UPDATE 6-16-2022: Au Troisieme is now open for lunch.
There's a promising new restaurant coming to Preston Center from a trio whose turf extends from Hawaii to France: Called Au Troisieme, it'll open in the former Pei Wei space at 8305 Westchester Dr., with an emphasis on world cuisine and shared plates.
The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner, with weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, and is slated to premiere in mid-April.
Au Troisieme is from Bobby Pollette, the 32-year-old founder of Hapa Catering and a private chef who has cooked everywhere from Hawaii to Aspen to Palm Beach. Pollette consulted on the menu with chef Jeff Acol and Jess Acol, who previously owned a restaurant in Florida, with a goal to bring something new to Dallas; the Acols are not involved with the restaurant.
"Most of our food will use classical French techniques, but with influences from all over, with a worldly sense of style," Pollette says. "Growing up in Hawaii, you're exposed to a divergent group of people, with a mixture of cultures and ethnicities, and that's how our food is. I hope our flavors are different from what Dallas has seen."
The menu will evolve, but if there's a dish that personifies their style, it's the escargot done with Filipino flavors, served with a smoked eggplant and tomato salad.
"It's onions and garlic but instead of cooking them down in white wine, we use coconut milk, finished with an aromatic adobo broth made from vinegar and soy sauce," he says.
Other dishes include halibut wrapped in mustard greens, then grilled so that the greens acquire a smoky char as the fish is steamed. It's served on a corn sauce with baby turnips. There's also an innovative risotto starring cauliflower and smoked tomato.
"We'll have your basics, but we also want to do some adventurous food that will blow your mind," he says.
Sandwiches include a clever spin on a Reuben that features kim chi, and a "Hawaiian Cuban" — "it's pork as you would do it in Hawaii, wrapped in banana leaf and smoked, and we're making our own cured ham with house pickles," he says.
Cocktails will be unique, fun, and probably with flowers and herbal infusions.
They'll offer distinct experiences for lunch and dinner, to accommodate what is two very different audiences.
"Lunch is so important in that neighborhood, and we'll meet the needs of the business lunch crowd with a power lunch, with salads and sandwiches," he says.
"At night, the orientation will be based on the idea of sharable plates," he says. "The way we eat these days is to order three or four appetizers and everybody shares. I don't enjoy getting a first course, then a second course. I get bored by that. I want to try different things on the menu. That's also the way I run my catering company, and I like that feeling in a restaurant as well."
One positive change they're making to the space is the current essential: a patio, where he sees many great happy hours going down.
"We'll have a full liquor license with beer and wine, including a strong burgundy program, aggressively priced," he says. "I'd rather offer customers the opportunity to get that second bottle, rather than marking our prices up three to four times."
The restaurant will also have a cool private dining room speakeasy seating 14-16 people, which can be used for chef's tastings and other private events.
"Au Triosieme" is prounced "oh tur-was-zee-emm." Sorry, it had to be said.
"It means 'the third place'," he says. "There's your home, your office, and we want this be your third place. I did wrestle with whether to come up with an easier name, but in the end, we decided to embrace it. This is who we are."