If there’s one thing Tom and I love more than a delicious date night, it’s a delicious date night on a budget. When we heard that Ludivine was offering their four-course tasting menu for half price, we suddenly had exciting Friday night dinner plans. Ludivine is a small, seasonal eatery in Midtown with a big culinary game. It’s been on our wish list since moving to OKC, and this was the perfect reason to finally check it out!
The tasting menu is ever-changing, based on the ingredients the chefs can find each week. When we arrived, we asked to take a peak at the menu to make sure we wanted to stay. When we saw grilled lobster and Oklahoma Wagyu beef on the list, we were sold.
The half price tasting menu is available from 5 to 6 p.m. and 9 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. We usually have dinner pretty early, so we headed over to Ludivine at around 5:30 p.m. and got seated right away. (This might not be the case as this promotion gains popularity, so I’d definitely recommend making a reservation.)
The tasting menu is available in the main dining room, in the back bar and at the chef’s counter. We chose the latter so we could get up close and personal with what was going on behind the scenes.
First Course: Grilled Lobster
The thing we immediately loved about this “discounted” tasting experience, was that it certainly didn’t taste discounted. We were also treated as well as we would have been paying full price. There have been times in the past where we’ve taken advantage of a restaurant special only to receive second-tier service and food. This was absolutely not the case at Ludivine.
Our first course was grilled lobster with tomato thyme puree, shishito peppers, an herbed ricotta stuffed squash blossom with chili and scape oil. There were so many fun flavors in this dish! I am very picky about lobster. I typically think it tastes either like rubber or pure butter, and is nowhere near worth what you pay for it (exception: lobster in Maine, obviously). This, however, was sweet, tender and a little smoky while subtly taking on the delicate notes of the tomato thyme puree. The squash blossom added the perfect amount of freshness and decadence from the herbed ricotta. It was a slam dunk dish.
Second Course: Roasted Quail
This was only my second time eating quail and I’m still deciding how I feel about it. I love the use of local proteins, and this was a fun way of eating it with carrot puree, ramps, trumpet mushrooms and jus. The cookery was spot on, but I think I’m just not that into quail. Tom felt the same way, but I will say we still cleared our plates.
Intermezzo: Sparkling Wine with Fresh Local Melon
We were consistently impressed with the little touches that were thrown in throughout the meal. This intermezzo of sparkling wine was the perfect palate cleanser with a cube of fresh, local melon. Such a small thing, but it made the experience feel all the more special.
Third Course: Oklahoma Wagyu Tenderloin
The third course really shows how great of a value this deal is. Not only did the dish feature a beautiful local beef tenderloin, it was topped with seared fois gras over a truffle potato puree with charred vegetables. These are expensive words people! Every bite of this decadent steak felt like true luxury. And it just feels good to eat food you know is locally sourced and sustainable. There is controversy over whether or not you can get authentic Wagyu beef in Oklahoma, but I really couldn’t care less if it tastes this good.
Fourth Course: Roasted Blackberries
With dessert, we ended as beautifully as we began – roasted blackberries served with honey yogurt, toasted almond brittle and salted maple honeycomb. Yes, salted maple honeycomb – as mind-blowing as it sounds. I was extra excited about the addition of local, farm market peaches. The first local peaches I’ve had all year, but hopefully not the last.
If that wasn’t enough, a bonus dessert magically appeared from the kitchen. Honestly, we were so dazzled by the preceding four courses that we kind of enjoyed this one on cruise control. I do know it was good. Our Verdict? This is a big win for all OKC foodies. Great deals rarely, if ever, taste this good.
Ludivine’s half priced chef’s tasting menu is offered Mon-Sat from 5-6pm and 9-10pm. The wine pairings are not offered at half price.