Monday, July 28, 2014

Petit Trois (Los Angeles, CA)

Petit Trois Restaurant
718 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038
Mon 07/28/2014, 05:30p-07:45p

Petit Trois Exterior

I think it's not too far of a stretch to say that Trois Mec was the most widely-anticipated debut of 2013, so I guess it's not too surprising that its follow-up, Petit Trois, would wind up in a similar position this year. Yes, this is the long-awaited bar à la carte concept from Ludo Lefebvre and his Animal partners Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook, the one that had been teased since last December. Petit Trois bowed earlier than expected on the evening of the 23rd after about a month of friends & family type dinners that saw the likes of Nancy Silverton and, oddly enough, Justin Timberlake come in for a meal.

Petit Trois's a simple, casual place, a neighborhood-y type joint ostensibly reminiscent of similar bars in France, with day-to-day operations run by none other than Sydney Hunter III, who's looking much cleaner-cut these days. Hunter, if you recall, first cooked with Ludo at L'Orangerie, then worked at Bastide under Giraud, Ludo, Manzke, and Shoemaker. He then went over to Riva and Fraiche, then got back together with his old mentor at LudoBites (5.0 and 6.0) before returning to Bastide as head toque. His last post was at Cafe Pinot in Downtown, where he replaced Kevin Meehan.

Petit Trois Interior
Petit Trois takes over the address of the middling Tasty Thai next door to Trois Mec. Construction began in earnest at the end of February, and the whole space was penned by Estee Stanley. It's a cozy, classic, vaguely French-ish sort of affair, with 21 stools plus some standing room for both the marble-topped counter and narrow wooden bar along the wall.

Petit Trois Menu Petit Trois Drink List Petit Trois Lunch Menu
As for Petit Trois' menu, expect spendy, traditional-tending bistro-y fare at dinner, executed with aplomb (I guess that rumored burger never materialized). Lunch is composed of two sandwiches (starting off with a jambon-beurre and pan-bagnat), which are limited to 200 portions apparently, available for dine-in or to-go. Meanwhile, a "late night menu" (served past 10:00p) comprises a single dish, the iconic croque monsieur. To imbibe, you'll get a smattering of beer and wine, as well as old school-leaning cocktails from Bar Manager Danielle Motor. Click for larger versions.

PANACHE [$7.00] | Kronenberg 1664, Rieme Sparkling Limonade
Speaking of those cocktails, we began with two of the lighter ones. The Panache (pronounced with the accent on the "e") was basically a shandy of sorts. It's a combo of beer and sparkling lemonade that worked out beautifully, with its sweet-n-sour citrus flavors really mellowing out the inherent bitterness in the Kronenberg. Super refreshing, and super well integrated.

JASMINE & TONIC [$14.00] | Jasmine Vodka, Lime Juice, Tonic
The Jasmine & Tonic was similarly light, bright, and effervescent, with a strong lime character to even out the weight of the vodka. I would've liked to have tasted more from the jasmine, though.

Bread & Butter
Bread was suitably crusty out the outside, but fluffy on the inside, and went swimmingly with the particularly lush butter included. Note that bread & butter used to be on the menu for $3, but has apparently been taken off and turned into a complimentary item.

TOMATO SALAD [$14.00] | Mussels, Red Onions
Tomato salads are typically pretty dull, but this one managed to be perhaps the most interesting version I've encountered. The key was the use of mussels, which imparted a briny, savory depth to the dish that definitely worked with the juicy sweetness of those tomatoes. I also appreciated the astringency and crunch provided by the onions, and the basil aromatics were a great finishing touch. Very pleasantly surprised here.

CHICKEN LEG [$29.00] | Brioche Butter, Green Salad, Parsley
The confit(?) chicken leg-thigh was also one that surprised us with how tasty it was. The bird conveyed a pretty marvelous, super buttery flavor, and the brioche breadcrumbs were a welcome accompaniment as well. Lovely use of the frisée salad here too, which had a light, acidic zing to it that really balanced out the chicken.

MAURESQUE [$16.00] | Ricard Pastis, Orgeat, Pear Brandy, Lime
French for "Moorish," the Mauresque is a traditional beverage from the south of France. It's definitely worth a shot if you're a fan of anise-y flavors, with the assertive taste of the liqueur melding well with the moderating sweetness of orgeat, the lime imparting a bit of an exclamation mark to the cocktail.

BELLOCQ'S SHOT [$14.00] | Rye Whisky, Housemade Pastis Sugar Cube, Creole Bitters
A variation on the traditional Sazerac, the Bellocq's Shot was the booziest cocktail of the bunch, with a strong whiskey character tempered somewhat by the astringency of the bitters.

