich. The night I went, there three pieces. By the time I tried it last night, it was one big piece with the puree. In any case, I love pork belly and will take it in any of its forms. I thought the emulsion was lovely. $16

Monterey squid, chorizo oil, kimchi puree, black olives

Of all the dishes I tried the first time around, I wasn’t in love with the squid. I am happy to report, I loved last night’s squid. The chorizo oil was very apparently and I thought the olives added another layer of flavor. It’s definitely a fave of the night.

egg "Meurette," red cabbage, lardo toast

There were four of us and three toast points. What to do? Ask for another! Which they gave us very speedily. Yep, that’s lard on toast which we ate with the gently poached egg. Decadent. I loved the sour contrast of the tart red cabbage.

foie gras beignet, saffron-dried apricots

At this point, I was getting full, sad and a bit excited. I was sad because we were half-way through all the courses and excited because I wanted to see how the foie gras beignet was hot. Last time, I had to suffer through multiple shots of the beignet before I delivered it to my greedy maw.

Oh, it’s awesome. And I thought the almost candy-like apricot syrup worked better than the “creamy celery remoulade” from days ago (though I still love that slaw).

striped bass teriyaki, mashed potatoes, pickled garlic, lemon-miso

My favorite thing from my first time at this version of LudoBites was the striped bass. I was only slightly sad I didn’t see any baby brussel sprouts in this dish but was excited to try the pickled garlic. Those mashed potatoes balanced out the salty miso and the teriyaki sauce. Ah, good mashed potatoes! And the fish? Delicious. $24

fried chicken, cantal polenta, baby corn, mole

I took a couple of different shots of the fried chicken but this one was my favorite even though you can barely see the baby corn peeping out. But that’s not what’s important, right? It’s the fried chicken!

I’ve been hearing all sorts of things about this chicken. How it’s fried in a delicious fat and not oil so it’s more flavorful. How if there’s pork belly on the menu, there’s no chicken. Well, guess what, there’s both last night! I was very happy. The mole was a nice contrast to the chicken and Ludo cannot go wrong with that polenta. $19

duck breast, carrot cake coulis orange blossom, crispy lard

Over the weeks, the one thing I’ve been very excited about was the return of the duck breast with the carrot cake coulis. I absolutely adored this dish from when I went to LudoBites 2.0 at BreadBar over the summer.

My memory was well-served. This dish is fantastic. When I was a kid, I loved Peking duck with the sweet and sour sauce. This by far surpasses any Peking duck I’ve ever had. Of course, I haven’t been to Peking (Beijing) so until then, I’m content with stating this.

As for the lard, yeah, I ate it though I try as much as possible to avoid saturated fats (hello, I just ate fried chicken). One has to indulge every now and then. $28

Fourme d'Ambert Tourte, red pear, honey-balsamic

Still wonderful. Perfection. No need to make any changes. $12

guacamole, exotic fruits, ginger ice cream

Guac? As dessert? Sure thing! This was a very refreshing dessert. It was interesting to note that last night’s menu didn’t have any beef or lamb as this menu seemed almost more Asian-esque in keeping in theme of the Royal/T theme. This dessert, I felt was very Asian. After all, I love avocado milkshakes at Vietnamese restaurants and to me, this could almost be sered at a pho joint.

Almost.

The dessert was $12.

jalapeno chocolate mousse, orange, extra virgin olive oil

Same great mouse as I’ve had before but I like the olive oil and orange better as sidekicks. They really played up the flavor of the mousse.

Last night was a fun and wild ride of culinary flavors. Thanks again, Chef Ludo! As I told Krissy, I will use the light box at LudoBites 4.0 where she mentioned it might be on a rolling cart!

I would like to think my photography skills have gotten better in the two short weeks since I wrote my first post but I’m sure the pics would have been better in the light box though.

We also got two bottles of wine which bumped our spendage a bit but I consider this a very Merry Christmas to myself.

And a Happy New Year!

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