"Have you ever heard of anyone doing French Mexican food before?" I asked Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo by phone yesterday. "Or French Mexican brunch?"
"No," Dotolo laughed. "I think we're all just being kind of weird right now."
The name of the restaurant will be Trois Familia, and it will soft-open sometime next week, or possibly the week after. Like Trois Mec and Petit Trois, it will be a collaboration between Shook, Dotolo and chef Ludo Lefebvre. It will be a French Mexican brunch restaurant that operates from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. daily.
Originally, the idea was to do a version of Petit Trois in Sherman Oaks, near where Lefebvre lives with his wife, Krissy and their two kids. But when the Alegria space at 3510 W. Sunset in Silver Lake became available (the owner decided to retire after 22 years in the space), it just felt right.
"When we pulled up to look at it," Shook says, "it was right across the street from El Cochinito, which was one of the first places Vinny and I ate when we came to L.A. It just felt right."
The decor has changed but the layout of Alegria has remained the same. "After opening four restaurants, we've learned how difficult the city can be when you do a lot of rebuilding," Shook says. "So the design is similar but the layout hasn’t changed. The aesthetics have changed." The space seats "32 people comfortably," he adds. In another attempt to avoid long drawn-out processes with the city, the restaurant will not have a liquor license, and there are no immediate plans to get one.
The food will be at a lower price point than any of their other restaurants, with dishes ranging from $5 to $15. "We will have a crepe with a traditional caviar setup, so that will be, like, $100. But that's one dish," Shook says. "We said Jon & Vinny's is a neighborhood restaurant, but we want this to be even more of a neighborhood restaurant." No reservations will be taken, and they're planning to have a hanging list where you write your name and wait to be called.
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Dotolo adds: "Obviously we want the food to be great, and the service to be great. But this is a fun little side project for us. We're not trying to be as intense as the last couple of places we've opened."
Aside from crepes (there will be a few options, both traditional and nontraditional), the restaurant will serve dishes influenced by both France and Mexico. There will be rabbit stew tacos, as well as the simple French breakfast of fresh fruit and baguette with butter and ham. The menu is still in development, but Shook says, "For Trois Mec and Petit Trois we leaned very heavily on Ludo's French upbringing. And we definitely are leaning on that here. But I think [Dotolo and I] are bringing a lot more of our own influence to this project as well."
After a private party in the space next Tuesday, the trio will evaluate how well staff is doing, and either soft-open next week or do some more training and open the following week. The Trois Familia sign is going up on the building today.
Dotolo says, "We're just excited to be a part of Silver Lake. I wanted to put Animal out there, but we couldn't find the space. This just feels like a long time coming, and to be able to do something in that neighborhood now is just really exciting."