LudoBites is back. Chef Ludovic Lefebvre (Top Chef Masters, Bastide, L'Orangerie), whose previous pop-up restaurant was held at BreadBar, is popping up again at the Royal/T in Culver City. Lefebvre will only be cooking at the Japanese-style cosplay café for 13 days in December, in what is the practical window in between Thanksgiving and Christmas. (I guess you should ask for an early holiday present.) Lefebvre has also been scouting around for a permanent space for a restaurant of his own, but despite many rumors of deals pending or inked, he says that nothing's been confirmed and no lease on any space has been signed.

“You know what, I'm so happy to be doing LudoBites right now. I like to work with different people, in different places. I like to adjust my menu to how I feel. I don't need to have a restaurant to cook. I just want to be happy and have my freedom. I don't need to deal with insurance, and all that bullshit,” says Lefebvre.

Ludo in Hollywood; Credit: Max Wanger

Ludo in Hollywood; Credit: Max Wanger

Other than the freedom of movement that LudoBites gives the chef, one of the things Lefebvre likes about pop-up operations is that they allow him to offer his food at far more affordable prices than, say, Bastide and L'Orangerie once did. He also likes the flexibility to change his menu as he wants. Right now, he's still working on the menu for the new venture, and has only decided that it will be different from the last LudoBites. “I'm going in search of new flavors. Cooking for me is a game. My life isn't boring, trust me!”

In the meantime, Lefebvre is figuring out how best to utilize the tiny kitchen at Royal/T (“I like the challenge”), the liquor license (“good for us”), and the art displayed in the space. The current Hello Kitty exhibit will be replaced by curator Jane Glassman's exhibit In Bed Together by the time LudoBites arrives. (I'm thinking that was a pretty good call.) “It's a great match for me,” says Lefebvre. “We want to look at the food as a canvas.”

Ludo Bites at the Royal/T: 8910 Washington Blvd., Culver City. Reservations can be made on the LudoBites website, NOT by calling Royal/T.

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