Exclusive: Inside a Hidden Piece of Paris
Stepping into Petit Trois, the latest restaurant from chef Ludo Lefebvre, will make you wonder why you can’t remember landing at Charles de Gaulle or passing through customs. The smell of onions sautéing in butter may be the first thing to transport you, but the checkerboard floor, rich woodwork, and Carrera marble countertop will soon take effect. Everything you experience at Petit Trois fuels the feeling that you are far away from the Hollywood mini-mall and Tasty Thai sign that disguises the new French bar. “He said to me, ‘You’ve been to Paris?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, dude, I have.’ He said ‘Just, figure it out, make that for me,’” recalls designer Estee Stanley about her first meeting with Lefebvre. Catty-corner from Trois Mec, the first restaurant from Lefebvre and his partners Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, Petit Trois is the first of its kind in Los Angeles and the first restaurant design from Stanley.
Although traditional Parisian bars focus on wine, Lefebvre was inspired by Mad Men to do a classic cocktail program.
Stanley’s favorite? “The Fleur de Mal. I usually only drink wine, and this is really the only cocktail I like,” she says. The bar manager Danielle Motor mixes this up with rose petal-infused vodka, ruby grapefruit, and lemon juice. The vintage barware and other antique accessories were sourced by Kathy Delgado, owner of Vintageweave Interiors in Los Angeles.
The main décor element in the space is green willow boughs creeping up the walls, in classic wallpaper from the legendary British designer William Morris. “What’s funny is the wallpaper was very last minute,” says Stanley. “I’m very into waiting and seeing the vibe of a place before layering on more stuff. The bar had already been open, and it was all white walls. We all knew we needed to put something in there and that’s one of my favorite wallpapers. It’s actually in my house, too.”
“The china was all Ludo,” says Stanley. “We all spoke about having the name of the restaurant on the china, which is very French.” It’s also a genius marketing strategy in the age of food-obsessed Instagrammers. Images of chocolate cake and fluffy omelets will surely be popping up in your feed, and you’ll know where they’re from without needing to glance at the hashtag.
Trois Mec is known to have a sign over the entrance for Raffallo’s Pizza and now Petit Trois will be known for its Tasty Thai signage. When asked why they decided to keep the old sign up Stanley says: “I think they just liked the OG-ness of the building. I think it’s great, it’s funny!”
Make your way to the corner of Melrose and Highland and you can experience what Stanley calls “a really fun, well-fed night.” Besides the perfectly Parisian décor, there are myriad reasons to put your name on the waiting list (no reservations are taken). “It’s honestly the most fun I’ve had in a long time in Los Angeles. It’s not pretentious, you’re not waiting for an hour to get in, everything there is delicious, and the music is incredible. It’s a great vibe for LA that I think it was lacking.”
If you make it to Petit Trois (and we’re assuming you’re already on your way), you’ll most likely see Stanley sipping on a chilled glass of rosé at the bar. “It’s like three blocks from my house,” she says. “I knew I was always going to be there, so I had to make it incredible.”
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