TCA: What did Chef Ludo (Ludo Bites America) serve TV critics?

By Barb Oates

The creator of L.A.’s legendary pop-up restaurant LudoBites – Ludo Lefebrve, known as a renegade five-star French chef, treated critics to an exclusive pop up dinner at Mel’s Drive-In last night. The diner was closed to the public when shuttle buses transporting TV critics descended on the West Hollywood locale. Ludo never left the kitchen serving up a delightful five-course meal you’d never be able to dream up. He did take a two-minute break to thank his wife Krissy and plug his show Ludo Bites America, which airs on Sundance Channel Tuesdays at 9pm ET/PT. Where network execs were quick to note, that viewers should stay tune to his upcoming Aug. 9 episode (listed below), which  involves the killing of a buffalo and Ludo taking a bite from a beating heart? What?!  (Uh, thanks Sundance, we were just about to eat…).

So, seriously, what did I really eat last night?
Here’s what our five-course dinner consisted of – translations included:

Amuse Bouche – Grilled carpaccio (thin slices of raw meat) of lamb, green tomato chutney, feta and socca cake (cakes made with chick-pea flour that are commonly sold as street-food in the south of France; and a honey grilled summer fig with a blue cheese mousse on a hazelnut croustade. Il est magnifique! (I hopes that’s the French translation for it was magnificent)

First course (pictured) – Ceviche (raw seafood), cucumber water  and purslane (I guess some type of nutritious weed). Daring for me,  an unusual but delish combo. Good weed.

Second course (pictured) – Red beet gazpacho (a Spanish style soup) and goal cheese sorbet. A brilliant, chilling combination! So now a beet fan!

Entrée – marinated hanger steak, shallots, kale, red chile kimchi (a traditional fermented Korean dish with veggies and spices) butter. Loved it!!

Dessert – smoked vanilla bean bacon crème brulee and lavender bloom. The most familiar, but absolutely delicious.

Ludo’s pop up menus have allowed him and Krissy to travel the States free of the confines of owning a single restaurant. Once word gets out on his upcoming arrival at a local restaurant, restaurants are booked in less than 2 minutes. His series gives you a first-hand look as Ludo and Krissy as they scout locations, hire staff, experiment with local flavors and open a restaurant inside of an existing restaurant – all in one week.

Upcoming episodes of Ludo Bites America include:

Mobile (Tues., Aug. 2 at 9pm)
Ludo and Krissy team up with Carolyn Mathers of local lunch spot, Queen G’s Café, to put a high-end spin on Southern comfort food. They battle with missing ingredients, an inexperienced staff and a small kitchen.

Denver (Tues., Aug. 9 at 9pm)
This is the episode Sundance Channel execs warn us on. Ludo and Krissy head to Krissy’s hometown on the hunt for the ultimate Rocky Mountain dining experience. They partner with Denver’s king of street vendors, Jim Pittenger of Biker Jim’s Gourmet Hot Dogs.

Redondo Beach (Tues., Aug. 16 at 9pm)
Here the duo fuse Mexican food with the Pacific enlisting the kitchen of Redondo Beach mainstay, Casa Pulido.  This was their largest seating ever.

Raleigh (Tues., Aug. 23 at 9pm)
Described as the ultimate pig-out, Ludo and Krissy rewrite the recipe for a Carolina barbecue using every part of the pig.  Here they create a one-night stand of their pop-up restaurant, LudoBites.

One More Bite  (Tues, Aug. 30 at 9pm )
The season wraps up with an episode featuring some favorite and some never seen before moments from Ludo and Krissy’s culinary road trip.