Monday, April 21, 2014
To celebrate our anniversary this month (our sixth!), Justin and I dined at Trois Mec. We'd made plans to visit once before, but a nasty case of bronchitis sidelined me, making this dinner long overdue. So, we followed the glow of a Raffallo's Pizza sign to a worn-out strip mall and prepared to celebrate and feast.
Trois Mec comes from French slang for "three dudes"-- those dudes being Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo of Animal and Son of a Gun and Ludovic Lefebvre, famous for his innovative LudoBites pop-ups. Diners can snag one of the restaurant's 26 seats by logging onto Trois Mec's website on alternate Fridays at 8:00AM and purchasing a ticket. Tickets run around $75 per person (depending on the rotating menu and before tax and gratuity) and include a handful of "snacks," 5 courses, and mignardises.
After being seated at the bar, Chef Ludo generously sent over glasses of bubbly to start our meal. With champagne in hand, we settled in to watch the action in the kitchen.
Bon soir, chef!
Dinner began with a quartet of snacks, which were all meant to be eaten with your hands.
First to arrive was a tiny bowl of crispy, puffed buckwheat popcorn electrified by rice vinegar. The texture and tang of these nibbles made them a delight to eat.
Next up was a cube of seasoned tapioca, which was perfectly crisp on the outside and chewy within.
Justin adored the salt cod onigiri, a bite-sized morsel of sushi rice filled with fish and garnished with salt cod cream and mustard flowers.
The standout snack for me was a miniature garlic brick toast topped with butter, parsley, and chives. If given the option, I could have easily been convinced to eat twenty more of these and nothing else for the rest of the meal.
The first of our five courses was a bright King Crab ceviche, served beneath slices of creamy avocado. Fresh fruit, cubes of citrus gelee and more buckwheat popcorn imparted a snappy acidity to the dish.
As a gift, chef Ludo sent out an additional course. For Justin, a plate of Nantucket Bay scallops and crunchy sesame brittle over a bed of cauliflower puree and lemon curd, generously dusted with tandoori powder.
For the "princess" (i.e. pain in the ass who doesn't love all seafood equally), chef Ludo prepared a stunning medley of salted beets and thinly shaved radishes and carrots, crowned with cilantro flowers. The white chocolate olive oil that dressed the vegetables was a revelation. Since I couldn't bottle up their supply and stash it in my purse, I did the next best thing: licked my plate clean.
A leaf of grilled cabbage brought us back to Trois Mec's regularly scheduled programming. Atop the cabbage was a disc of umami-laden miso flan and rounding out the plate were whipped horseradish, a smoked almond milk anglaise and fennel pollen. This dish was best enjoyed with a little bit of each component in every bite. Leave it to chef Ludo to make even cabbage interesting!
Next to arrive was the much buzzed-about Potato Pulp, a mountain of riced potatoes and onion soubise (a French onion sauce) ensconced in brown butter, a French cow's milk cheese and bonito flakes. It's easy to see why this dish--at once both homey and completely unique-- has become the restaurant's signature dish.
Our final savory course was a beautifully composed plate of tender, juicy rib eye cap, charred broccoli, crispy shallots and, wait for it, smoked peanut butter. This dish best encapsulated the spirit of chef Ludo's pop-ups of days past for me-- unexpected, inventive and damn good.
For dessert, apple butter, creme de brie and a fluffy hay whipped cream blanketed with barley crumbles. Even this serious sugar addict had never experienced a sweet like this before. At once both surprising and refreshing, I enjoyed this to the last bite.
Our sadness over the end of our meal with tempered with mignardises, a funky but addictive black garlic caramel and chestnut petit choux.
Our meal at Trois Mec was one of the best I've eaten, anywhere. I could re-eat this dinner for the rest of my life and be happy. However, I love knowing that our next experience there will likely be entirely different. This was just the ticket to make our big night an unforgettable one.
716 N. Highland Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038