Angie Mar is an anomaly in the fast-paced world of the hottest New York City restaurants, famous for her menu of carnivores’ delights at the now closed Beatrice Inn, which she brought to Hong Kong in December 2019 for a brief but memorable run. While the trendy winds might now be blowing towards more plant-based menus and haute veganism (just try to book a table at Eleven Madison Park), Mar is going in a very different direction with her new restaurant, Les Troix Chevaux, which pays tribute to the great formal French restaurants of past eras. Think confit of frogs’ legs and mousse of veal’s brain, or a pigeon roasted in ash and served with sakura blossoms and aged armagnac if you are feeling decadent.
Mar’s dream is to create a restaurant that can stand the test of time, while also honouring her heritage. Les Trois Chevaux—the three horses—is a reference to the nickname her father gave to Mar and her two brothers, playing on the proximity of their surname to the Chinese word for horse. She has also assembled an all-star cast of collaborators, including designer Christian Siriano, who dressed the staff, and Raul Avila, who is designing the flowers. But most important to Mar is her original staff of 27, all of whom followed her from the Beatrice.
“Over the last year and a half, there was never a second thought but to make sure everybody’s able to pay their rent and feed their children,” Mar says. “This is a testament to keeping the family together. What I’ve learned is how much New York means to me. And if I don’t invest in the revitalisation of the city, then I have no right to call myself a New Yorker. And that’s just it.”
After such a terrible year, why open a new restaurant so soon?
It’s funny, because I actually wanted to open in April, but with construction, it just got a bit delayed. The Beatrice remained open during the whole pandemic. We just really tried to stay open for our community and for our employees as long as we could.
And what is the new concept of Les Trois Chevaux?
After years of cooking the same food, which has been lovely, it becomes hard because you want to continue to grow and to evolve. Deciding to do something different was probably one of the most liberating experiences that I’ve ever had, because this is the first restaurant that I’m starting from a truly blank canvas. We are going to be more fine dining, with a prix-fixe menu and food that is a complete 180 from what I was doing before. But the biggest change is that I’m actually not opening with a steak on the menu—there is beef on the menu for sure, just not a steak, per se. The concept of Les Trois Chevaux is very close to my heart, because I always say that I’m a very old French man just trapped in this body, but there is also the side of my heritage that is Chinese. I’m taking ingredients from my childhood—cherry blossoms and abalone and Japanese baby peaches—and treating them in a very French way.