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From Los Angeles
Another Loss for L.A.
Lefebvre says “Au Revoir” to Bastide
By Sophie Gayot

Ludo's famous tattoo

Ludovic Lefebvre has told GAYOT.com that he does not plan on returning to Bastide when the famed West Hollywood French restaurant reopens under a new name. “I want my liberty,” says Lefebvre, citing “creative differences” as the reason for the split.

Bastide, named one of Gayot’s top 40 Restaurants in the U.S. last year has been closed since January 2006. “I very much appreciate the opportunity that I was given at Bastide,” says Lefebvre, who began cooking in his native France under Marc Meneau and Pierre Gagnaire before thrilling Americans with his novel cooking at L'Orangerie, which is slated to close in December 2006.

Poularde marinated in Pepsi-Cola served with popcorn

The tattooed chef with a flair for exotic spices has not picked his next position, but odds are it will be quite different than his last. “I don’t want to do a serious French restaurant like Bastide. I want to do my own restaurant again, but I want something more relaxed,” said the author of the book Crave: The Feast of the Five Senses. “I want to cook for everybody, at prices that aren’t too expensive. The cuisine I envision needs to give happiness and emotion: a generous cuisine, alive, concerned about yesterday but looking towards tomorrow. It should be fun, and bring a smile to your face.”

At Bastide, Ludo’s clever creations that brought smiles to customers’ faces included panini au foie gras on a bed of apricots, poularde marinated overnight in Pepsi-Cola accompanied by popcorn, and a caviar-topped crème fraîche panna cotta in salted butter caramel sauce for dessert.

Panini au foie gras
Caviar-topped crème
fraîche panna cotta

Owner Joe Pytka is yet to announce a firm date for the reopening of Bastide, nor its new name. Nor is there any word on who will become the third chef to run the kitchen on Melrose Place after Alain Giraud, who opened the restaurant in 2002, and Ludo, who took over in the fall of 2004.

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P091206
(Updated: 07/09/08 HC)

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