Family-style dining takes over at Ludo Lefebvre’s Trois Mec, 189 by Dominique Ansel, and many other high-profile dining destinations.
A big plate of Santa Barbara prawns, sweet and briny and glowing with heaps of orange roe, hits every table at Ludo Lefebvre’s , and the guests in the restaurant are smiling or gasping or both.
Trois Mec is known for its elegant and elaborate tasting menus, but Lefebvre is doing something different for a month at his destination restaurant in Hollywood. Trois Mec’s November Table d’hôte menu is a family-style feast that’s here to remind you that sharing food is fun, that eating with your hands is deeply pleasing, and that an old-school, large-format entrée served in a Le Creuset Dutch oven can be as dramatic and delicious as any display of avant-garde cooking.
So after the prawns, lamb chops in Le Creuset cast iron land on the tables. The tender lamb chops are accompanied by a soul-warming lamb ragu, an umami-packed Parmesan risotto, and a spicy tomato sauce that goes well over everything. The Pete Townshend, R.E.M., and Billy Idol songs on the speakers and the lively conversations at each table make you feel like you’re at a dinner party instead of a fancy restaurant. The food, inspired by the flavors of Southern France and some of Lefebvre’s favorite taste memories, resembles the best kind of home cooking—that is, if the home cooking you’re used to involves dipping croutons into a perfect fish soup that pops with saffron and espelette pepper. From the charred eggplant that arrives at the table still slightly aflame to the profiteroles with white truffle inside the ice cream, Table d’hôte is here to simultaneously provide spectacle and comfort.
There’s also spectacle and comfort to spare at David Chang’s Majordomo, where the large-format selections change so often that we suggest you take a look at the latest before you visit to get an idea of what you might order. You should also call 24 hours in advance if you want to reserve some of the biggest dishes, like the smoked pork shoulder or the APL-style whole plate short rib.
Or just go to Majordomo, which is a serious contender for L.A.’s best new restaurant of 2018, and peep what everyone else has ordered. More than any other restaurant we’ve ever frequented, Majordomo is a place where you can experience FOMO about eating there while you’re actually eating there. The last time we were at Majordomo, another table saw our whole steamed rockfish with Sichuan black bean sauce and realized they had to change their entire game plan because they now had to get their own rockfish.
On another recent visit, we were with a friend who was at Majordomo for the first time. We got many shareable dishes including crispy rice with shrimp, corn, and pork; a colossal dry-aged Flannery Beef rib eye with stunningly good fries; and a pork ssam that included some excellent sausage. It was way more food than our party of four could eat, but then we saw our friend eyeing a nearby table’s short rib, a large-format dish that can feed at least six people. Why, she inquired, didn’t we also get that? MajorFOMO indeed. Chang, who opened Majordomo on the edge of downtown L.A.’s Chinatown in January, should be giving Angelenos some more large-format dining options when he unveils Momofuku Noodle Bar in West Hollywood next year.
Over at downtown L.A.’s NoMad, a recent menu update means new large-format dishes like a honey-glazed half duck with za’atar-spiced roti inspired by a trip that chef Daniel Humm took to India. NoMad Los Angeles has also changed the presentation of its famous roast chicken that’s stuffed with foie gras, black truffle, and brioche. Now the spread includes a chicken-and-mushroom rice that might be the single best thing Humm and his NoMad crew have ever done with chicken. The richness of the dark meat inside the rice and the earthiness of the mushrooms, along with all the other luxurious flavors and textures on the table, are pure spectacle and comfort.
Over at 189 by Dominique Ansel at The Grove, weekend brunch always is an interactive and communal experience with an array of family-style dishes. On November 10, as a celebration of the restaurant’s first birthday, Ansel will launch his DHOP brunch menu, which will run on Saturdays and Sundays in November. DHOP is a pancake extravaganza served like a dim sum feast, with servers bringing blueberry buckwheat pancakes, crêpes Suzette, matcha soufflé pancakes, scallion pancakes, housemade pastrami hash, crispy latkes, house-cured lox, bacon au poivre (with smoked honey and black pepper), and much more around the dining room.
Meanwhile, the most striking part of the new brunch at in West Hollywood is the pastry counter. You might be tempted to grab one or more of pastry chef Sally Camacho Mueller’s croissants off the bar and take them to your table, but that’s not how it works here. Sit down and your server will bring over a pastry menu with options like sweet and savory croissants, danishes, muffins, lemon morning buns, canelés de Bordeaux, croissant bread pudding and, perhaps best of all, a moist and rich 11-layer coconut cake. This past Sunday, there were more than 20 selections, so it was clear that the thing to do was order several items and share. We ended up with lemon pastry cream all over our fingers. It was a good time.