Tucked into the corner of an inconspicuous mini-mall on Highland, in the Street/Mozza hood sits Trois Mec, a collaboration between pop-up pioneer and media darling Ludo Lefebvre and Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo of Animal and Son of a Gun. As you pass under the sign that still says “Raffallo’s” you are transported into a sleek, cozy restaurant that manages to have everything that needs to be there and nothing that doesn’t.
Parties of two are seated on comfortable stools facing the kitchen, a”chef’s table,” if you will. You can watch the action, josh with Ludo and ask Joon questions about the dishes. Service is a combination of formal and friendly that made me think someone was stealing my seat when the waiter unexpectedly pulled out my chair for me. We were offered the choice of complimentary glass of medium-bodied burgundy or a refreshing hibiscus lemonade. The lemonade smartly went light on the hibiscus, keeping the bright, strawberry-red drink from becoming too tannic.
Normally Trois Mec serves light, vegetable-centric dishes that can be a bit of a challenge to the diner. At Ludo’s Sunday dinner, however, dishes are homey and hearty, easily something Mom would make. Your palate is not completely off the hook though, as tomato tartar, which my mom would have simply referred to as “tomato salad” is seasoned with bits of dried black olive and ground wakame seaweed, both of which add a definite brininess to the dish.
The Beef bourguignon was more traditional, redolent with herbs and bathed in the thick gravy New Orleanians refer to as “debris”. Potato mousseline was whipped for 30 minutes until it formed thick clouds, stopping short of turning gluey. The rich dish included one pound of butter for every two potatoes. Just like at home, we were all treated to second helpings.
The pièce de résistance arrived in the form of an apple tart with a flaky puff pastry. It was hard not to pornographically urge on one of the the chefs as he brushed the tarts with melted butter, “Yeah, more butter, that’s the way we like it, brush those apples!” We were served our own clay bowl heaping with whipped cream and little pitchers of caramel sauce. Pure heaven.
One of our fellow diners paused to look around the small restaurant at all of the happy tables and commented, “Sunday lunch. How civilized.”
Reservations and payment at Trois Mec is handled using a cutting-edge system of ticketing. Some drinks are complimentary and some are not. Sunday Lunch with Ludo Lefebvre is $90 for a party of two and can be purchased through Mastercard Priceless. The site is also a good way for Mastercard holders to score dinner reservations for Trois Mec if they miss the Friday morning ticket release.