There's been a lot of talk about the opening of Ledlow, and not all good. There's been talk of the name, the owner and the switch from its predecessor Pete's. Pete's was a casual, neighborhood favorite with classic burgers and short ribs - one of the first to open in the area in 2002. Then downtown restauranteur Josef Centeno bought Pete's. Centeno is close to having a street named after him in downtown LA seeing as he owns half the block with next door Baco Mercat, Bar Ama and higher end Orsa & Winston.
Centeno said he wasn't going to change much on Pete's and was even going to keep the name. That didn't work. It confused the regulars when he did in fact have a different menu, so the name went to Ledlow Swan to the now more simply named Ledlow.
The place got a face lift as well that includes a bright interior with white walls and subway tile. It's quite comfortable and inviting with large glass windows that wrap around the block at Main and 4th.
The menu mostly hints to Americana comfort food with a laundry list of uniquely prepared seasonal vegetables. Not being able to decide on which veg to choose, the crudite sampler board seemed to be the way to go to cover it all. There's a play on textures, temperatures and flavors with some items raw, some cooked, some roasted, all served with a homemade ranch dressing. I'd be pretty happy to have that plate in my neighborhood most nights.
Hard torn egg pasta was delicate and well made. Piercing the poached egg on top, and swirling the flavors around made for a rich dish with the right amount of acid. Not a drop left in that bowl afterwards.
The braised beef shoulder also appeared on the Lazy Ox menu while Ledlow cooked there. The shoulder goes through a long red wine braise until a dense and flavorful sauce is achieved and the beef is fork tender. Kumquats and cream of wheat are placed underneath to balance all the flavors and textures. It's a solid dish.
While the vodka-less cocktail list disappointed, but didn't surprise me, I quickly rebounded with the French 75 made with gin, lemon verbena, sparkling wine and lemon - refreshing and well balanced. If floral notes are more your thing, you'll like La Vie en Rose with gin, rose, lavender and lemon. The wine list is approachable and reasonable with most bottles under $60.
While locals may miss their late night greasy burger, Ledlow is offering graduated comfort food for the new clientele that have descended into downtown LA, for better or worse.
400 S Main St.
Los Angeles, CA