If you haven't heard of Trois Mec; Ludo Lefebvre's restaurant on Highland and Melrose, listen up...... we celebrated my brother Gary's birthday there last night. It took about 2 weeks to get a reservation and before that you have to register online. You have to be patient and keep calling and when you get the reservation, you feel like you hit the jackpot except you end up paying for a non-refundable ticket of $75 which isn't that bad.
There were 6 of us and 3 people in our party have been there previously. If you just go by their address, you will probably blame your GPS for sending you to the wrong place. You end up on a strip mall which includes Yum-Yum donuts, a cleaners and a French place called Petit Trois and Raffallo's Pizza. Raffallo's Pizza is Trois Mec. We were all there before our reservation time of 6:00 p.m. We were warned that they do not wait for anyone, they start serving with or without the rest of your party. As we waited for the doors to open, Gary tried to peek at Petit Trois which had shades on the window so he couldn't really see inside. While he was investigating, the Great Chef Ludo came out to check on something outside. Gary asked him if this was going to be a wine bar and he curtly answered: "Different Concept" and went back in. I don't care care who you are but in my book, there is absolutely no excuse for rudeness. Oh well, I was there to eat and not to kiss Chef Ludo!
We were seated as soon as we got in. It is a small, clean and a very casual place. They started bombarding us with the snacks which were amazing. I asked if they could slow down as there was not enough time to savor each one. We were told that this was the way the snacks were to be served. (wham, bam, thank you ma'am..). There was the Buckwheat Popcorn which tasted like chopped chicharon with vinegar, then came the Garlic Bread which was the most incredible garlic bread we ever had! It tasted like it was soaked in butter for 24 hrs. then topped with melted cheese and topped with green onions and maybe basil; not sure what else was in or on it but it truly was the best. The other snack we all loved was the Crispy Tapioca with passion fruit and parmesan. It was an OMG moment! Then there was a miniature salad that was just as edible.
As we literally inhaled the devoured the snacks, our first "plate" arrived. Crab Ceviche with thin slices of creamy avocado, citrus and buckwheat popcorn. This was very good. I think this would have been a great entree. This plate was followed by a Jamon Iberico with tomato pulp, charred eggplant and smoked tomato; also very good; of course how could it not be when you have the finest of hams.
The next dish was Radish with burnt bread, fromage blanc and furikake. This impressed me as it is hard to make radish exciting and this would have been a vegetarian's delight.
We did order the supplement for the evening. The supplement for an extra $15 could only be had if the whole table orders it.....and so we did. This was Confit Squid with white asparagus, caper puree and mascarpone. Milena is allergic to squid so I had to sacrifice and consume hers. The mascarpone was a nice touch as it went very well with the squid.
The last plate was Veal Belly with crispy artichokes and parmesan. This was a bit of a disappointment as this veal could have used some liposuction. We all understood that it had to have some fat but this was too fatty and was even hard to cut. I might have enjoyed it better if it was crispy, but to eat soft fat was not appetizing. The artichokes were crispy alright but it didn't do anything for me. In fact, I would not have know they were artichokes. Fried kale would have been better.
Dessert was quite delicious. Strawberry cake with meringue and chantilly. The cake was very moist and light. It was a good finale. After dessert, they brought out a serving of caramel and cannelle for each of us.
In summary, I was happy to experience the food at Trois Mec. The staff was attentive to our needs though we thought that they lacked the passion on the explanation of the courses. They often rattled the ingredients of a dish like reading from a script. We had to ask them to repeat what they recited. Adam, the manager was friendly and professional. My experience might have been a lot better if I didn't see Chef Ludo hanging around with absolutely no concern for any of his customers. I expect a chef/owner to be a little more gracious and welcoming to his customers. Everyone said he is really that way on T.V. etc. etc. This is not T.V. nor is this a show. This is the real world and I think he should lose the attitude.
In the parking lot, there was this sign which I thought was funny when I saw it first...............but at the end of our meal, it took in a new meaning: no longer a joke as this was truly a sign of the chef's attitude and arrogance.
Note: I have met some of the best chefs like Guy Savoy, Yves Camdeborde of Le Comptoir, David Myers, Nancy Silverton, David Feau and one thing they have in common aside from talent is humility. This is probably why they are still around.