We finally did it. We went to Trois Mec. Widely considered one of the best restaurants in L.A. (and in the country, according to Eater.com), Trois Mec is the easy-to-miss strip-mall-fine-dining joint from chefs Ludo Lefebvre, Vinny Dotolo, and Jon Shook. And as easy as it is to drive by it and never even notice it, it's just as difficult to actually get to eat there. Weeks in advance, they release a batch of tickets for upcoming dates, and you have to get up at 8am to reserve these pricey seats. The whole restaurant only has about 5 tables and a few bar seats (which are, of course, always filled), and an open kitchen to enhance this intimate experience. And the food was some of the most inventive and creative we've ever had.
The 5 course dinner began with an assortment of "snacks," which were some of my favorite dishes of the whole meal. The first was a butternut squash consommé with a cream on top. It was rich, savory, sweet, and completely delicious, with the consistency of hot chocolate. Mmmmmm. Next was a mini tart with sunchoke purree, which was great.
Next was a crispy tapioca dish and garlic bread, which were both really nice. The tapioca reminded me of a more refined fried mac n' cheese, with a crispy exterior and creamy interior. The garlic bread was a nice, moist, fluffy take on the dish.
Our last snack was a miso creme brulee with salmon roe. It was an interesting and surprising combination, but I definitely appreciate the savory aspect of the creme brulee and the briney, salty addition of the roe.
Our first course were Nantucket Bay Scallops with fennel, cucumber, and almond. The flavors were subtle but delicious, and the dish was light and bright. Definitely a fun first course.
A favorite of the night, the second course was lamb tartare with buckwheat tabbouleh and avocado. The lamb tartare was delicious and flavorful, while the tabbouleh added a nice crunch and the avocado added a subtle creaminess. We would eat this again and again.
One of the most interesting dishes of the night was the smoked eel on white chocolate mashed potatoes. The chocolate taste was subtle, but added a sweetness and depth of flavor to the mashed potatoes, while the smoked eel was really nicely cooked and gave this dish a strong savory element.
The "entree" dish was the grilled beef belly with eggplant mole and charred onion. The mole was really flavorful, the beef was perfectly cooked, and the onions were great. Overall, the dish was good. All the components individually were fantastic, but all together, I felt like it should have wowed.
For dessert, we were served a gold rice pudding with brown butter and egg yolk. This was a really interesting dessert, with sweet, savory, and salty elements that all worked well together. It's an atypical but really enjoyable dessert.
After dessert, we got a few little mignardises as snacks. The marshmallow was great, and the other one (not sure what it was) was a bit overcooked.
Overall, the meal was one of the most interesting and thought-provoking meals I've had. However, maybe it was the hype and expectation, but I felt that the dishes lacked something. Inventive? Absolutely. Creative? Incredibly. But they needed more of that umami factor; instead of every dish 'wowing' me, they usually invoked reactions of "hmmm, that's so interesting." Every dish was complex with many fantastic elements, but I would hesitate to call it The Best Meal I've Ever Had.