Friday, December 18, 2009

LudoBites 3.0 at Royal/T (In Bed Together) - Culver City

Since I had such a great time when Gourmet Pigs took me to Ado Ristorante - Venice for my birthday, I wanted to take her out for a nice dinner for hers. As luck would have it, LudoBites 3.0 at Royal/T was extended for several weeks and I managed to snag a reservation. While LudoBites is really quite a bit more than I would spend on a meal, I was very curious about this pop-up restaurant that had been hyped so much, especially the way Ludo Lefebvre, who was on "Top Chef: Masters Seasons 1 and 2" in case you didn't know, is reported to combine unusual ingredients. Since reservations are nearly impossible to get, I didn't want to pass it up.

LudoBites 3.0 at Royal T (In Bed Together) - Culver City 1

I experienced literally two bites of Ludo's food at Hello Kitty's 35th Birthday celebration in collaboration with the "In Bed Together" exhibit that would replace it, so this was all new to me.

Notice the French maid costumes that all the waitresses at Royal/T wear.

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Royal/T has rotating art exhibits.

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This painting was directly over our table. It's not called "In Bed Together" for nothing!

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We started off with Tuna Sashimi, Sushi Rice Ice Cream, Soy Sauce Gelee, and Smoked Ginger Oil, $16. The tuna sashimi was good, but nothing unusual. It was the sushi rice ice cream that was unexpected and so refreshing.

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Foie Gras Beignet, Saffron-Dried Apricots, $17.

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The beignet was lovely and warm, a perfect foil to the cool creaminess of the foie gras.

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Braised Veal, Udon, Caramelized Onions, Kombu Dashi, Enoki Mushrooms, $16. Tasted like what I could get in a Japanese restaurant. While delicious, nothing out of the ordinary for me.

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Brittany Cod Teriyaki, Mashed Potatoes, Pickled Garlic, Lemon-Miso, $24. This was my least-favorite dish. Considering that it was also the most expensive dish we ordered, I expected more than what I could essentially do at home for considerably less money.

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Since the plates were much smaller than I expected, I was still feeling peckish and suggested ordering another savory dish before we moved to dessert. The Crispy Confit Pork Belly, Burnt Eggplant Puree, Plantain, Coconut Thai Chili Emulsion, $16, saved the night. The coconut foam was so fun. The burnt eggplant puree added a nice smokiness to the sweetness of the foam.

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For dessert, we ordered both options. Fourme d'Ambert Tourte, Red Pear, Honey-Balsamic, $12. So basically a cheese tart.

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Guacamole, Exotic Fruits, Ginger Ice Cream, $12. Yummy and refreshing. The ginger ice cream was my favorite part.

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Royal/T mints to end the meal.

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Ludo's wife, Kristy, she of "The Apprentice: Season 6" fame, set up a lights and a photo-taking area for bloggers. Obviously, you can tell I didn't use it. Sure I take photos when I'm dining out, but I don't want my blogging to interfere with the experience. Taking my plate to the photobooth to take pictures before bringing it back to the table definitely would have changed the tenor of the meal. While I know GP would understand the hassle, blogging to me wasn't about taking the best pictures of this meal, as much as it was about being able to experience it.

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Kristy is really the mastermind behind the promotion and social media management of Ludo. Since I don't have cable or watch "Top Chef," most celebrity chefs are out of my radar. But all summer, as one blogger after another attended the previous LudoBites, that's when I heard about and was interested in it.

I also mentioned that it was GP's birthday, so Kristy nicely brought out a cupcake and a candle.

Some hits and some misses with our meal. Definitely some unusual flavors and combinations so I'm glad I got to try it and taste all the hype. The check though? Ouch! It wasn't as expensive as I feared, but definitely more than double what I normally spend on nice dinners.

The LudoBites pop-up restaurants vary from one location to another, so your best bet is to check Chef Ludo Lefebvre's website for more information. Good luck booking a reservation though!

*****
1 year ago today, begonias.
2 years ago today, Latkes (Jewish Potato Pancakes).
3 years ago today, Salt and Pepper Lemon Baked Chicken and I began laying out my Sushi and Dim Sum Quilt.

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