Stories / Awards, Interviews

Interview with Ludo Lefebvre of Best New Restaurant Nominee Petit Trois

Anna Mowry

Anna Mowry

May 04, 2015


Petit Trois is a 2015 Best New Restaurant Nominee

It's tempting to refer to Ludo Lefebvre's ​Petit Trois as the little sister to his Trois Mec, but this Hollywood spot is a fully formed homage to Parisian bistro culture, from the space's feel-good, lively ambiance to the kitchen's technically precise omelette. Read on for Lefebvre's insights on his 2015 Best New Restaurant nominee. 


JBF: What made you want to open this restaurant? Had you been wanting to do a bistro? It’s a familiar concept—what details did you particularly care about getting right?

LL: I really wanted to do a restaurant with classic French food. I miss that a lot, as well as the ambiance. I wanted a little bistro where you know everybody and where you feel like you're in Paris, where life is happening, where there's magic, where there's good energy. No tables, just counters. The food is obviously very important, but it was really about creating the Parisian lifestyle and energy. I love to watch people every night, meeting their neighbors, enjoying food together, and making plans to return with their new friends. 

JBF: Petit Trois translates to “little three.” What’s the story behind the name?

LL: It is the little sitter to Trois Mec, which is next door. We wanted the two restaurants to feel "connected," but to still be very different. There are no tables, just counters and stools—it's a very tiny place.

JBF: Can you talk about a dish or two on the menu that really capture the restaurant's point of view or philosophy?

LL: The escargot. I grew up with escargot—it's from Burgundy. Everyone knows escargot is French. We're working on our new logo and sign, which will feature a snail. It's just French through and through. Also the omelette: Americans typically eat omelettes for breakfast, but in France, they're eaten for dinner. I wanted to bring this tradition of the omelette as an anytime dish to the U.S. Ours is simply eggs and cheese, and made with good technique. It's about the perfect execution. It just melts in your mouth.

JBF: Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook are your partners. Now that the restaurant is in a groove, what is your relationship like in the day-to-day management?

LL: I love them, they are amazing guys. They take care of the numbers and accounting side. I don't like that much. I want to focus on creativity and food.

JBF: The restaurant is very small, with about two dozen bar stools. What's it been like working in the space?

LL: The space next door to Trois Mec​ just became available, and it was tiny, so it was about creating something that worked in the space. You don't need tables and traditional service to have a great meal. It was a new mindset for Los Angeles. I love the small space: it brings us closer to the customer. It gives the restaurant energy. I always wanted a small restaurant with just a counter where you could feel good, have a good time, and control hospitality. I can talk to everybody. 

JBF: We realize that you probably don’t get to dine out often, but what are some of your favorite spots in LA right now?

LL: Park'ss BBQ. I love Korean barbecue and they do an amazing job. You can never go wrong with Pizzeria Mozza. Sycamore Kitchen is a great place for a casual lunch. I love my partners' fish restaurant, Son of a Gun. If I'm on the Westside, by the beach, Blue Plate Oysterette is fun for a French seafood experience. 

JBF: Last question: if you’re planning on coming to Chicago for the Beard Awards, where are you hoping to eat while you’re there?

LL: Fingers crossed that a miracle happens and I get to eat at Next.

Anna Mowry is senior editor at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.