The Clever Root

Spring / Summer 2016

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 75 of 92

s p r i n g / s u m m e r 2 0 1 6 | 7 5 Since it opened in 2013, Trois Mec (I suppose they thought the more correct "Trois Mecs" might be mispronounced and confused for a Mexi- can restaurant) has been the toughest ticket in a town that boasts mul- tiple hard-to-get-into eateries. Every other Friday I would try my hand at getting a reservation. To no avail. Finally, it took my considerably more dexterous son with his heavy-duty bandwidth to snag one. There was an opening for four the following Thursday at 6:15. $401.20 was duly charged to his MasterCard, but the menu was unspecified. The restaurant is long and narrow with the tables, which seat just two or four, against a mirrored wall. Across from the tables is a counter that runs most of the length of the restaurant, behind which six blue-capped cooks labor in the open kitchen. Six high-backed swivel chairs face the coun- ter—this, certainly, is the best vantage point from which to observe the kitchen activity. Diners are serenaded by a mixed tape of Ludo's cutting- edge taste in contemporary rock. We arrived at the appointed time—not an easy achievement in traf- fic-choked LA.—and were seated at a simple, un-adorned wooden table outfitted with utilitarian silverware. The food began arriving almost im- mediately. First came a ceramic dish containing crunchy little pellets that turned out to be buckwheat popcorn. Incidentally, all the tableware is at- tractive, hand-turned and quite rustic in style. An interesting contrast to the elegant, French-inflected food. Next came potato tea with rosemary presented in a vessel looking very much like a serving of Argentine mate. This was accompanied by a per- fectly decapitated egg filled with a poached egg yolk and a lush caramel mousse. There was also a crisp frico of Parmesan. Then the menu started: a combination of sashimi-grade big-eye tuna, heirloom beets and rhubarb sliced into identical bite-sized cubes and moistened with soy. This was interesting because all the ingredients were exactly the same shape and deep red color. The contrast between them emerged from their textures and flavors. It was a lovely combination. Next came asparagus Grenobloise, with brown butter, citrus and capers, a rather straightforward but beautifully realized presentation of the first fresh tender shoots of spring. The best dish of the menu was then put before us. Buttery, creamy black cod topped with large, fresh peas, sliced leeks and Meyer lemon foam. It was a vivid celebration of the season—fresh spring flavors, elegant texture, vibrant color. What followed was a buttery grilled black truffle sandwich accompanied by a scoop of charcoal ice cream (see page 76 for more on Playing with Fire). This was a stunningly savory dish with smooth rich flavors and bal- ance. It required a supplement—$15 per person additional—that was a bit steep but quite worth the extra splurge. Dessert was an interesting combination of avocado, macadamia and gin- ger-aji amarillo ice cream. It was an exciting climax, except that it wasn't. A succession of mignardises—small pastries and truffles—followed. Whew. You may have noticed that I didn't mention wine. There is a proposed wine pairing—six wines selected to go with the menu. There is also a full, and quite expensive, wine list. For my light-drinking group I chose a $90 Côtes-du-Rhône that turned out to be rather ordinary as well as showing some taint from brettanomyces (a bacterial spoilage). In total, Trois Mec was a unique and positive experience. The pop-up has definitely come of age. Service was polite and efficient, the ambiance of the place is very welcoming and clubby. Judging by the more than 1,000 pictures of the food online, there are many other exciting preparations in the restaurant's cooking repertoire, and new dishes are being added all the time. I actually have every intention of going back, if my fingers are limber enough. Maybe next time Ludo will actually be there. At 8:30 the very friendly hostess came over and informed us politely that they needed the table. On the way out we nodded to the 8:30 party who were waiting on the bench outside the restaurant. Total cost for the evening, not counting parking: $717.30. A year after Trois Mec opened, the three chefs opened Petit Trois in the small space of the defunct Thai restaurant conveniently located right next door. This charming Paris-style bistrot will transport you. The plump escar- gots are the best I've ever had this side of the Atlantic. The specially made baguettes are crunchy and warm. A tartine topped with fresh, sweet peas and creamy cheese is sublime. And a chicken confit is the ultimate comfort food. There's also a spectacularly gooey burger dubbed "the big mec." Petit Trois doesn't take reservations, and you may have to stand on line. The tiny place is open from noon until 11 p.m. every day. If you go at an off hour, you probably won't have to wait. PHOTO: WONHO FRANK LEE PHOTO: KRISSY LEFÈBVRE PHOTO COURTESY OF TROIS MEC The Trois Mec: Chefs Ludovico Lefèbvre, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo. A pea and asparagus preparation. ■cr

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Clever Root - Spring / Summer 2016