Petit Trois: Too many rules and French food that does not thrill you

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After a long day at work, all I wanted was to grab a bite to eat. I figured that the new Petit Trois was just the place to satisfy my French food craving. The guys behind Trois Mec, (Chef Ludo Lefebvre and Animal’s Jon Shook, and Vinny Dotolo), just opened Petit Trois to expand their restaurant empire. I had just read that Petit Trois is a take on a French Parisian bistro with strict rules that a liberal like me has to abide to. After an hour of dining, Petit Trois’s bistro setting and food didn’t exactly wow me.  

I arrived Petit Trois at around 6:00PM when the place was almost to capacity where I was immediately whisked to one of the last three bar stools. I took advantage of the mirror in front of me to spy people-watch.  I had a clear view of Chef Ludo Lefebvre. He wasn’t cooking like I hoped he would, but was prepping final touches of each dish before its service to the customers. He looked pretty excited and in good spirits for the opening of Petit Trois. He was far more sociable this time around versus the days of his old Ludo Bites pop-ups when he was being a typical moody French man. (By the way, I really miss Ludo Bites and Chef Ludo’s talent in fusing Asian cuisine with his French culinary talents. I especially miss eating his take on the French food classic Boudin Noir). 

With small quarters comes plenty of noise. I quite liked the lively atmosphere Petit Trois. The hustle and bustle surrounded me that I soon felt a little claustrophobic. Then my slight anxiety settled a bit when I got the menu to look at the offerings. It’s a tiny 8-item menu of savory and sweets. The handful of French Bistro classics are a Green Bean Salad ($14), Steak Tartare ($19), a Chicken Leg ($29), an Omelette ($14), and Steak Frites ($49). The French dessert selections are a French Cheese plate ($12), Chocolate Cake ($10), or a Napoleon ($10).  

The Cocktail menu was impressive as are the modest French beer and wine selections. I gravitated for a glass of the 2012 Bourgogne Rouge, Roland Thevenin (a Pinot Noir from Burgundy, France)  to start off my evening. I freakin’ love Bourgogne’s and I figured it will go well with the Steak Tartare and the Steak Frites.   As a matter of fact, my wine did pair nicely with my dinner choices. 

After placing my orders, I got iced cold water and baguette to nibble on. That one bite of the French Baguette was surreal.  If I was shackled and thrown into some medieval prison cell for stealing, I hope that it is THIS bread that eat for the rest of my life. I love the French Baguette. It has a wonderful almost toasty caramel flavor. It’s also crusty, but not too hard to chew on and it tastes perfect without any butter. With good bread making my first impression I felt there was hope in the quality of food. Like watching the star chef cooking in reality cooking shows, Chef Ludo’s food is not always executed perfectly. 

A few minutes later, Chef Ludo dropped off my Steak Tartare (pictured above). I loved it, but didn’t like the choice of bread that accompanied it. By itself, the Steak Tartare was delicious! The raw minced meat had a nice bright taste of fennel fronds or dill. The grilled sliced piece of French Country bread was plain ghastly. It was sliced way too thick and tasted like the gas grill that it was grilled on. I especially didn’t like that it was not toasted, but grilled. I felt that the Steak Tartare tasted the best with the light textured and very flavorful French Baguette that I still had in my bread basket. Thank goodness I had plenty of it.

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The biggest disappointment was the Steak Frites. I loved that the sauce was rich flavorful French Onion soup. The sauce was divine; however, my steak was served cold. Yes, this steak was poorly executed.  If I had to change something about this dish, I would change the cut of the steak to a nice rib-eye cooked medium rare. At least a rib-eye steak has plenty of flavor and would accompany that nice French Onion soup sauce wonderfully. 

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The final disappointment was the Napoleon. The puff pastry had a nice light texture, but it was too dry and flaky like it was in the oven longer than expected. Vanilla custard filling was missing the sugar as it was not sweet enough. Overall, this dessert needed to be sweeter. 

I don’t know….I mean, I really don’t know what to else to say about Petit Trois other than my whole dining experience there was a big disappointment. I love Chef Ludo Lefebvre and I am fully aware of his culinary talents. I also love that there is another restaurant that features Chef Ludo’s way of cooking. However, this time around, his food didn’t excite me as there was only a few hits and way too many misses. 

Petit Trois

718 HIghland Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 

http://petittrois.com/