It's the end of an era for Chef Ludo Lefebvre and fans of LudoBites, his electrifying "roving restaurant" that first hit Los Angeles in 2007 and popularized the pop-up concept across the nation.
Lefebvre kicked off his last pop-up, LudoBites.TEN, at Gram & Papas in downtown LA Monday. Almost 7,000 people entered a lottery to snag seats for the last suppers, but in the end only 308 lucky people won tables for the three-week event. HuffPost LA was one of them.
Check out photos from the LudoBites.TEN dinner. Story continues below.
LudoBites 6.0: Hamachi Vietnamese Salad
Green papaya, banana leaf, lotus root and hamachi.
Prawns, Avocado, Pineapple and Shrimp Oil
A mix of razor and manila clams, oysters and PEI mussles with crispy broccoli and gray shallots in a dashi broth.
LudoBites 7.0: Tandoori Octopus
Tandoori octopus with beets, pink onions, yogurt and fennel.
LudoBites 6.0: Squid
Squid, peanut butter, grapes, tofu, lime oil and chili oil.
Fine brick tart, garlic mousse, spinach, parsley, curry and escargot.
LudoBites 5.0: Poached Egg
Poached egg with potato mousseline and chorizo.
Chicken, mushrooms, walnut condiment, parmesan fondue and brioche.
LudoBites 3.0: Veal Udon
Veal, carrots, udon, caramelized onions and white miso.
Flat Iron Steak
Flat iron steak, treviso, smoked anchovy cream and pepper oil.
LudoBites 6.0: Creme Fraiche Panna Cotta
Creme fraiche panna cotta with caramel and caviar.
LudoBites 8.0: Lemon Meringue
Deconstructed lemon meringue tart.
Krissy and Ludo Lefebvre get down to business.
The LudoBites.TEN menu served up round-ups and riffs of Lefebvre's past pop-ups with a smattering of new dishes. Fans will cheer (and weep) when they see familiar plates like ham sandwich soup, tandoori octopus or panna cotta with caramel and caviar. As in LudoBites past, the entire menu (14 items in all) is the perfectly-sized order for tables of three to four people. The purchase of certain dishes also meant a a donation to St. Vincent Meals on Wheels' Cart for a Cause program.
Another purchase worth considering: the recipe book LUDOBITES, available at the restaurant. It's a swan song of a book that salutes all the Los Angeles foodies who blogged, tweeted and Yelped Lefebvre to the national spotlight. The tome features pictures from amateur food photographers, sidebars on influential local food bloggers (KevinEats) and juicy tidbits on the best and worst chef-collaborators the Lefebvres encountered during their crazed five-year experiment. In short, the book is a love letter to LA's fooderati. To top off the heartfelt, sloppy thank-you kiss, a signed copy of the book comes free if the bill gets paid on a MasterCard, courtesy of the credit card's PricelessLA promotion.
It's not the final LudoBites ever, said wife and business partner Krissy Lefebvre to The Huffington Post -- just the end of LudoBites as a "business model" before Lefebvre moves on to open up a brick-and-mortar restaurant with Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, chef/owners of Animal and Son of A Gun. The restaurant collaboration still doesn't have a name, she confirmed, but is set to open in early 2013.