Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Lunching Los Angeles: Ludo's Petit Trois

Chef Ludo Lefebvre’s tiny Petit Trois restaurant - in a strip mall on Highland at Melrose - occupies the former space of a Thai takeout place. His next-door dinner spot, Trois Mec, is in a former Raffallo’s Pizza joint.  The signage from the earlier incarnations are still on top of the building, so trust the directions and just pull in.  Yes, an actual parking lot!  No reservations, no cash and no tip calculator needed - an 18% gratuity is added to the bill.

A recent Sunday lunch at Petit Trois found the wife and me living it up like the rent wasn’t due.  Ludo’s food is like no other I have had.  My croque monsieur sandwich of ham and Mornay sauce was a rich, gooey delight.  All others from my past - dry and handheld - just fell off the list.  The omelette for Denise was perfectly done, soft and creamy.  She commented, “If you can’t cook simply, you simply can’t cook” - citing Madame Mallory in “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” who asks potential chefs to make an omelette by which they are judged.  Judging by my wife’s reaction, I’d say Ludo passed the audition.

The wife splurged on a cocktail of bourbon, lime and rosemary while I deliberated over the wine list.  The waiter answered my “red or white” solicitation with a quick reply, “The Chinon.”

Chinon - a town in France’s Loire Valley - is unusual, in that the focus is on red wine there and not white.  Cabernet Franc is their grape of choice, and they work wonders with it.  The wines of Chinon can range from light and fruity to dark and tannic, all bearing the mark of minerals.  The Domaine Grosbois Chinon 2011 falls somewhere in between.

Loads of delightfully grapy cassis aromas mix with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.  The palate also conveys a grapelike sense with the cherry and blackberry flavors.  Nice acidity and moderate tannins make for an easy sip.  The finish is rather lengthy and a slightly floral berry tartness is left behind.  I thought briefly that I might have preferred a white with the sandwich, but I certainly had no complaint about the Chinon.  It paired quite nicely with the ham and cheese.

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