We went. Speaking of restaurants not listing their true availability on OpenTable, our only choices were 6:30 p.m. or 9:30 p.m. We chose 6:30 p.m., but were inevitably running late, which caused me stress and consternation as I assumed they were serious about their availability and that our table would be given away. We didn’t get there until after 7:00 p.m. and when we left around 9:30 p.m. the dining room still wasn’t half-filled. Maybe they don’t list their true availability on OpenTable because they want to leave tables open for hotel guests?
The theme of the restaurant is the South of France and the waitstaff all wore these blue and white horizontal striped French sailor shirts. It was charming. Less charming was the Ludo & Gilles branded merchandise for sale by the host station – logo’d totes and hats. Can you say tacky? And downright bizarre, some flowy women’s dresses were on a rack by the host stand. I wasn’t quite sure if the dresses were for sale or if just like in the old days when restaurants required jackets, a restaurant would have a jacket on hand for gentlemen who arrived without jackets, perhaps the dresses were for women who arrived in their bikinis straight from poolside.
The staff was very professional and the French sommelier was beyond affable and charming.
On to the food. Gilles Epié (the Gilles of Ludo and Gilles) was chef at L’Orangerie, that once storied French restaurant in Los Angeles, and the menu had what I was told was his signature dish at L’Orangerie - scrambled eggs and caviar. You get a hollowed out egg white in an egg cup and inside are some delicately scrambled eggs which were then topped with caviar. It’s a small portion and pricey at $45, but it was really good.
Neither my dining companion nor I cared for the Pissaladière, which is a pizza-like thing topped with caramelised onions, black olives, and anchovies. Both of us found it cloyingly sweet.
The lightly fried squid was enjoyable and the accompanying aioli was tasty. The pesto spaghetti was fine, but nothing I would order again. The peach melba dessert was boring.
Afterwards, we retired to the Montage lounge across the hall from the restaurant where they have live music on Wednesdays. The desserts there (different menu than the pop-up) may have been the worst I have had in Los Angeles. Dreadful underbaked cookies (they were so bad I didn’t even want to take them home and I love cookies) and a mediocre chocolate souffle.