The Distinguished Gourmand: Trois Mec
A birthday comes but once a year. For some, I suppose, it can come more often. Perhaps (if you’re a woman) you celebrate the day of your birth and the day you gave birth to a child? For me, there is but one celebration each year. And usually, it occurs in late April. This year I was out of town for my birthday. Yes, I enjoyed a delicious Italian dinner in New Jersey with my mom – followed by local cupcakes with my father – but it wasn’t anything like last year’s Vespertine experience. So, a proper Los Angeles birthday dinner for my 36th birthday had to wait until this past weekend.
On Saturday night, a surprise reservation was made for Trois Mec. I’ve really, really wanted to dine there ever since its opening in 2013. Alas, I am philosophically opposed to their reservation system, which asks potential diners to accept a system whereby you have to reserve a table a month in advance by buying “tickets” to a meal when they are released on a specific day and time. Much like waiting in line for a pair of sneakers, or an Instagrammable baked good, or a beer release, I value my time too much to jump through hoops for a restaurant reservation. Of course, for this happy birthday meal I didn’t have to do any of the work. So I was more than content to sit back, let someone else do the work, and reap the delicious benefits of her labor!
Upon arriving at Trois Mec – a restaurant with a max capacity of maybe 30 guests – we are told our seats are maybe 15 minutes from being ready. So, we walk next door to the cafe Petite Trois for a glass of wine. When ready, we are lead to a counter overlooking the kitchen. I could not have asked for a better seat. We could observe the preparation of every dish before it made its way out of the kitchen. We could ask questions, we received detailed explanations by those preparing and expediting our meal, and it really heightened the experience. Should you be planning a night at Trois Mec, you should totally request a seat at the counter. I don’t know if their byzantine ticket system allows for such requests…but try!
Our first dish of the night (not pictured) was simply called “Apérol,” and it consisted of a tiny glass filled with an iced Apérol-y bite. Super botanical and bitter with hints of orange, it was a nice way to cleanse our palates and prepare for the onslaught of flavors. There was a glass of Prosecco-like sparkling wine to welcome us as well.
While munching on our shaved ice apérol, we were upsold on the “classic” wine pairing, which I believe included 7 half-glasses of wine to be paired with most of the courses we received. It was at this time I also learned my dining companion would be receiving a vegetable-based meal, whereas I would receive the standard daily tasting menu. Trois Mec offers a six-course menu, so the reason you’ll be seeing way more than six photos is because we received several courses that were different from one another, and I wanted to try everything. I was kind of shocked that she opted for a vegetarian meal, and chided her for not just keeping an open mind and trying everything, no matter what…
Just before we received the Panna Cotta our server arrived at the counter with a tiny birthday candle for me to blow out. It was pretty apparent when he inferred he was asked to have something birthday-related for me that they weren’t into the whole celebratory vibe at Trois Mec, but it still made for a very nice touch. Our final tastes of the night were a bite of strawberry mochi and a small chocolate tart. Before the conclusion of the meal I was presented with a menu (complete with “Joyeux Anniversaire!” scribbled on it) and wine pairing chart. We also got some peanuts to take home as well as little jars of herbs de provence, which will surely be used in some potato, fish or chicken-based dish in the near future. Can you use them in eggs? I feel like they’d make eggs taste much French-ier.
So that was it! That was my big 36th birthday gift, and I really enjoyed it. The spot prawn, the lamb, the scallop and matcha powder dish…there were some unbelievable good plates served on my first trip to Trois Mec. I hope it does not take another six years for me to return. The good news is we got that wine pairing chart at the end of the meal, so if we can find some of our favorite bottles in the wild we can revisit the memory of our meal throughout the year. My 37th birthday is going to have to be pretty special to compete with this meal and last year’s meal. Stay tuned…
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