First Bite: Ludobites 6.0, or Curtain's Closed Until Next Year, Maybe
Actually, this should be Last Bite. Because writing about pop-up restaurants sometimes feels like reviewing a play whose run will be over -- as LudoBites 6.0's is -- before the reader has a chance to catch one of the final performances. Were you one of the 30,000 people who vainly tried to reserve a table at 6.0 before the computer crashed? Sorry. There's always next year.
Jonagold apple, portions removed
This was LudoBites' first residency in what could be termed an actual restaurant, the former site of Max and the much-missed Marché, and by the final week at least, Ludovic Lefevbre started to show not just an imagination but a polish I haven't seen in his cooking since he left his post at Bastide.
There was a sous-vide poached egg in a velouté thickened with rice and marked with a brilliant green slash of "Christmas oil," a sharp, resinous emulsion that started with a branch the chef chopped from the ornament-laden tree in his own living room. Lefevbre has been hanging out on the Eastside lately -- there were crisped snails in a Oaxacan-style mole colorado -- and his dish of seared mackerel ceviche with gooey, raw purslane and "leche del tigre," ceviche marinade, tasted like everything good about mariscos joints. His parmentier, shepherd's pie, of blood sausage frosted with clouds of pureed potatoes and pureed apples, was very close to a dish I had from three-star chef Alain Solivérès in Paris a few years ago, which is to say one of the best things I have ever had. And the deconstructed carrot cake, with dribbles of yellow Thai curry and a tiny dish of Thai lime-leaf oil, was a truly original dessert.
When is 7.0? Your guess is as good as mine.