Petit Trois opened today next to the uber-successful Trois Mec. The restaurant was the dream of Ludo Lefevre. He longed for the little neighborhood eateries of his French homeland. Along with partners Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (Animal, Son of a Gun, Trois Mec), he took over the Thai restaurant next door and crafted his little slice of heaven. From the gold leaf in the window to the black and white checkered floor, he has recreated a bit of Paris.
When I first heard the rules enforced at Petit Trois — closed weekends, no telephone, no reservations, credit card only, 18% tip added, first come first served, I have to admit I was worried that it was going to be a pain in the ass. I came prepared with comfortable shoes and a bottle of water ready to face a long line. I even parked a city block away. My worries could not have been more unfounded. There was plenty of street parking, and no wait at all for a stool. The server was pleasant and efficient, and the kitchen ran like a well-oiled machine.
Chef Sydney Hunter was brought on board (Petit Quatre?) as chef de cuisine. He formerly worked as Ludo’s sous chef at Bastide and L’Orangerie. The lunchtime menu consists of two sandwiches, which will vary. Today was all about the Nicoise Pan Bagnat and Jambon-Beurre. While it is strange to have two meal selections and seven cocktail selections, if you’re going to make sandwiches of this caliber you don’t really need to do anything else.
The enormous Nicoise Pan Bagnat arrived on a hearty bread with confit tuna (fancy!), red onion, bell pepper, olive, egg, celery, and radish. The olive was added with a restrained hand, so it didn’t take over as it often can. The Jambon-Beurre, a standard ham and butter sandwich on a baguette that can be bought at nearly every corner in Paris, was elevated by quality ham, and the genius addition of honey. The cornichons brought an element of excitement to each bite.
Bar manager Danielle Motor mixed me up a gorgeous Fleur de Mal (a nod to Baudelaire). The cocktail was made with Rose petal-infused vodka, ruby grapefruit and lemon. I love floral notes, but it would not be overpowering for someone who is not as much of a fan as I am. It was light and refreshing, a nice pairing with the Nicoise Pan Bagnat and the scorching sun outside. The bar also has a nice selection of beer, wine, and champagne. They even have the hard-to-find Abita Amber.
The dinner menu looks appealing with Steak Frites and Mussels Marinieres. Simple food done well appears to be their credo. Be forewarned, between 10pm and midnite your only choice is a Croque Monsieur. Of course, with the way these guys can cook, people will probably eye their watches, just waiting to get their hands on a Croque Monsieur.