y4pcT1JaIwGptQJPO6l_mZmgv34 tiffin unboxed: Ludo Bites 8.0 at Lemon Moon - Favorites

Ludo Bites 8.0 at Lemon Moon - Favorites

When I compiled my cumulative post of favorite dishes from Ludo Bites 2 to 007 pop up restaurants, I thought I would have at least another 6 to enjoy and I'd do a sweeping recap at that point.

I missed Ludo Bites Hawaii nine-0 at the Four Seasons Hualalai resort, not for lack of desire. A Q&A article with Chef Ludo Lefebvre in Honolulu magazine began  with the declaration that he was getting tired of doing Ludo Bites and 9.0 may be the last.

No worries, however he plans to reinvent himself, perhaps with a new restaurant, I don't think anybody will be disappointed. 

Till then the memories from 8.0 at Lemon Moon restaurant, back from February this year, will suffice.

Let me just begin by saying it was ALL about this glorious dish. The Uni Crème Brûlée, Coffee. It's sea urchin with roe that pops in your mouth. The dish simultaneously tasted sweet, briney, creamy, foamy, crunchy.

A spoonful with a bit of each component was a pure joy. The glass like shards of brûlée added crunch and a slightly burnt caramel flavor.

The prices fluctuated on this popular item, as did availability. I can only empathize with those who were unable to order it and was so grateful our reservation was not too late in the evening.

The perfectly complementary Cambremer Cidre Pays d'Auge craft cider from Normandy enhanced the food well. The sommelier gave very colorful guidance on the offerings.

The Burgundy Gougeres delighted everyone who bit into these flaky and fluffy little bites. Within the kitchen I saw trays full of them and wanted to distract someone and grab a handful. Nice to see a classic item executed perfectly on the menu.

Both visually and tastewise, the Chicken Tandoori Crackling brought another sensory explosion. The creamy but intense chicken liver mouse on the seasoned, extremely crunchy chicken skin surprised me. I've never broken the connection in my head of having this type of spread with bread or crackers. Low carb at its finest.

I mixed them together and had a small piece on its own, to enjoy both components fully.

The Steamed Black Seabass, Eucalyptus Oil, Potato, Leeks, Manzanilla, prepared to perfection, was something I thought I'd tried before at Ludo Bites. Even if that was the case, the accompaniments both looked and tasted beautiful.

The combination of moist fish with crispy skin rarely lets anyone down.

The Creamy Saint-Nectaire, Lardo, Salted Praline Butter not only looked stunning, it melted in the mouth. The creaminess was tempered with the nutty and intense flavor of the cow's milk cheese. The toasted wafer-thin brioche added needed contrast.

The swipe of the praline butter added a pleasing sweetness and earthiness to the sandwich. I could have eaten a few teaspoons of this concoction. As a cheese course, this delightful item was great to share (and rich enough to just take a small bite).

While the preceding items were my favorite, the next couple were all tasty. Possibly not home runs. The Lobster Salad, Yuzu and Honey simply consisted of fresh and sweet tail and claw meat, a thin slice of daikon and a thick, citrusy-sweet sauce.

I would have been happy with a lighter sauce, but enjoyed the flavors.

What is a Ludo dinner without foie gras? The Celery Root Soup, Foie Gras, Mushrooms, Ash highlighted a fair amount of foie gras along with other interesting flavors that melded well.

I was very excited about the Monkfish Liver, Cucumber, Cornichons, Mustard Seeds, delighted to taste the "foie gras of the sea". When I go for sushi, if available, I do go for this delicacy.

The gritty texture of the protein along with sour and bitter accompaniments in this beautifully plated dish had to be appreciated by taking a few bites, but as a whole, this preparation was not my personal favorite.

Other diners I spoke with loved it when I asked afterward.

The entree of Veal, Black Olive Tapenade Crust, Orange Caramelized Endive, Clementine Beurre Blanc definitely made a visual splash. The meat coated in tapenade looked like coal, which when sliced revealed a buttery tenderness.

I loved the roasted endives which looked and tasted great. The orange sauce was very strong in this dish with bold flavors that one would not expect together. Are you noticing a theme?

I've jumped around with the order of dishes to start with the favorites. I'm ending with dessert, but as far as taste goes, this dessert ranks as a favorite. Brown Butter Almond Cake, Apples, Salted Caramel, Orange Creamsicle was dazzling.

The empty plate probably shows that. All flavors blended perfectly, and they way they were presented individually enhanced the whole dish. Each component shone, especially the moist and light cake.

That evening there were a couple of chef sightings dotting the dining room.

Among the chefs were Top Cheftestants (from season 9), Nyesha Arrington and Chris Crary were waiting for their table. I took the liberty of taking this shot of Chef Chris on his cell phone while he was inside the restaurant. 

Upon leaving, we ran into them outside again and both were very friendly, posing for another photo which they asked to see on Twitter.

Overall, the meal definitely had its highs and I look forward to the next meal, however it will be available.

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