Finally! Two months, four failed attempts, and a full on panic attack later I finally scored a table at Trois Mec, the hardest restaurant reservation in Los Angeles. Opened in early 2013 by celebrity chefs (and Food Network regulars) Ludo Lefebvre and the duo from Animal and Son of a Gun, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, this place has been booked solid since day one. When I say booked solid, I mean every single seat since the day it was opened has been filled. A baseball analogy would be to say that these three are batting a thousand (1.000) for over a year.
But I have not scratched the surface of what it really takes to get a table at Trois Mec. Landing a table is an accomplishment. A foodie badge of honor. Bragging rights. For those American Psycho fans (honestly, my favorite movie of all time)… it’s Dorsia.
First of all, it’s not just a reservation… it’s a nonrefundable ticket. That’s right, you prepay for the meal at the time of booking ($90 per person, not including drinks). Second of all, these tickets are only available at 8 AM sharp on the first and third Friday of each month for a table during the following two weeks. Third, and most importantly, these reservations are snapped up by 8:05 AM. Gone. Poof. That’s right, if you fail to click on the calendar of available slots ahead of countless other people trying to score these coveted tickets within five minutes of logging on at 8 AM, you’re out of luck for two more weeks.
Let me tell you first hand that when the website goes live at 8 AM it becomes more stressful than air traffic control. You have to enter a anti-spam password as you are racing to get to the reservation (which costs precious time) and then once you get on the actual reservation screen you begin to see all the slots disappear within seconds! My blood pressure is rising just describing this process… My various failures to secure a table were caused by 1) entering the wrong anti-spam password, 2) clicking slots that were taken a split second before I clicked Enter, and 3) general panicking and freezing as the slots started to disappear. What an ordeal!
But you know what? It’s fun. Well, once you actually land tickets it’s fun. And the process raises the anticipation for the meal like nothing else. Now on to the food. The fixed menu was as follows: four snacks – a buckwheat popcorn with hint of vinegar to cleanse the palate, a fried tapioca cake (think the best hash brown you’ve ever eaten), an elevated version of garlic toast, and finally, a delicious tiny cheese bread nugget.
five entrees – carrots with cultured coconut milk and a pesto, sliced avocado on fresh crab with buckwheat popcorn again and a very citrusy glaze, grilled cabbage with miso flan, fennel pollen, and smoked almond milk, English peas with chorizo broth and grains, beef with charred broccoli rabe and smoked peanut butter with shallot.
two desserts – strawberry with crunchy meringue with creme and chantilly flowers, and finally a liver pate creme pastry to be combined with a caramel toffee.
There were hits and misses. On the one hand, I do wish that more high end ingredients were used for the price point of the meal (truffle, fine meat cuts, fresh shellfish would have fit nicely). There was also inconsistent salting (heavy on two courses) and acid (heavy and overpowering on the avocado). On the other hand, every dish was expertly presented on the plate, creative, and unlike almost anything you can find in this town. The vibe in the dining room is casual and rock and roll – do not fear that this is a formal French dining room. Overall, it was a blast. A very fun meal and experience that I would recommend to all foodie types.
What else can I say? The place is a smash hit in this town. Esquire Magazine, James Beard, LA Magazine, the LA Times, etc, etc have given Trois Mec every restaurant award imaginable in the past year. It’s doing something (everything?) right and it is indisputably the hottest place in the city. For a fun, cutting edge, one-of-a-kind experience, give it a try.
My advice to score a table? Chew a Bayer aspirin at 7:55 AM on the next Friday morning and be prepared to click any slot you can. Your odds of getting the exact table size and time you want are minuscule; table for two dinners on Friday and Saturday are gone in a split second – do not hesitate or search the screen, just click the first slot your reflexes can find. If you freeze, they’re all gone. Be flexible, enjoy the process, enjoy the food (once you score a table), but most of all… enjoy the story you get to tell all of your friends after you’ve eaten at the hottest place in town.