chicken liver mousse, green apple gelee
An impromptu dinner at Breadbar with six wine-loving peeps seemed like a good plan for a Friday night, at least until they lost our reservation. Fortunately there was one table left inside, since it was one of the first nights of the year when it was too nippy to eat on the patio. Chef Ludovic Lefebvre, formerly of Bastide, was doing Black and Yellow week, whatever that is -- we didn't try the main dishes, Black croque monsieur with foie gras and Yellow croque monsieur with matsutake because they just sounded too baroque and expensive ($24 each). We started with a bread basket with yummy Echire butter ("You have to know someone to get it," the server told us), a smoked salmon plate with tarama and lentils ($9) and a combo plate of brocamole (his take on guacamole with broccoli instead), hangar steak and Bayern blau cheese ($23). The first dishes took approximately three years to arrive -- at least we were enjoying the three wines we brought while we waited. lentils, tarama with trout roe, smoked salmon "McBain"
Eventually we flagged down a server and wangled a few more plates: Prawns from Santa Barbara with green tea salt -- nice, but not worth $18; a plate of blue cheeses with honeycomb and pink grapefruit confit; carrot sousouc, a clean-tasting "inversion of couscous" ($7); chicken liver mousse with green apple gelee; and foie gras terrine with lemon puree. Of these plates, the chicken liver mousse ($9) was the standout, with a melting texture and a delicately earthy flavor. Lefebvre spent a lot of timing blowing out birthday candles with the other party but never even glanced at us, although he's still looking hunky.
Verdict: Ludobites, offered on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights through December, could be a fun way to try some inventive small plates while enjoying your own wine with free corkage. But there's not very many dishes that actually spotlight Lefevbre's cooking -- you could assemble most of them yourself from the Cheese Store of Beverly Hills. Perhaps since Breadbar doesn't usually serve dinner, the service leaves quite a bit to be desired. And watch those supplements -- they can add up fast.