Gram & Papa’s
227 E 9th St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Dining date: 8/10/11
An invitation for another trip of LudoBites was one I couldn’t resist. While the menu was largely the same since opening night, I couldn’t say no to the opportunity to revisit some of the favorite dishes from my first experience. Also, since Ludo is continually changing up the menu, there were a couple of completely new items: Jamaican chicken and the smoked vanilla bean bacon creme brulee.
Onion Tart, Bottarga
I liked this tart a little better this time, perhaps because it came out of the kitchen a little warmer, a little crispier.
Dorade Ceviche, Cucumber Water, Purslane, Cucumber Flower
I’m still not really a fan of this dish, even with the second time around. I thought it was a little less acidic and tart than last time, but I still wanted the fish to stand out a little more.
Fried Jamaican Chicken Wings
Mmm these were tasty wings. I thought they could’ve been a little bit crispier, but the chicken had a wonderful depth of flavor…without being overwhelmingly spicy.
Salt Cod Panna Cotta, Whipped Fingerling Potato, Smoked Tapioca
I liked that the flavors here were clean and distinct – the salt cod, the potato and the smokiness of the tapioca. Yet the play on textures was a welcome one too – the panna cotta combined with tapioca made for some creamy, chewy bites.
Pig’s Head Compressed with Cheddar, Barbeque Gelée
Hah. Inspired by the term “head cheese.” I get it. Though it could’ve also been inspired by a s’more. Rich, smooth meat from the head is combined with cheddar, layered with crispy crackers. A really interesting dish, and delicious.
Egg, Sea Urchin, Caviar, Champagne Beurre Blanc
This dish sounds really luxurious…and it is. Last time I had a hard time placing the sea urchin, but I was searching for it this time and totally got the flavor. Love it. Really comforting, with the creaminess of the egg and beurre blanc standing up to the saltiness of the caviar.
Tomato Soup, Carrots, Squid, Chorizo Oil
The tomato soup was creamy with a subtle sweetness. The carrots provided the texture, while the squid and chorizo brought a little more of a meaty flavor.
Plancha Tandoori Octopus, Yogurt, Cauliflower, Grapefruit
Just as good as last time, the octopus is just so tender. Loved the pairing of the smokiness from the grill with the citrus of the grapefruit.
Foie Gras “French Dim Sum,” Crispy Kimchi, Sake-Black Truffle Cream
I think this was the same dish as opening night, with the buzz words “French Dim Sum” instead of “ravioli.” Whatever you call it, it was delicious. I found the pasta to be perfectly cooked and filled with rich, luscious foie gras. I didn’t get too much of the kimchi, but I wasn’t complaining; I just wanted more.
Duck, Cherry, Spicy Saucisse, Beets, Radish
The duck was tender and moist, complemented by the tart cherries. Beets and radish added some crunchy texture.
Roasted Beef, Horseradish Cream, Green Beans, Dried Mole
This was Ludo’s take on a classic roast beef dinner. All of the flavors were here – the roast beef, horseradish and a side of green beans. However, the dried mole made things a little bit more interesting, adding another (unexpected) flavor profile. Loved the presentation too!
Epoisse Cheese Risotto, Hazelnut, Egg Yolk, Herb Salad
This was one of my favorite dishes from last time, and it still is. So good. It was rich, it was creamy, it was cheesy – I really appreciated the fresh herbs, adding bright flavors that stood up to the richness of the rice.
Peach Melba Vacherin, Lavender
The peach was tasty, smothered in a light cream. I liked the overarching lavender flavor, setting this dish apart.
Smoked Vanilla Bacon Creme Brulee, Red Berry Salad
This was a new dessert on the menu and definitely an interesting one. The creme brulee tasted, well, like smoky, porky bacon..yet in a rich custard. It was pretty weird for the first couple bites. Okay, it was really weird to me the whole time. Accompanying the custard was a refreshing, fruity (I think it was melon..maybe cantaloupe?) soup, instrumental in toning down the rich bacon flavor of the creme brulee.
I liked this meal slightly better than my first. While the menu was largely the same, I found many of the dishes to be a little more refined this time around. I’m not sure if I’ll get a chance to, but I’d love to return later in the pop-up’s run to see what else Ludo comes up with.