Here comes . . . the real Ludo
Ludovic Lefebvre, the chef last seen at Bastide's last (pre-Walter Manzke) incarnation, is back on the L.A. scene with a series of dinners at Bread Bar beginning Wednesday.
So what is an "eclectic culinary journey"? The way Lefebvre explains it, he fell in love with the bread at Breadbar, so he said to Ali Chalabi, Breadbar's co-owner (with Eric Kayser), "You're not open at night, but why not do something at night? But not a sandwich. You know the concept of sushi, but doing that with bread." For example? "I love guacamole," says Lefebvre. "I'm going to do a broccoli guacamole. And I found these beautiful multicolored carrots, and I do a simple carrot rapé." (That's grated carrot salad.)
A tapas-type menu is the way Kristine Lefebvre, Ludo's wife and manager (and attorney by day) puts it. "But it's unlike your typical tapas menu," she says. "Every dish is designed to inspire the artist in all of us, so you create your own meal. Ludo will provide suggestions about what to put together. Finding the best products is something Ludo's always been known for. All of the products are going to be attached to a certain farmer or a certain producer. The menu will change almost daily, based on whichever farmer he's working with that week."
The evenings will be co-sponsored by the Cheese Store of Beverly Hills. Lefebvre says he'll be there (at the West 3rd Street location) for every dinner, and that Cheese Store owner Norbert Wabnig will be there for many evenings too.
And Lefebvre has a restaurant in the works. "I'm coming back slowly," he says. He's got his eye on a location; he and Kristine are in the process of negotiating a deal for it. "It'll be the beginning of next year," says Kristine.
And the concept? "I want to do a bistro," says Lefebvre, "but around the world, not just French food. I want to do a pot au feu, but with a Thai flavor. Or a miso soup with foie gras. I've cooked in very expensive restaurants, but now I want to cook for everybody, and I want it to be accessible. I'm going to be on my own for the first time in my life. It's going to be the real Ludo."
Ludo Bites, Breadbar, 8718 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles; (310) 205-0124.
-- Leslie Brenner
Photograph by Gary Friedman