The Eat Sheet: Pop-Up Chef Sensation Ludo Lefebvre's Best Eats in America
The chef and his business partner/wife Krissy criss-crossed the country for their Sundance Channel show "Ludo Bites America" — here are four of their best finds
Ludo Lefebvre, nationally known for his always sold-out pop-up restaurant concept Ludo Bites, co-stars with business partner/wife Krissy in the Sundance Channel show, Ludo Bites America. Every episode, the show, which has its finale this Sunday, August 28 at 9 pm, finds the couple touring the country and setting up shop at a local eatery in a different city. In between shooting, Ludo, a classically-trained 5-star chef who Time magazine has called "Chef of The Future", and Krissy got out to sample some of the best cuisine that the likes of Omaha, Mobile and Santa Fe have to offer.
Here are four of their must-visit places for regional food in the U.S.
Steaks in Omaha
Ludo: "We had amazing steak at Spencer's Steakhouse. You walk in to the restaurant and the service is immediately attentive. Our server was so enthusiastic and knowledgeable about locally sourced beef, the menu and the wine. Some might call it information overload, but we loved and it was definitely not just for our table, we listened to his passion when he was at the table next to us. We ate ourselves full. Started the meal with lobster bisque, oysters on the half shell, crab cakes and Caesar salad. Krissy had the 20oz bone-in ribeye and I went with the Omaha Wagyu special for the night. We also had spicy sweet potato fries and mac & cheese. We finished off with a cheesecake and some ice cream. Classic steakhouse through and through, but isn't that what you want when you go for steak in Omaha?" 102 South 10th Street, Omaha
New Mexican Cuisine in Santa Fe
Krissy: "We snuck out to grab a little Santa Fe lunch during filming. We landed at what has to be the quintessential Santa Fe spot, Cafe Pasqual's. From the minute you walk in the door, you can tell this is true New Mexico cuisine. The restaurant is so bright and colorful with flags and chile bunches hanging from the ceiling and Mexican folk art covering the walls. There is always a line out the door and we waited about 20 minutes for our table, but this gave us a great opportunity to go shopping at Sun Country Traders and pick up some New Mexico art. Now to the food. We had to have the much talked about 'hash' and it did not disappoint, the potatoes and corned beef were both so moist. We added to that Chile Relleno con Huevos Y Frijoles Negros Y Salsa and Carne Asada. Combine that with the chips and salsa we just could not quit eating (the salsa in New Mexico is truly the best) and the glass of rose wine and we definitely dragging when we went back to work, but so worth every minute and every morsel. Ludo even bought the Cafe Pasqual cookbook before leaving, now that is always a sign of a good meal." 121 Don Gaspar, Santa Fe
Barbecue in Chapel Hill
Ludo: "We ate a lot of bbq in the Raleigh area. Neither of us had North Carolina style bbq before so this was quite the new discovery. Starting with a 2am visit to Allen and Son's BBQ, which is actually in Chapel Hill. As a regular diner, you would not be venturing into the woods at 2am, but it gave us such a great understanding of the work, love and passion that goes in to this unfortunate dying art form. The bbq served at lunch at Allen and Son's has been cooked for about 10 hours and comes straight from the wood smoking pits to your plate everyday. It is so juicy, smoky and tender. Keith Allen uses mostly pork shoulder and removes the skin before hand chopping the meat. You get a nice variety of pieces in the chop, mostly small tasty morsels, but you will always find a few larger pieces in the chop. Get the hushpuppies too. Also everyday Keith makes a few desserts from scratch, we had the apple crumble, so delicious. The dining room itself looks like it is straight out of a movie set, checkered table clothes on picnic tables. It is a simple and homey as it gets." 919-942-7576, 6203 Millhouse Road, Chapel Hill
Southern food in Mobile
Krissy: "We did have amazing fried chicken at a local place called Hart's in Mobile. It is a complete fast food joint, but the fried chicken was spicy, crispy and delicious. Ludo and I kept trying to look in the kitchen to see what kind of fryers they used without being too obvious, but just the sight of the two of us in the restaurant made everything obvious. If you are a fried chicken lover, it is a must stop." 251-473-3139, 2951 Spring Hill Avenue, Mobile