Throughout the year, Restaurant Editor Bill Addison will travel the country to chronicle what's happening in America's dining scene and to formulate his list of the essential 38 restaurants in America. Follow his progress in this travelogue/review series, The Road to the 38, and check back at the end of the year to find out which restaurants made the cut.
Subversive locations, spare interiors, and small plates so dense with baroque ingredients that servers will soon need classes on Restaurants as a Second Language: At first take, Alma and Trois Mec share many traits.
The two are the most hyped among the ever-growing pack of Los Angeles restaurants specializing in tasting menus, which also includes Curtis Stone's Maude and Miles Thompson's Alumette. The appeal of restaurants that limit choices has been debated ad nauseam in the last couple years. I'm entirely middle-path on the subject: I have no problem with hours of eating, so long as I push back from the table satisfied. Regarding Alma and Trois Mec, I emerged from my meal at one of them more than content—elated. At the other, I left perplexed. The differences seemed reflective of where chefs Ari Taymor (Alma) and Ludo Lefebvre (Trois Mec) are in their respective careers.