Favorites From LudoBites 4.0

White Asparagus Velouté, Mozzarella Mousse, Fennel, Candied Olive, Salmon Roe ($14)

Oh look. It’s the obligatory LudoBites 4.0 post on e*starLA. Like it’s really an LA food blog without it, you say. Well, you’re right. So while I’m at it, I’ll also remind everybody that 1) It’s completely booked, but also: 2) There are always cancellations. Follow Krissy Lefebvre (@frenchchefwife) for notice of these cancellations. And after you score that reservation, remember to BYOB it. A great wine shop to consult for your purchase is Domaine LA (@domainela), where Jill recommended a lovely ’08 Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir that got rave reviews from my tablemates. Also check out the recommended wine list for LudoBites diners.

Scallop, Almond Puree, Pickled Grapes, Capers, Curry Oil & Cauliflower Ice Cream ($14)

Last night was another Ludo fried chicken night at Akasha which doubled as a viewing party for Ludo’s return to Top Chef Masters. It was buffet-style and some lucky diners got to take home the leftovers. I was not so diligent in securing some for myself, I’m sad to say. But it was so fun to see how our favorite social media-entwined chef got “cast” as the crazy Frenchman in reality TV land, getting 100% subtitled and well, playing the part quite expertly. The party attendees sat and watched the episode intently, while smug that we got to experience Ludo’s drama – live and in the flesh.

But back to LudoBites: My camarades and I tasted the entire menu, but today is not the day for the forever-scrolling blog post. So on with the favorites from the LudoBites 4.0 menu as we knew it (Ludo regularly changes and evolves his menu):

I love all the daring contrasts in flavors that Ludo features in his dishes, especially when it comes to soup. I’m sorry, I meant velouté. Why yes certainly, it is velvety, which is such a perfect background for when the salmon roe delivers a sort of salt shock. And the candied olive is actually sweet, yes. The fennel gave the dish its center texture and had good flavor. It blew my mind – because it’s not every day where you are treated to food that requires that you think. Ahh…Ludobites is back.

Burgundy Escargots, Garlic Flan, Green Jus, Violet Flowers ($12)

I also loved the Red Snapper Ceviche – a dish I couldn’t figure if more flavorful or refreshing. Jalapenos and red onions gave it a proper kick while tomatoes were an effective cooling agent. I snuck an extra helping of this one onto my plate. The scallop dish was an adventure of sorts, combining the perfectly seared bivalves (with that perfect ring on the outside) with almond puree and cauliflower ice cream. There were many little nuances from all over the place, especially when you also combined them with the pickled grapes and curry oil. The bite, however, wasn’t complete until you included a little of the caper paste smeared onto the plate. And after that was done, I found myself going back to the cauliflower ice cream – just to make sure it really was cauliflower that I tasted in the creamy – yet quickly melting – cold scoop. There were super-thin slices of raw cauliflower on top of each scallop which together were drizzled in a slightly spicy curry oil.

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