FOOD: Ludlow has its lows

FOOD%3A+Ludlow+has+its+lows

Lisa Zhang

Somewhere behind Quickly’s and a little bit in front of the Dance Academy, the new Ludlow restaurant sits rather empty at 5:30 p.m. on a Saturday night. The restaurant fills the space along the corner with only a few tables in a single row and two small tables outside. The kitchen is relatively silent, and is hidden behind a white curtain that reaches halfway to the ground. The waiter seated us in the middle of the row of tables, and we were given two glasses of water, which were never refilled until after we paid our check.

The complementary appetizer, a bruschetta-like bite topped with creamy miso tuna, was a nice start to the meal. Ludlow easily establishes itself as a unique Japanese-Italian fusion restaurant with this starter dish. Photo by Angela Liu.

 

We ordered the Octopus Risotto ($12) and the Tomato Chirimenjako salad ($7.95). Shortly after, the waiter brought a complimentary starter dish with two small tuna bruschetta-like bites served on a bed of mixed greens. It was a little strange to see a creamy mixture of miso and tuna topped with exactly three pieces of orange zest in each piece, and even stranger that it tasted a little bit too strong and very salty. However, it definitely solidified the Italian-Japanese seafood concept surrounding the fusion restaurant.

For a salad, the tomato chirimenjako was high quality. The warm grilled tomatoes and fresh greens made for a salad that satisfied. Photo by Angela Liu.

 

 

Our Tomato Chirimenjako salad arrived first in a huge portion. It was a large plate decorated with grilled cherry tomatoes, avocado slices and wonton strips. The salad itself primarily consisted of fresh mixed greens tossed in some honey dressing, which gave the dish a subtle sweet, tangy flavor that nicely contrasted with the salted chirimenjako fishes. The table behind us ordered the Ludlow salad, which was the exact same thing except in dressing (with a few extra sashimi) and in price, which was $12.50.

 

The octopus risotto ($12) was filling and steaming hot. The small amounts of bell pepper, octopus, and spicy sauce were quickly consumed, leaving the not-so-delicious risotto. Photo by Angela Liu.

 

The Octopus Risotto came later in a boat-shaped dish filled with creamy rice and four slices of slightly overcooked octopus. An extremely spicy sauce marinated in chili for a week until it looked slightly like salad dressing, called Hakke, was brushed along the side of the dish, which was supposed to be lightly dipped with the risotto with every bite. The risotto itself had a few bell peppers folded into it to balance out its rich, creamy texture for the first few bites of the dish. However, after the bell peppers and octopus were consumed, you were left with a hearty amount of risotto that, by itself, was unappetizing and a bit to thick.

As for the service, the waiter mumbled something quickly when he placed our complimentary appetizer dish down, but the chef stopped by just a few minutes later and we were able to get a very comprehensive description of the dish. It was slightly strange when, throughout the meal, the waiter gradually disappeared, occasionally emerging to deliver dishes and awkwardly poke his head out to offer water to the table closest to the door, but the dishes were able to come in a very timely manner.

Overall, the dinner was satisfactory, with the food surpassing the service. The restaurant decor was very simplistic, with white walls and minimalist painting, and contrasted with the upscale flair of the fusion dishes. It looks like it would be a more formal dining experience for families, but not a teenage hangout (disappointing considering its proximity to MVHS). All in all, a very average fusion dinner at an average fusion restaurant.

A full menu of Ludlow’s dishes can be found here. Ludlow is located at 21267 Stevens Creek Blvd, Ste 205, Cupertino, CA 95014.