Excuse the Ludo Bites count down but I just adore the food there and the fact that you can b.y.o.b. with no corkage. The combination of excellent food and no corkage is rare. So I returned this week, the last week of the event, with a few more friends.
We started off the night by popping off the cork on a shiraz and going to work on the bread basket with Echire butter. Our large cheese plate was served up shortly after featuring these pairings:
Epoisse (Cow) – honeycomb
Mimmolette (Cow) – pink grapefruit confit
Petit Basque (Sheep) – date puree and sea salt
Morbier (Cow) – toasted hazlenut paste, licorice
Le Cornilly (Goat) – spiced Prune
The moment I saw pork belly rilette on the menu I knew I had to get it. It was a hundred time better than the pork rillette I made recently. Well Chef Ludo is a professional not to mention French. Of course it’s better! I have a lot of work to do between working up to this rillette and AOC’s rillette.
My friend Tash and I have an affinity for veloutes. The texture is so refined, creamy and smooth. Unless I’ve had these veloutes I don’t think I could have imagined soup this smooth and velvety. First off we tried the Celery roots veloute, black truffle, parmesan. I’m not a fan of celery or celeriac but this soup balance the flavors really well. The creaminess and butteriness of the veloute muted awfully strong flavor of celery and its root that I usually despise.
Next up we had the White rice veloute, egg mollet, white truffle. This soup’s been on the menu for a while and rightly so because it’s pretty amazing. Once again that spectacularly smooth texture but this time upgraded with a plump boiled egg, cooked perfectly so whites are just done but yolks are just so slightly runny, and a light shaving of white truffle. I think there was a drizzle of olive oil too although it doesn’t look as green. I don’t think it’s truffle oil because why the hell would anyone add truffle oil to a dish with expensive ass white truffles?
I love scallops so I couldn’t pass up on the Sauteed scallop, curried yogurt, spinach dish. I loved this dish. The combination of the curry and yogurt was great and I always love scallops. This was an easy pleaser, nothing much to dispute. Simple flavors put together in a palate pleasing way. A bowl of this, crusty bread and a glass of white would make a great comfort food dinner.
Next up was Short ribs, potato-pear dauphinois gratin, blue cheese sabayon. I heart short ribs in every shape and form. This was super tender and juicy. Shortrib is a cut that’s super flavorful to start off with so I appreciated the simple pairing with blue cheese sabayon (it’s green though probably from an herb) and the potato gratin. What can one have against potato gratin? It’s just tasty and simple. This one is layered with pear though. A clever match I thought with the butteriness in the dish.
Lastly we had Monkfish scampi, red cabbage, red beets and blood orange. The monkfish “fritters” as I called them were so tender and juicy. The batter was light, not overshadowing the mild flavor of the fish. This was the most tender monkfish I’ve ever had. It was a good match with the braised red cabbage and mustard. I skipped on the beets – not my favorite thing in the world.
We were too full to get dessert but dinner was very enjoyable. Tomorrow is the last Ludo Bites ever! Wish I made one last reservations for the chef’s tasting menu.. Anyone would be kind as to add me to their reservation?
Here is my friend Han Nah sitting next to our friendly neighboring diners. Behind them are Ludo’s paintings on the walls. How the hell does he find time to make art?! They are for sale if you are interested.