STEAK TARTARE [$19.00] | Frites, Lettuces
The tartar was a must-get for us, and was one of the stronger versions I've tried, with a fine-spun, almost silken texture. Tiny, pickle-y bits mixed in provided an offsetting piquancy to the beef, and the fries were a natural accompaniment. Great with the toast below, too. Yum.

Boston Lettuce
Accompanying the tartare was a Boston lettuce salad (I believe with a Dijon vinaigrette), which used to be a standalone dish on the menu. The leaves were appropriate buttery, making for a soft, slick, tangy salad that effectively countered the potency of the meat above.

BARDOT [$14.00] | Gin, Suze, Ruby Grapefruit, St. Germain
My favorite cocktail of the evening was the Bardot, thanks to its delightfully sweet, citrus-y character perfectly balanced out by the bite of the Suze.

PETIT PRINCE [$14.00] | Gin, Crème de Violette, Lemon, Luxardo
The Petit Prince also made use of gin, though wasn't quite as successful. I appreciated the sweet, floral nature of the violette here, though the lemon was a bit too forward for my liking.

OMELETTE [$18.00] | Chives, Boursin Cheese, Boston Lettuce, Dijon Vinaigrette
Petit Trois' omelet is quickly becoming the restaurant's signature dish, and it's not hard to see why. I don't think I'd ever had a version quite so decadent, with the omelet just dripping with lush, runny Boursin, a dash of black pepper doing a fantastic job in moderating the experience. Great counterpoint from the butterhead lettuce to boot. Damn good, and a must-try.

STEAK FRITES [$39.00] | Onion Soup Sauce
Our final savory brought out Petit Trois' rendition of the classic steak frites. Made with the traditional rump steak instead of a rib-eye or strip loin, the meat wasn't as tender as I'd expected, but was loaded with plenty of bovine flavor. A sauce recalling soupe à l'oignon added further savoriness and sweetness to the mix, but I preferred to enjoy the steak unadorned. And as with the tartare above, some lovely fries to go along.

The cheese course comprised three selections, all to my liking: a creamy smooth goat's milk Chabichou; a rich, palate-coating Reblochon; and a particularly pungent presentation of Camembert.

RAPID FIRE [$16.00] | Gin, Spiced Wine Reduction, Champagne, Lemon
At this point, we'd had six of the seven cocktails, so we decided we might as well run the gamut. I quite like the Rapid Fire, with its palpable touch of sweet spice playing nicely off the zing of lemon, the bubbly adding a touch of vivacity to the mix.

CHOCOLATE CAKE [$10.00] | Whipped Cream
And now for the sweet stuff. Petit Trois' chocolate cake was fairly prototypical, the dark, sugary notes from the cake lightened up quite a bit by the fluffy dollop of whipped cream up top.

NAPOLEON [$10.00] | Tahitian Vanilla
Our meal ended on a very high note with this Napoleon, a perfectly executed version of the classic dessert that blended crisp, crusty strata of puff pastry with luscious layers of vanilla cream, the whole thing teeming with a delectable sweet spice. Fantastic textural contrast here as well, in probably the tastiest mille-feuille type dessert I've had.

Petit Trois is a place that's almost bound to be mired in hype and controversy, what with its credit card only-no phone-no reservations-mandatory tip policies and whatnot, not to mention the whole aura of Ludo looming over. If you can just try to strip away all that, you're left with some really solid brasserie-esque French cookery, which is a pretty drastic change from the food next door at Trois Mec. It'll be interesting to see how this places evolves, whether or not it'll become the type of neighborhood-y place originally envisioned.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

$30 for a chicken leg, LMAO. You and your buddies must have your heads buried up each other's asses

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 3:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Ryan said...

The cheese plate appears to be quite the profit center at $18. I needed a magnifying glass to see those portions.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 8:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a French speaker, I can tell you that "panache" definitely does not mean "mixed".

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Anon #1: No one ever said that this was supposed to be a value-conscious restaurant.

Ryan: I'm sure that's not the sole profit center.

Anon #2: Looking further into the term, it's not exactly clear, so I've removed the offending text. However, there is some support of the "mixed" definition here.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 1:15:00 PM  
Anonymous nomsnotbombs said...

RE: Justin Timberlake at an F&F dinner: he is married to Jessica Biel, whose stylist is Estee Stanley.

Can't wait to try Petit Trois!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 3:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great review and can't wait to try this place! But, I think the bread and butter are complimentary not complementary (though I'm sure they complement each other perfectly.) ;-)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 5:14:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Misty: Huh, interesting connection there. Small world I guess?

