Throw a pebble in Hollywood and you’ll likely hit a glitzy restaurant like Mr. T. In fact, this sexy French bistro sits within a one-mile radius of two other sexy French bistros—Mes Amis and Gigi’s—where people go to feel hot while eating steak frites. But Mr. T isn’t just another French-inspired restaurant in Hollywood, it’s actually imported directly from France.
The original Mr. T—a small, understated spot in the Marais district of Paris—has a reputation for serving fusion-y French dishes to people who dress like painters, but spend like bankers. And true to form, the stylish location on Sycamore Avenue looks like it could have been airlifted across the Atlantic, then blown out to Hollywood proportions. The roomy, open-air space is bright and minimalist, decorated with red neon signs that spell out the restaurant's name and a long bar that overlooks an open kitchen. Hip-hop blasts from the speakers as a sommelier breaks down the extensive wine list. Outside, there's a massive terrace, full of clubby lounge seating, big round tables, and groups head-bobbing to Wu-Tang.
The first thing you’ll probably notice when you walk in is a server walking around the dining room, setting food on fire to the beat of a Jay-Z song. You’re looking at their comté and mimolette cheese flambé, which shows up in a few dishes on the menu. The flaming dairy isn’t the restaurant’s only attraction, but it does illustrate one of our favorite things about eating here—Mr. T knows how to make good food that’s a little bit showy but not snooty, sprinkling a touch of Parisian attitude over everything it does.
The short menu melds street food with traditional French cooking, and the results are surprisingly simple and satisfying. There’s a minty-sweet tuna crudo, a mushroom croquette monsieur, and crème fraîche dip topped with shiny trout roe. About a quarter of the dishes here are borrowed from the Paris location, and they’re generally the best things on the menu. We’d suggest getting a few small plates like the roasted lamb kebab and uni with koshihikari rice to share with a group. Follow that with entrees like the juicy chicken tsukune “mille feuille” and a plate of their truffle-studded mac and cheese (the best choice for anyone who wants that signature tableside cheese-torching experience).
The inventive French food at Mr. T is excellent overall, but, like those cheesy filler tracks on every Drake album, there are some misses. The burger is one. We love the rich and buttery wagyu patty, but beyond the cheese flambé on top, the toppings are fairly basic and one-note. The bucatini a la tequila is another. The “spicy” tomato sauce doesn’t deliver on its description, making the al dente pasta heaped under a circular parmesan crisp taste pretty plain. These are generally small faults though, and the fancy-yet-fun dishes are what you’ll remember most.
There are no white tablecloths at Mr. T, but you’ll be attended to like there are. It’s got the precision of a fine dining kitchen in the setting of a neighborhood hangout. We'd especially recommend it for group dinners before a night out in Hollywood: there are plenty of comfy booths, spacious patio tables, and great drinks to keep your party entertained. In fact, you might even spend the whole night here, sipping cocktails made with boba pearls or salted strawberry pop rocks and snacking on flaming cheese—you know, just like the Parisians do.
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“Thai” Tuna Crudo
This straightforward yet effective starter is one our favorite dishes here. Take some mint. Add some crispy onions. Throw them on top of some chopped raw tuna. Then drizzle it with some sweet, limey dressing that you will want to purchase by the bottle.
Mr. T Mac N Cheese
You know you’re in the right kind of restaurant when there’s an ice cream scoop-sized mound of molten cheese on your pasta. That creamy layer of dairy is made up of both comte and mimolette cheese, both of which brown nicely when your server torches it over your plate. Consider this rich and gooey dish an essential order, and expect to KO on your sofa at home after you finish it.
We occasionally feel overwhelmed by uni these days. But this was not one of those occasions. The super rich sea urchin and creamy confit egg yolk in this dish get balanced out by sweet, starchy koshihikari rice—a winning combination.
Mr. T Lamb Kebab
When you’re paying $22 for a small plate of sliced meat, you expect some succulent pieces of lamb. That’s exactly what you’ll find here. Each thin strip is served on a dramatic bed of rosemary with a very good spicy aioli.
Paris Mr. T Burger
After the initial excitement of a fancy wagyu patty topped with flaming cheese settles down, the first bite of this underseasoned burger is fairly disappointing. Fortunately, there will probably be other great food on your table to distract you.
Nothing too crazy going on here: The flaky puff pastry crust on this French apple pie is nicely golden brown, and the caremelized fruit inside gives off that fresh-from-the-oven steam. The filling itself isn’t too sweet, which makes room for the scoop of caramel-drizzled vanilla ice cream plopped on top.