A Night at Ludobites
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I had been waiting all week to try Ludobites at Breadbar (a special BYOB small plates event by Chef Ludovic LeFebvre sponsored by The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills). Upon arriving, I was pleasantly suprised that the place was already 1/3 full, despite being only 7pm on a Friday. The space is small and cozy with long rectangular tables inside meant for sharing and small tables outside in the patio area. (bonus - they have hooks under the stools so you can stow away your purse - every bar/restaurant should have this!) Service was friendly and lovely - I was immediately escorted to a table where another group was already enjoying their meal so I couldn't help but ogle their choices. Breadbar doesn't have a liquor license so you have to bring your own wine - on this day I brought one of my favorites - a Qupe Syrah - and started enjoying it while waiting for my dinner companion to arrive.
Finally my friend arrived (yeah!) - and thus began the feasting! We had the following:
Heirloom Tomato Salad with Feta Mousse and Olives - one of my favorites! Chef Ludo told us that he handpicks the tomatoes at farmer markets, and indeed, they were amazingly plump, juicy and flavorful. I don't think I've had better tomatoes all year! Each bite was a burst of fresh flavors and the combination was amazing and perfectly balanced! Sweet, juicy, salty ... I'm not even sure how to describe it to give it full justice, but I highly recommend this particular dish.
Pork Belly with Mango (?) Salsa - this was good but didn't really blow my mind. Perhaps I've had too much pork belly in my life and have become too picky.
Black Croque Monsieur - essentially a grilled cheese on black bread (squid ink) with serrano ham and foie gras. Sounds decadent and was quite delectable - but at $26, it was a bit on the expensive side and a bit small. Both my friend and I thought it would have been better if the foie gras was served on the side so you can truly appreciate its flavor.
Cheese plate - I can't really remember what cheeses we had (Nos. 19 and 21) - I really liked the first one - a sharp, tangy hard cheese. Delish with the pummeled dates that were served alongside it, and the bread basket with echire butter.
Prosciutto - buttery, soft tender slices of salty goodness!
Dungeness Crab & Calamari - very refreshing, light and sweet - like a little mound of seafood goodness atop a bed of creamy froth.
Chocolate Mousse - dark chocolate with a shot of jalapenos and paprika (?) - there's quite a kick to this - perfect with a full bodied red wine.
The entire evening was lovely - sharing good food and wine with dear friends and meeting new ones. Our server Erica was great - friendly, sweet and attentive. Chef Ludo is quite charming and down-to-earth and seemed quite taken with my friend and kept stopping by and dropping off freebies. (We later found out he is married ... ) When another friend joined us, they provided us a cheese plate even though the kitchen was already closed.