Anon #3: Ah good catch; I've updated the post accordingly. And yes, they were indeed quite complementary.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 7:57:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

It's my dream to eat at Petit Trois.
I really love Chef Ludo concept and I'm so curious to try every single dish! Unfortunally I'm Italian, so I have to wait a little to come!!

Thursday, July 31, 2014 4:51:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

That omelette looks like quintessence of french omelettes. And that steak tartare... ahh I must have them all! I trust all in the hands of Ludo after eating at Trois Mec last year. I can still taste that lamb belly and paired wine...

Thursday, July 31, 2014 1:46:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

PS What is up with all the haters lately? Lame! I always look forward to your informative and enviable posts!

Thursday, July 31, 2014 1:50:00 PM  
Blogger Micah Zehnder said...

I know money isn't a concern for you, and I know this isn't a value-orient establishment, but are you truly not bothered at all by being charged $30 for a single chicken leg, or $40 for streak frites?

Friday, August 01, 2014 5:50:00 AM  
Blogger Sam C. said...

Thanks for posting man! Gotta love it when you get the new restaurants covered and make me miss less of LA. :)

And I don't know why people are bagging on Kevin on how he spends his money. He pays for quality for the food he eats. I mean, you can always go to KFC for value if you'd like.

Friday, August 01, 2014 9:03:00 AM  

Sam C et al. - I don't think the issues is that people are "worried" how Kevin spends his money but part of a good review should always include if the dishes are somehow reasonably priced. With tasting menus it can sometimes be difficult but with single dishes not so much and a single chicken leg for ~$30 or steak frites for ~$40 is definitely worth a discussion if the food is "this" good or a chef is trying to cash in on his name otherwise a blogger appears more to be a uncritical "chef groupie"

Friday, August 01, 2014 12:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Tom said...

You don't consider Kevin to be a Ludo "groupie"? LOL. I would.

Also, Kevin is a blogger...not an actually published food critic. He lacks the international food experience by a SUBSTANTIAL margin. That or I missed his sections covering his trips to Great Britain, Spain, Italy, France, Netherlands, et al.. Wait, I didn't miss those sections.

This isn't hating either, just actual facts. It's clear he's got the cash so let's see a little international coverage. How about Noma, 41 Degrees, The Fat Duck, El Celler de Can Roca, the list goes on. Heck, Michelin stopped publishing the Los Angeles guide for a reason LOL.

Friday, August 01, 2014 1:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This place seems outrageous even compared to the usual places you eat. $18 for a regular classic french omelette? The best omelette in France doesn't cost that much.

Friday, August 01, 2014 8:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Al said...

Unless preferences are assumed to be homogeneous, a value criteria wouldn't add much to the, literal, picture. If KevinEats said that the omelette represented good value, what would that mean? Even if we all shared preferences, the appeal of a given year of meals is not independent of the composition of meals. Imagine listing your highest value courses for each price. You would not necessarily be happiest exclusively eating from that list. Transitivity is for academics. The percentage spending on wealth also plays a role. If one type of candy was better than another by a miniscule margin, but cost 2 cents to other at 1 cent, you would probably pay 2 cents. It's just not a significant portion of your wealth, yet you experience a noticeable improvement.

Who can deny that there is consumption inequality? It may have serious negative consequences. But there may be more appropriate venues for tackling inequality than a food blog comment section.

Saturday, August 02, 2014 12:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom you sound like a huge douche

Saturday, August 02, 2014 9:33:00 AM  
Blogger 12345 said...

Agreed, Tom does sound like a douche

Sunday, August 03, 2014 1:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Ryan said...

Tom may sound like a douche, but that doesn't make him wrong. Just food for thought.

Monday, August 04, 2014 8:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haters = Losers with shot palette. So much easier to say that a $30 chicken leg isn't worth it compared to why it MAY actually be worth it...

Tom et al, why don't you publish your own blog on biggest bang for the buck and rate Cheesecake Factory as the number 1 restaurant in LA? Oh wait... I think I saw you there the other day.

In all seriousness, if Kevin tells you the price, you can decide whether its worth the price or not. Michelin doesn't knock a restaurant down a star for being pricey.

Monday, August 18, 2014 4:42:00 PM  
Anonymous kermit said...

Tom is shrill, rude and doesn't know what he's talking about, BUT...

...this review kind of sucks. It doesn't really contextualize this cooking at all and $30 for a chicken leg is fucking ridiculous. you are paying a premium because it's Ludo. I get that, but even at Bouchon—another name-driven place—$30 buys you the entire chicken. And it's Thomas. Fucking. Keller.

Also, it's bistro food. Not brasserie.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014 8:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BrianZen: I think you mean "palate."

Thursday, August 21, 2014 2:27:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home