If you’ve lived in LA over the last few years, you’ve no doubt heard about the alleged death of the white cloth restaurant. Rumors of its death, though, may be greatly exaggerated. After all, Angelenos will battle traffic for a bowl of stellar ramen as readily as they’ll sit down for a great filet mignon; thus, maybe it’s not that the scene that's declining as much as it is being forced to evolve. Which brings us to Ludo Lefebvre, who, after a series of pop-up dinners and a roving truck has found a permanent home at Trois Mec. With support from partners Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook (Animal, Son of a Gun) in the kitchen, the restaurant is reinterpreting, and even redefining, fine dining.
It’s a distinctly relaxed place—no white cloths, no dress code, and unintimidating but attentive service. The food, though, is anything but casual. Rather, it is everything you’d hope Lefebvre would offer—elegance, restraint, excess, France, California, Los Angeles—and then some. A bowl of sushi rice, topped with cod-infused cream and ripe avocado, pops. Hefty carrots are barbequed to draw out their sweetness, then challenged by the sharp tang of blood oranges and the cool dollop of yogurt. And a plate of "potato pulp," made with an unabashed amount of butter, Sales cheese, onion soubise and bonito, is absolutely addicting. To end: A perfectly flaky Napoleon filled with fresh berries and vanilla cream.
Eat this: Trois Mec offers one five-course set menu (currently $75, exclusive of tax, tip and drinks) on each night of service, and, save for asking for a vegetarian menu, no modifications may be made. Reservations are released on every other Friday at 8 am. If the gods smile and you score a table, you can then purchase a non-refundable (but fully transferrable) “ticket” to your dinner. On the day of your reservation, you must show up on time, else the dinner start without you. After all, as they say, the show must go on.
Drink this: A short list of wine and beer is available each night. You also can opt for a wine pairing with each course.
Sit here: With only 24 seats, Trois Mec is comfortably tiny, with each table offering a full view of the open kitchen. For those who want to see the action up close, note that parties of two are seated at the counter.
Conversation piece: Trois Mec roughly translates to "three guys" in French, highlighting the partnership between Ludo Lefebvre and Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo. Lefebvre comes from a storied background at L’Orangerie, Bastide and the enormously popular LudoBites. Shook and Dotolo are behind Animal and Son of a Gun.