Before you go to a restaurant, what do you want — or need — to know most? In our series, The Rundown, we’re sharing all the essentials about newly opened (as well as some of your favorite) restaurants.
In this case, we’re looking at Les Trois Chevaux, the highly-anticipated sophomore restaurant from Angie Mar. The chef-owner behind the Beatrice Inn (RIP) has spent the better part of last year thinking through every detail of her latest venture: A tribute to family, French gastronomy, and her chosen home of New York. Here’s everything you need to know about her exciting new restaurant.
1. This isn’t your typical French fine dining restaurant.
This is an Angie Mar restaurant first and foremost. “There are many restaurants in the city where you can eat, but few where you can dine,” Mar says. Consider that distinction your entryway into the world of Les Trois Chevaux.
Built as an ode to New York’s French institutions of lore (places like Lutèce and Le Cirque), Mar’s splashy West Village venture puts classic service and food at the forefront. “Growing up, my family made it a point to always expose me and my brothers to restaurants that spanned the breadth of culinary [experiences], but fine dining establishments were always my favorite,” she emphasizes. But make no mistake: This is no carbon copy of some old icon. The proof’s in the name.
2. The story behind the name.
In Chinese, “mar” (mǎ 馬) means horse, detailing Mar’s family’s long equestrian history that dates back to the Tang Dynasty. “When we were young, my father and uncles nicknamed me and my two brothers ‘the three horses,’” she says. “So naturally, when I decided to open a new restaurant, Les Trois Chevaux made sense.”
Beyond the name, Les Trois Chevaux is unmistakably Mar’s, especially when it comes to the food. And that’s because for the first time since the Beatrice Inn closed, the chef is letting her creativity run wild.
3. So, what’s the food like?
“When I am in France, I always feel as if my soul is being nourished,” she says. “I hope that is the experience for our diners at Les Trois Chevaux.”
While the $185 three-course prix-fixe menu veers classic French — see the confit frog legs, foie gras à la Bordelaise, and pigeon breast— and comes with lots of tableside theatrics, in a remarkably un-Beatrice Inn fashion, you won’t find a single steak on the menu.
“As a creative, I’ve been looking to do something different for a while,” Mar explains. “It’s always important to grow and evolve.”
What you’ll see instead: Juniper-roasted pheasant, a relatively rare sight in dining rooms across the city (which has its very own carving station at the restaurant), and a dish that reminds Mar of Sundays with her family. There’s also a lamb rack dish in honor of her father, which you must pre-order at least a week in advance.
A tribute to chef André Soltner of Lutèce makes an appearance in the shape of the add-on “Truffles & Caviar” croissant, which also serves as a wink to another New York icon. “For me, there is nothing more New York than a black and white cookie, so we’ve used black and white truffles in our dish,” she says. “You have to have a bit of fun.”
4. There’s no dining room quite like this.
“Everything from the art work, to the Waldorf Astoria lighting from 1931, to the plateware, to the marble, it’s all so very special and unique,” Mar explains.
Les Trois Chevaux may sit right next door to the old Beatrice Inn space, but the interiors are like night and day. While Beatrice was ensconced in history and a speakeasy-like darkness, Les Trois Chevaux shines bright – in part from that aforementioned lighting: the crystal chandeliers and pendant lights were plucked from the original Waldorf Astoria.
The velvet banquettes are the same midnight blue color as her father’s favorite sweatshirt, she says, while antique horse lamps and vases mimic the ones found in her family’s home. See if you can spot the Jacques Pépin painting hanging in the dining room, or an abstract portrait of Mar by William Sorvillo.
“The atmosphere that we have achieved at Les Trois Chevaux is exactly what I wanted: A space that is sophisticated, warm, and transportive,” Mar says. “We have all collectively been through such an insane year, and I think having a bit of civility and a place to escape to is what we all need right now.”