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First Look: Petit Trois, from Ludo Lefebvre, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, opens Thursday

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Petit Trois, from Ludo Lefebvre, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, opens Thursday
After weeks of test dinners, Petit Trois will be opening Thursday next to L.A. hot spot Trois Mec

After weeks of test dinners, Petit Trois will be opening Thursday next to L.A. hot spot Trois Mec, the 24-seat restaurant run by Ludo Lefebvre, Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook. The three chefs garnered media attention by offering no traditional reservations at Trois Mec; instead, hopeful diners log on to a ticketing system to pre-purchase seats that quickly sell out.

Angelenos won't have to play restaurant lotto at the new (even smaller) Petit Trois. It’s first come, first served only with 21 bar stools (plus standing room) in the narrow but cozy space, designed by Estée Stanley Designs.

Petit Trois is Lefebvre’s long-awaited love letter to his native France, where chef de cuisine Sydney Hunter (L'Orangerie, LudoBites, Cafe Pinot) will be running the day-to-day operations. Much like Trois Mec, Dotolo and Shook will offer support on the business and operational side.

Lefebvre said he missed the traditional French bar experience, the neighborhood spot where you stop in regularly to see your friends. Petit Trois is just that, it’s “bar a la carte,” where “one drops by for a plate of food and a cocktail or two.”

Classic checkerboard flooring sets the casual mood. One side of the tiny room features a marble-topped bar with a full view of the lively kitchen. But even if you’re sitting at the narrow bar across the room, or standing with a cocktail, large arched mirrors help keep the room convivial.

Open Monday through Friday (12:30 p.m. to midnight), the menu of traditional French dishes (no burger here) will evolve and include specials. Two sandwiches will be available for lunch each day, for dining in or to go. Opening sandwiches include Pan-bagnat (tuna) and the humble French favorite jambon-beurre (ham and butter). 

Dinner service begins at 5:30 p.m. A few selections include an omelet that oozes Boursin cheese (Lefebvre's favorite as a child). It's the same creamy, spreadable Gournay cheese found at most supermarkets. Mussels marinieres are scented with vadouvan, a French curry spice that the chef mixes in-house. Steak frites come topped with an onion soup sauce, a nod to the classic soupe a l'oignon, which will most likely be on the menu when the weather cools. There’s also steak tartare and a confit chicken leg made with breadcrumbs from brioche dough.

Bar manager Danielle Motor will be offering 10 signature cocktails plus a full bar with beer and wine. And yes, the bar will be open during lunch hours.

After 10 p.m. food service is limited to one thing, and one thing only – the croque monsieur. No twists to the French grilled cheese sandwich, “just a classic croque monsieur like in Paris. We save the twists for Trois Mec,” said Lefebvre.

“You go to Petit Trois for a plate of food and a cocktail, not a long tasting menu or a bunch of small plates – a real dish on a single plate.”  

Petit Trois is set to open Thursday with lunch service. No cash. Credit card only. 

718 N. Highland Ave, Los Angeles, www.petittrois.com.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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