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Churning the Rumor Mill: The Bastide Mystique

It's been almost a year since Joe Pytka closed his controversial, though much heralded, Bastide, and still no word on its reopening. Some say spring, but in restaurant-world speak, that could be spring 2008. The initial plan was to close for a "few months" to renovate and give chef Ludovic Lefebvre a more appropriate venue for his creative, avant-garde cuisine. Lefebvre took over the kitchen reins in 2004 when Alain Giraud left, leaving one local critic reeling and even swiping three of the restaurant's four stars. In her original 2003 review, she was practically giddy with delight. For the post-Giraud Bastide, her comments were scathing: "I feel as if I've been mugged. And that feeling doesn't let up for much of the rest of the meal."

Maybe something more traditional will make her happy again: Rumor has it that Pytka's plans for a more casual, "more LA" eatery have been scrapped because he found himself another upscale, fine-dining top chef. Unconfirmed reports say that it's someone with LA ties, but who's been up north for several years. The restaurant's publicist says she'll have more word after the first of the year.

More about Ludo, Pytka, and the staff after the jump...

We ran into Ludo this summer, and although he had a lot to say about what was happening with the restaurant, he seemed rather blasé about it. Then in September he bowed out completely. Why wouldn't he? The restaurant world is a rollercoaster ride; toss in an indecisive owner with tons of cash, and there will undoubtedly be more directions than just up and down. He hasn't landed anything yet, but at least his wife is working. As for other staffers, former general manager Donato Poto is now the GM and partner at Providence. Many others had to move on because it's one thing to wait "three months," even with pay; it's another to wait around for an entire year with uncertainty. As we near the anniversary of the closing, we're sure more news will surface. Of course, if you know something, we're here for you.
· The new Bastide, a rare four stars [LA Times]
· The Results are IN [LA.comfidential]
· Another Loss for L.A.: Lefebvre says “Au Revoir” to Bastide [Gayot]