I wasn’t lucky enough to score reservations to LudoBites 7.0, coming up Aug. 3 to Sept. 10 at Gram & Papas in downtown Los Angeles. Nor will I be able to watch the “Ludo Bites America” reality television show, which started July 19 on the Sundance Channel, since Kenley and I opted for the Internet over cable.
So when I saw that the LudoTruck (@LudoTruck) would be at Westside Food Truck Central on Monday night, I made sure not to miss it.
Kenley was excited, too, since he had read a lot about chef Ludo Lefebvre when he edited the Culinary Institute of America’s newsletter for SmartBrief.
Lefebvre started the “pop-up” restaurant trend in Los Angeles in 2007. He recently told Food Republic in a two-part interview that he prefers the term “touring restaurant.” So his touring restaurant, Ludo Bites, pops up and takes over the kitchen of a host restaurant for a limited run. He’s taken the Ludo Bites concept on tour with the “Ludo Bites America” television show.
Reservations for the upcoming Ludo Bites in Los Angeles reportedly sold out in less than a minute.
Earlier Ludo Bites were reviewed by Los Angeles Weekly’s award-winning food writer Jonathan Gold, and by New York Times restaurant critic Sam Sifton. TIME Magazine called Ludo the chef of the future in March 2010.
The Ludo Truck features three fried-chicken items: the provencal pepitte, honey-glazed garlic wings and chicken strips. A tag line on the Ludo Truck website declares: “This ain’t yo mama’s fried chicken,” and the truck itself is affectionately nicknamed the “Red Coq.”
I had the provencal pepitte, a dish made of thigh meat molded into balls, infused with rosemary and herbs de provence, and fried.
It was a similar concept to the croquetas de pollo (or chicken and béchamel fritters) that we tried at Jose Andres’ The Bazaar. (Remember, they were served in a tennis shoe. You can read about that meal in my earlier post here.)
The provencal pepitte meal was rich and full of flavor. Kenley said he preferred them over the chicken strips, which he ordered, although those had a nice flavor as well. Both chicken dishes can be ordered with a side of freshly made slaw, seasoned fries and — the best part — honey-lavender biscuits!
Check out Ludo’s television show when it stops in Raleigh, N.C., for Lefebvre’s take on barbecue. There will reportedly be a Ludo Bites America cookbook coming soon.