The New York Times food critic wangled his way into LudoBites 5.0 twice last week, in the Downtown location that's in use this summer. Sifton tells the tale in tomorrow's paper, complete with nice Axel Koester photo of Ludovic and Kristine Lefebvre.
More than 3,000 people tried to secure reservations within the first five minutes of the first day they were available at the Lefebvres’ Web site, ludobites.com, crashing the system. A subsequent run on another reservations site likewise slowed the process to a crawl....
But this is Los Angeles. Calls can be made here, names invoked, the favor bank raided. (It’s Chinatown, Jake.)
Less romantically, you can send desperate e-mails to the restaurant’s Web site (which yielded a prime reservation for one friend of mine). Or you can monitor Mrs. Lefebvre’s Twitter account, @frenchchefwife. “Peeps are killing me with last minute cancellations,” she wrote on July 26. “Have a 4-top available at 6:15. Any downtown takers?”
Working anonymously on both fronts, with the help of friends I was able to secure tables for two nights last week, and managed to consume the entire 14-course menu both times. (My table eschewed the cheese plate on the first night. The waiter good-naturedly mocked us for our weakness.)
The entrees at LudoBites are, in contrast to current East Coast restaurant trends, reliably as good as the appetizers that precede them.
Photo: New York Times / Axel Koester