Friday, January 8, 2016

Trois Mec - Los Angeles

Trois Mec These guys are an amazing team of Chefs
When the Chef or Food is special and the evening becomes an experience and you do not need Open Table to fill your restaurant every night you go to a ticketing system.  It is very efficient for the Restaurateur but a real challenge for the the customer, but as you know the Restaurateur is always right.  Trois Mec is one of a handful of restaurants in the US that have gone to the online ticketing method of reserving a table, although a pain it is part of the experience and establishes bragging rights that you got a Golden Ticket not unlike American Idle or Willy Wonka. Trois Mec which means three guys is a collaboration of Ludo Lefebvre, John Shook and Vinny Dotolo.  John and Vinny own Animal and Son of a Gun, Animal which I wrote up last year, both are very accomplished chefs.  Trois Mec is located in a small unassuming strip mall on Highland Blvd. in LA.  If you are looking for a sign you will be out of luck unless you are looking for Raffallo's Pizza thank god for Google Maps.
Our reservation was for 6pm which is the first of the evening, we got there early so we went to a restaurant next door Petit Trois for a cocktail.  Petit Trois is aptly named no more that 15 feet wide including the kitchen with eating at the counter or drinks 2 feet away on the wall table.  We got the drink of the night which was a Habanero Margarita.  Petit Trois is also a restaurant so if you do not have a Golden Ticket you should sit down and enjoy dinner there.
Chef Ludo-- He Scared Me

When the clock hit 6pm the hostess came to gather us to guide us to the seating I requested, the counter looking over the kitchen.  This is always the best seat because you are entertained by the action in the kitchen.  A big shout out to Lisa Provost for arranging the seat for us. On this night as we walked in stood Ludo, you know that French guy who instills fear into his team members on The Taste.  I immediately made my presence known by greeting him and asking him how his evening is going and asking if I can take pictures, immediately I saw that look of oh no am I going to have to deal with this guy all evening.  But no the kitchen is his office and I respect his domain and I will admit he did scare me a bit.

Trois Mec is a small restaurant with 8 seats at the counter and 4 tables for 16 additional lucky people. The counter is 3 feet from the chefs so it provides the perfect venue for expert viewing for food preparation skills.
Buckwheat Popcorn and Pistachio Tart
This is a tasting menu with approximately 8+ small plates brought throughout the evening, whatever the evening fair you get whatever wonderful meal you get.  Mind you each bite is of the utmost quality and has been curated for the evening.  If you wish to have a beverage you can buy beer or wine buy the Glass, Bottle or they will pair Wine or a Non Alcoholic beverage for each tasting.  JoAnn went with the glass of Wine and I went with the Non Alcoholic pairing.  The first several appetizers come out in rapid succession including crunchy Buckwheat Popcorn, a tiny Pistachio and Herb Tart, a Brown Egg Shell with a Yolk on the bottom and Cream on top, Crispy Tapioca Square and Custard.  I was busy taking pictures of the food, of Ludo and of his staff everything is happening so fast, stop I have to start enjoying this
Awesome Custard
and taking the experience in.  Our awesome server Leah was serving me my drinks and I felt the pressure of eating forming as sweat on my forehead.  Oh yeah Leah I almost forgot her because of my feeding frenzy.  Leah has been at Trois Mec for 1 year she and her husband moved to LA from Napa where she worked at Bouchon and he worked at The French Laundry, well that is impressive!
Egg Yolk with Creme
Back to the food the Buckwheat Popcorn needs to be eaten a few kernels at a time to get the best enjoyment of the salty crunchy taste.  The Pistachio Tart was tasty, of course I ate it wrong thinking the tart shell was ceramic and wondering when I broke it if Ludo would yell at me and put me in time out.  BTW that is when I realized I needed to slow down.  Of all the little taste starters my favorite was either the Egg Yolk covered with Creme served in a Brown Egg Shell or the Custard with a touch of Lime which had a sprinkling of something crunchy.
Before we start the next grouping I have reviewed several restaurants where Celebrity Chefs are on property but none that I have seen are as involved with their team and as serious about the food, presentation and quality as Chef Ludo.  He stood 3 feet in front of me all evening working with his team of 5 to serve 24 people, 12 dishes each or 288 plates.  Each plate was prepared in front of us, I have great respect for him, and his staff.  And that is the real reason I did not ask him another question the rest of the night until I said good night.  As a side note after we finished our first 5 plates he said well that is dinner have a great evening goodbye and then he kind of chuckled, for a fleeting moment I thought he was serious.
Cured Trout
Smoked Vegetable Voulete
Back to the food, now the serious stuff begins first main course is Cured Trout glazed with a Vinaigrette, with a Dollop of Yogurt and Ground Carrot side.  I have never eaten Trout, I caught over 100 trout this year (catch and release), the curing made the texture firm and the taste smokey when combined with the Yogurt and Carrot it was delicious, the Carrot added some sweetness.  What a great start, the pace had slowed down even though Ludo and his team were in full chef mode. Leah paired that dish with Apple Cider a great combo with the Trout.  
Second course was Smoked Vegetable Veloute with Black Truffle Chantilly.  The Veloute served as a soup base was combined with smoked vegetables that included Cauliflower and Asparagus.  The Black Truffle Chantilly did not have that pungent Truffle taste but was more earthy.  This was paired with Lemon Sage Tea, it tastes like it sounds, delicious.  
The third course is Rice, King Crab and Uni Butter, Avocado.  The Rice is fried in butter until it cakes, the cake is used as the base of the King Crab covered in Uni Butter.  So you get the Crunch of the Rice and the Uni Buttered Crab Leg with the richness of the Avocado Puree.  This was paired by a Spiced Italian Soda the only drink of the night they did not make in house.  
Update, Chef Ludo is still leading his guys, from time to time you can here them escalate as they encourage each other to put out perfect food.  
Cauliflower Porridge
Course number four was a Veal Cauliflower Porridge with Cinnamon and Dates, this one I was not paying attention to it so when I hit the date I thought this tastes kind of good but does it belong in here, but i came to my senses it was no mistake it was part of the meal.  This dish was not a favorite for my wife but I really enjoyed it the Cauliflower Porridge was creamy but had that great earthy taste a really well thought out dish.  The kind of dish you imagine you eat in France after a hard day of farming.  Along came Leah with our favorite drink of the night Mountain Shrub which is White Wine Vinegar fermented with Fir and Pine needles for 1 year then combined with 1 part simple syrup to 1 part Vinegar concoction and then carbonated.  
Dessert- Apple Butter Creme de Brie
Ah finally dessert, Apple Butter, Creme de Brie with Toasted Barley a perfect light desert to finish the night off.  the Apple butter worked well with the Creme just scenting it with Apple, this was combined with a Spice Chai Latte.  To wrap the food experience up we were given 2 Mignardises each a tiny Cream Puff and Dark Chocolate Truffle.
This was a very memorable evening of dining out, the hardest working Executive Chef in LA, an amazing group of Chefs and Sous Chefs by his side, very professional Servers and a Hostess that was on top of every detail all night.  Trois Mec is a must if you love food and the experience of watching professionals work.