While I was waiting to pick up my dining companion from his loft in downtown, he had picked up a bottle of cabernet for us to enjoy during our dinner. It was easy to drink and I won't lie, got me a buzz going before our food arrived.
marinated king salmon, German butterball potato, red wine vinaigrette, creme fraiche
Our first course was the salmon and I was glad to see that it was a different take on the salmon dish I had during my first visit. I loved red wine vinaigrette and red onions with the salmon - great balance of flavors. My favorite part of the dish, not surprisingly, was the butterball potato. The creamy and cool creme fraiche with the potato was divine.
scallop, spinach, yogurt-curry, spring garlic, violet flowers
Even though you cannot see the scallop underneath the yogurt-curry sauce and froth, they had a lovely brown sear. It was cooked absolutely perfectly. I did enjoy the saltiness from the froth and the hint of spicy notes from the garlic. Although I did enjoy the bitterness from the spinach, I was looking for another component to fully round out the dish - perhaps some added citrus?
seabream ceviche, heirloom tomatoes, jalapenos, meyer lemon paste, cilantro flower
What I was searching for in the previous dish was not only present in the next dish, but played a main role in making the ceviche one of my favorites of the night. The citrus from the lemon paste was front and center, but allowed the delicate flavor of the seabream to come through. The sweetness from the tomatoes balanced out the citrus while the jalapenos gave a mild spicy finish. Delicious.
black foie gras croque-monsieur, cherry-amaretto chutney
Ah - sweet croque monsieur, we meet again... A happy reunion for me, but a first time experience for my dining companion. And it was love at first bite for him. The sweet chutney was key in balancing out the luscious richness of the foie gras. This dish is so famous and delicious, I even took a picture of it with my Blackberry and set it as my wall paper! (I showed this to Chef Ludo and Krissy at Taste of the Nation and they were both very amused).
crispy soft shell crab cone, mango, red spicy mayo, corona granite
After hearing so much about the crab cone, this was one of my must-get items for this visit. And all the amazing reviews did not disappoint! It was amazing and easily my favorite dish of the night! There was nice heat from the spicy mayo, but did not overpower the crab flavor. The corona granite served as a cooling effect for the spicy mayo and as a contrast in texture from the crunchy cone. Absolutely delicious!
rack of lamb (roasted in its own fat), goat cheese, artichoke, potato mousseline, mint
Our last savory course was the rack of lamb that was roasted in its own fat. The lamb was tender and cooked on the rare side. The saltiness of the goat cheese tempered the distinct lamb flavor - great flavor combination. I also adored the artichokes made to look like little chops and loved the creamy, heavenly potato mousseline that I had seen in my first visit sans the lobster.
dark chocolate souffle, vanilla whipped cream, hot chocolate cream
Another repeat from my last visit, but this version was without the black pepper ice cream that was too spicy and peppery for my liking last time. Instead, it was served with vanilla whipped cream and hot chocolate cream.The souffle was fluffy and just as amazing as before. The vanilla and chocolate cream, both, were not overly sweet and delicious.
My second visit for Ludobites 4.0 was bittersweet. I was glad that my second visit was towards the end of their stay at Gram & Papa's so I could experience the change in the menu, but was sad that I could not come back for a third or fourth or fifth time. I will be constantly re-living both my meals until the next Ludobites installment. I cannot wait for Ludobites 5.0 in July!
Ludobites 4.0 @ Gram & Papa's
227 E 9th St
Los Angeles, CA 90015