Life comes at you fast. One minute you’re sharing an apartment with three roommates in Echo Park, and the next you’re living in the Valley, spending money on antique rugs instead of bar crawls. Petit Trois, the tiny French bistro in a Hollywood strip mall, recently grew up and moved to the Valley. And while this Petit Trois is still a good place to eat, it’s also lost a bit of the original’s magic.
Where the Hollywood Petit Trois is the size of a parking spot and requires loitering outside while you wait for a stool at the counter, this is the Valley, so there’s both more space and more predictability. Petit Trois Sherman Oaks has two big rooms, takes reservations, and has a longer menu. They serve breakfast too, possibly so studio heads can have their first meeting near home while they wait out the traffic.
This location might have a larger menu, but it’s still not the place for a modern take on French food. It’s the place for expensive versions of classic French dishes like steak frites, escargot, croque monsieur, and soufflé, all of which are simple and extremely rich at the same time. The escargot come with enough garlic that no human is going to want to interact with you for the next three days, there’s a giant mound of shoestring fries on top of an otherwise-light tuna tartare, and the confit-fried chicken leg involves your yearly-recommended serving of butter.
The original location feels like a secret locals’ spot in Paris, but Sherman Oaks has lost a bit of that. There’s something kind of corporate, but also occasionally bumbling about this one. The food can feel a little like it’s coming off an assembly line (your $38 steak might not come out cooked the way you asked for) and service, while friendly, can be slow to the point where you can end up feeling forgotten.
Having said that, breakfast at Petit Trois is truly glorious. The signature omelette absolutely tastes better when you eat it in the morning, the croissants are textbook-perfect, and the Mec Muffin is about as good as a breakfast sandwich could be.
Growing up takes compromises. You move to the Valley where things might not be quite as fun, but also you now live in a house that’s twice as big as your old place (and half the price). Petit Trois has made the same kind of transformation: it’s still cool - just in a different, more grown-up way. Like you and your antique rugs.
This croissant is $6. That’s a lot of money for what is essentially just many layers of butter (onto which you will spread more butter). But it’s money you should spend.
It can be hard to imagine getting excited about an omelette. But when you eat this silky goat cheese-filled wonder you’ll realize that every other “omelette” you’ve had was really just overcooked beaten eggs.
When you think about it, it’s kind of weird that a classic French restaurant is serving a fancied-up version of a Bacon & Egg McMuffin. But then you order this, and it’s not weird at all.
Eating snails feels like science class. They give you special grippy tongs and a skewer to get the meat out of the shell, and when you inevitably get some of the buttery garlic sauce in your eye, you’ll wish they also gave you some protective glasses. But once you finally get to eat them, they’re delicious.
This is a nice tuna tartare, and one of the lighter options on the menu. It comes with a mountain of shoestring fries on top that you don’t need, considering you just ordered steak frites.
This is one of the best burgers in Los Angeles, and something you should order at least once. Preferably when you have someone to share it with - between the cheese, fantastic patties, and a foie gras-filled bordelaise sauce, you’re going to need as much help as you can get.
We are never people to complain about the presence of butter or garlic, but this big bowl of clams steamed in white wine had a little too much of both.
Technically, there is nothing wrong with this dish (although on busier nights, it may not come out cooked to the temperature you asked for) - the steak is high-quality and the fries are crisp. But a piece of beef the size of a small fist - even when it comes with an avalanche of fries - should not cost $38.
This donut-shaped dessert involving pastry and praline cream tastes like a Ferrero Rocher, only better, and without the overtones of “I forgot to get you a Christmas gift, here’s something I picked up on the way.”