99 Essential Restaurants 2014

Trois Mec

photo by Anne Fishbein

When Trois Mec opened in April it had so much personality, and so much about it felt fresh and exhilarating, that it was hard to imagine it could get much better. But brace yourselves: Trois Mec has undoubtedly gotten better. The tiny nook of a restaurant, a collaboration between Ludo Lefebvre and Animal chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, still boasts all the excitement Lefebvre was putting on the plate in those early days — but if anything, the cooking has become more heady, more precise and more creative. And that’s although it was pretty damn impressive to begin with. It’s hard to think of another chef who could make the highlight of a meal out of a grilled cabbage leaf, but Lefebvre chars the sturdy leaf and serves it with a silken miso flan, smoked almond milk anglaise and fennel pollen. It’s shockingly good. Every dish in the five-course tasting, in fact, is a small revelation (a dessert made out of brie creme, apple butter and toasted barley? Yes, please). The wine list, too, has matured into a thing of beauty, completely worthy of the food it complements. Yes, you have to buy tickets in advance through a janky website. Yes, the system often crashes. And yes, the place is a tad hard to find. But once you’re here, it’s like an intimate dinner party where the hosts play French hip-hop, pour amazing wine and serve what may well be the best food in town.

-- Besha Rodell