Two years after opening Les Trois Chevaux in the West Village, former Beatrice Inn executive chef Angie Mar is switching things up.
Next year, she’ll move her acclaimed fine-dining French restaurant uptown to a bigger space, in a bid to be closer to her core customer base. But in the meantime, Mar is offering downtown diners a new restaurant to get excited about, one which nods to her culinary roots in the neighborhood.
“I realized that it was the 100-year anniversary of the Beatrice Inn this year,” says Mar, a few days before the grand debut of Le B., her new concept taking over the Les Trois Chevaux space. She describes Le B. as a love letter to the Beatrice Inn, which Mar shuttered in 2020 after several years at the helm. She still owns the iconic name, and remains its steward. “You only turn 100 once. It was like, we have to celebrate the centennial in some way,” she adds.
The iconic Beatrice Inn sign hangs in the dining room at Le B. — which is in fact a recreation of the original sign, stolen shortly before the restaurant’s closure. It’s the only piece of Beatrice Inn that Mar recreated for Le B. Instead, Mar envisioned the restaurant as an entirely new concept that would pay homage to the Beatrice Inn, “while still maintaining the creativity, the finesse, and what people know La Trois Chevaux to be,” she says.
Mar describes the menu at Le B. as “the continental cuisine that America really loves,” filtered through the lens of her classic French training and “interpreted for the modern diner.” “There are certain elements of the Beatrice and why it was so loved that are hallmarks of my restaurants and of my cuisine that will absolutely carry through here,” says Mar.
Dishes are tongue-in-cheek with a bit of whimsy and personal nostalgia. In the appetizer section, Onions Nancy is an homage to the onion dip that Mar’s mother made her as an after-school snack growing up. “Ours is obviously done with a caviar supplement; some foie gras,” says Mar. Her Salad Chinois is a nod to the Chinese chicken salad; the chicken appears in the form of a lace that replaces the crunch of the standard won-ton. In the mains, Duck Duck Goose is a jasmine tea smoked duck served with jasmine rice, a nod to the popular roast duck flambé served at the Beatrice. At Le B., the oysters are being flambéd table-side with sherry and cognac.
The layout of the restaurant will be familiar to Les Trois Chevaux diners, although the visual identity of Le B. is distinctly its own. The dining room walls were painted an inky blue to give the space a clubby nocturnal vibe, and the room’s centerpiece is a chandelier from the former Grand Prospect Hall in Brooklyn. The horse lamps of Les Trois are going uptown, replaced by brass lotus lamps and additional lighting from the Netherlands. In the back of the restaurant, Mar hung a new gifted piece of artwork: “Women Gathering No. 1” by artist and chef Jacques Pépin, the companion to “Women Gathering No. 2,” which will hang at Le B. until relocating uptown.
In a city always searching for the next hot reservation, Le B. strikes a compelling balance between nostalgia and novelty.
“It’s definitely not going to be absolute insanity, party 24/7 like the Beatrice was,” says Mar of Le B. “But the lights are lower, the music is sexier — and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”