Step Into Her World: At Les Trois Chevaux, Angie Mar Challenges Dining Norms

The dining room at Les Trois Chevaux | Credit: William Hereford

Angie Mar | Credit: Kevin Tachman

Raised in Seattle by a mother who grew up in Taipei and the United Kingdom, chef Angie Mar—owner of New York City’s Les Trois Chevaux—looks back fondly on a delicious, international childhood. “I’ve always been surrounded by the world of food,” she says. “This is what I do, there were no other options.”

At Mar’s second restaurant, which opened in July 2021 (after her beloved Beatrice Inn closed in 2020), you’ll find classic French food, updated with Mar’s global perspective, immense talent, and passion for creating an inviting dining journey. It’s an inimitable experience, fueled by Mar’s unconventional take on fine dining. 

Salad days

Mar recalls early summers spent overseas, sampling a treasure trove of cuisines. At the age of eight, she visited France for the first time, devouring a meal that would foreshadow her future. “I was sitting at a table and eating a big bowl of rognons—that’s veal kidneys cooked in cognac and cream—and distinctly remember my perspective changing on food,” she shares. “I said, ‘wait, food can be like this?’” Tasting something completely different from what she’d ever had before piqued Mar’s curiosity and culinary passion.

“I was really lucky to grow up in a family of true gourmands,” Mar says. “They gave me a lifelong love of cuisine and culture.” Case in point: Mar’s aunt, Ruby Chow, opened her eponymous Seattle restaurant in 1948, breaking boundaries in the realm of Chinese American cuisine, inspiring Mar from a young age. 

An epicurean escape

A pâte of porc & foie gras, persimmon, boudin noir, jasmine, and chaud-froid at Les Trois Chevaux | Credit: William Hereford

While some restaurants offer a something-for-everyone approach, Mar’s own ethos—“I never do that. I never have,” she confirms—is quite the opposite. At Les Trois Chevaux, instead of designing a menu that placates those seeking familiar proteins, preparations, and buzzwords, Mar’s approach, meant to entice first-timers, weekly regulars, and those there for special occasions, is rooted in dishes that compose an engaging narrative. “It’s important that everything on the menu is something we really love,” she says. “If I was putting things on the menu I didn’t believe in, you’d be able to taste the lack of passion. It’s important for me that every dish tells a story.”

The menu at Les Trois Chevaux is seasonal and inspired; ingredients, such as morels and langoustines, are sourced from top producers at the optimal time. “We’re not torturing ingredients until they’re unrecognizable, that’s not our style,” says Mar.

As a result, the restaurant’s offerings are ever-changing, though Mar’s creations are always edible masterpieces: Dover sole bonne femme consists of a modernist spear of fish over halved hakurei turnips and delicate greens, resting on a thin bed of sea scallop crème and hazelnut beurre nage. Gâteau de foies blondes de volailles is served as a semi-glossy liver cake cuddled by a delicate pink langoustine, with drizzles of sauce périgourdine and sauce suprême to extend the decadence in each bite. 

“I love cuisine and the art of hospitality so much, and in all my restaurants I’ve tried to create a transportative menu,” Mar explains. “You’re stepping into the world we’ve created.” At Les Trois Chevaux, diners feast against the backdrop of a swish room lined with blue banquettes, mirrored ornamental walls with golden sconces, and a smattering of plants. The pièce de résistance: a chandelier that once lived in the Waldorf Astoria. “Everything is designed to envelop the diner into an epicurean escape,” Mar says.

On the horizon

The bar at Les Trois Chevaux | Credit: William Hereford

This July, as Les Trois Chevaux marks one year of being open, Mar hints at thrilling menu updates starring summer ingredients. She’s especially excited to unveil a choose-your-own adventure format. “It’s for people who are there for the experience of getting lost in the world that we created,” Mar says. Diners can order a la carte at the bar or choose from the prix-fixe or degustation menu—a special request set menu where the kitchen takes an omakase-inspired approach, determining the entire meal.

“The restaurant is a living breathing entity that evolved,” Mar says of the upcoming changes. “The scary thing would be to be in the same place today as [we were] last year,” she adds. “It’s always about evolution.”