There is no phone number to make reservations as there are no reservations. Trois Mec sells tickets to eat at their restaurant. Yes, tickets. See the restaurant is in a converted pizzeria so they only have 26 seats and instead of following in big brother Animal's footsteps, the founders of Trois Mec must have decided that if people really wanted to eat there, then they would be willing to pay for their meal upfront - and that's currently $75 per person, plus tax and 18% gratuity. Tickets go on sale every other Friday morning at 8am for an upcoming two week period, so I marked the date on my calendar thinking this would be like buying concert tickets and I would have this in the bag.
The ticket buying experience was the single worst "entertainment" experience of my life. I think it literally took years off of my life. The website is not designed for the level of traffic involved with a ticket on-sale so only the truly dedicated, or those who are willing to pay people to do this for them, will successfully get tickets. Long story short, after 45 minutes of trying during which I argued with my husband and drove to work, I finally got tickets and completed the transaction on my tiny iPhone screen. Since the restaurant has three tables for a party of four, one table for a party of six and a counter that holds four parties of two, I ended up with tickets for a party of four.
My husband and I then had to decide who to bring. It was like a Sophie's Choice between our friends and ultimately we chose a couple who are foodies like us. We explained to them all of the technicalities: meal is prepaid, restaurant is in a crappy strip center bearing the name of a pizzeria, and I have no idea what could be on the menu. They were in! At least until the day before when their children got sick and then shared their germs with their parents. So in spite of Trois Mec being "The Golden Ticket" we couldn't pay anyone to go with us. And if the reservations had been like a traditional restaurant I would have been able to either change the date or reduce the number in my party. Instead, my husband and I reached out to practically every friend we have in both LA and Orange counties which basically highlighted to all of them that they weren't our first choice.
So after pulling into the Yum Yum Donuts parking lot and finding a spot, we walked down to the Raffalo's Pizza where the front door has no sign at all, but you know you're there because there are space heaters hanging from the rafters. You see, if you don't have the first seating of the night you are forced to stand outside until your table becomes available. We walked in curious as ever as what to expect since even Google maps says the restaurant is a "compact spot with global tasting menu." Thankfully the mystery was quickly over as our menus where waiting for us at the table. Beverage choices: water, sparkling water, Coke, Diet Coke, wine.
First up: snacks. The first snack was buckwheat popcorn which had a flavor similar to salt and vinegar potato chips. They were one if those things that you ate because it was in front of you and not because you enjoyed them.
Our second snack was a sunchoke chip. Our server made a point of stressing that it was chip singular. I can't recall how else it was described, but there was definitely something creamy inside. It was a tasty bite.
No one at my table caught the name/description of the third snack because all we heard was O Nigiri Sushi Rice Ball and to the best of my knowledge there is no such thing as "O". That said, it was enjoyable. Even if I didn't know what it was.
Our fourth snack might have been my favorite dish of the night. Garlic Bread. Oh my gosh. Buttery. Garlicky. Heavenly. Literally dripping with butter. I so badly wanted more than just one bite.
Our first plate was a crab ceviche with radish flower. It was very limey and delicious and the buckwheat popcorn gave it a needed crunch. While we were given both a spoon and fork to eat it with, I found that the spoon was the only utensils needed..
We decided to go with the optional meal supplement of the scallops. When in Rome.... The dish was interesting and was not a favorite of anyone at my table. The scallops were served on top of a cauliflower purée with some yummy sesame chips and some powder that tasted like a radish. We asked our server when he came to collect the plates what the powder was and he said it was cauliflower. Huh. Good but I wouldn't order it again.
Our third dish was probably the most interesting of the night. Miso flan served with brined and grilled cabbage and a horseradish condiment. We weren't sure how to eat it and one of my friend's said "I'm Armenian, we roll everything up" and with that he made his own burrito of the dish. I chose a more conservative eating approach of just cutting things into small bites and eating them together. The dish was very umami and unique,
Next up came the starch course. I mean, what else do you call a course dedicated to potatoes? To quote Jonathan Gold of the LA Times "slightly undercooked Weiser Family Farms potatoes passed through a ricer directly onto a plate of brown butter, onion soubise and Salers cheese from the Auvergne, then sprinkled with dried Japanese bonito flakes. The texture is not cloudlike but substantial, not just grainy but super-grainy — the onion sweetness, the funk of the cheese and the smokiness of the bonito not overpowering but enhancing the mildly acerbic sharpness of real potato flavor. If ever there was an anti-Robuchon potato dish, it is this one, constructed by a chef who knows the rules all too well … a potato actually served by itself as a main dish." Couldn't have said it better myself.
The fifth dish was the rib cap which has become a very popular cut of meat in high end restaurants of late. The meat was served medium rare, thinly sliced, and was very tender. Even my friend who prefers her meat well done appreciated how good the not horrifically overcooked meat was. We were all curious (nervous!) about the smoked peanut butter, but it was actually really tasty. Probably because it was fresh peanut butter and not from a jar.
I was admittedly nervous about the dessert and asked what "creme de brie" was in hopes that it wasn't what it most obviously was. But, it was exactly that - creamed brie cheese. See, I like brie, but brie does not like me. So I approached this dish very cautiously in hopes of eating as little brie as possible. The dish was served in layers with the toasted barley on top, then some cream, the apple butter, and finally the brie. I think I would have enjoyed the dessert more had I been able to just "dive in".
Mignardises finished our meal. Mignardises are simply small desserts and tonight we were given two: a black sage marshmallow and a sunchoke ice cream choux. Neither was a hit with our party. Upon tasting the marshmallow my friend cried out "Tastes like mouthwash." And it kinda did. I mean, it was blue green, and once you got past the extremely strong sage flavor, it left a mouthwashy flavor in your mouth. As for the choux, she proclaimed "Tastes like artichoke!" And I was pretty sure that wasn't a compliment. To me it was just bitter and not worth the calories.
|Sunchoke ice cream choux and Black sage marshmallow|
The whole experience just seemed like a restaurant with too much hype to live up to. I mean, maybe I was there on an off night, but seeing as how I'll never go through the ticket buying experience again, the odds of my going back are slim to none. Well, until I make my millions off this blog and can hire someone to face the on-sale on my behalf. Until then, time to floss after my mouthwash.