If I could give TRIOS AMERICAN BISTRO four 1/2 stars, I would, but I can’t quite bring myself to give five stars–yet. Why? Well, because they are new and they have room to improve.
That said, where it counts most–THE FOOD–they are spot on. The food is amazing.
Let’s start with the bad: We were part of what the restaurant now lovingly calls the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre at Trios. Boy, was it! It made for a memorable and wonderful evening as we joked and visited with other patrons and got to know the staff. By the end, we had sympathy for the staff and a funny story to share! I know some of the reviews on Yelp! are not the best–and it’s almost exclusive folks who dined on Valentine’s Day. Read the other reviews, and you’ll see that other than that day, everyone is pretty happy with Trios. They had one bad day–but boy was it a doozy! It shouldn’t, however, taint and haunt the restaurant for life!
So we had to give them a second chance, and I’m so glad we did!
The best way to test a new restaurant is let the chef do a tasting menu. This is a small-plate, 5-9 courses or so, that lets you try several chef’s dishes, usually including an appetizer, a salad and/or soup, a fish course, a main entree course and a dessert, with an intermezzo at some places. Every chef does it differently, but ask for a chef’s tasting menu if you want to sample multiple dishes from a new place/chef.
The chef’s tasting menu was amazing at Trios. We brought our own wine and paid a reasonable cork/bottle fee. We had requested the chef’s tasting menu on our reservation (Look on Open Table–they give points!), so they were prepared for us!
Trios served smoked alligator and andouille sausage gumbo. I seriously could have eaten a bowl of this and walked away completely satisfied. That’s how GOOD this gumbo was. I’ve found alligator can be chewy or tough if not cooked right, and this one was so perfect and tender, it melted. The spices were the perfect amount–hot, but not overwhelming. Very flavorful.
The crab cakes had SO MUCH crab in them! I don’t usually like crab cakes, but love crab. These were so good! you have to try them!
Next we were served mussels in a white wine lemon and garlic sauce. The aroma of garlic hits the moment they are set one the table. The mussels were tender and easily removed from the shell, not too fishy, whole and clean. The sauce was the star. Seriously–the little toast points served with it soaked the sauce right up, and I, uncouth as can be, picked up the little plate and drank the sauce.
The wilted warm spinach salad with bleu cheese and walnuts was good, but nothing spectacular: advice to Trios, consider candying the walnuts–it would be a good contrast with the bleu.
The fish course was the best. Literally, the BEST. SEA BASS. EVER! I’ve never had a sea bass as good as this at any restaurant. It had a light potato crust that was perfectly browned, golden and seared. The fish was moist but not wet, flaky, but not dry. It was simply perfect, and for a tasting course, it was a huge portion. It was served on a bed of couscous that was a bit bland. Maybe needs to be made with a broth? It needed something and it was a tiny bit sticky. But it didn’t matter. The fish made me forget any minor imperfections in the couscous.
The main entree was an elk chop. Wow. This was so good, served with a blackberry wine reduction over fried Brussels sprouts and a sweet potato whip. They were whipped so light, so fluffy, they disappeared on your tongue. This wasn’t my favorite course (did I mention, Best. Sea Bass. Ever! ?) but it was a solid dish, that was unique and interesting as well as tasty.
Dessert was a doughnut bread pudding. Every restaurant has a bread pudding version that is different, and some I love and others are questionable. Trios doughnut bread pudding is quite interesting and lovely. It’s light, with a doughnut dough, and a creme anglaise to go with it. It was like a vanilla cream doughnut, in a dish. I can’t even explain it. I am not a big sweets eater and I rarely finish desserts at a restaurant, but I ate all of this, happily! I would order it again if it were on the menu. And then freshly ground French press coffee with cream to cap it off. Perfect!
We had a casual evening on a week night. The restaurant had a few patrons, but was slow (which is a shame–they deserve more customers!), but it was nice to have a laid back evening. We enjoyed the company of one of the owners and got to meet the sous chef who prepared our meal–you rock, Elvin! All in all, a pleasant evening. I’m so glad we went back and experienced what Trios is capable of when they aren’t having a cursed night!
The patio is a gold mine, and I can see in the future they will be able to put that patio to great use. Already, they have live music some nights, and a fire pit that’s awesome The decor is a little…. homey. It could be better, like the chairs are simple and the tables are simple, and it’s a converted house and looks it. But it’s cute. A little kitchy, but cute. The entryway is awkward, the wheelchair ramps are steep (scary!), but it’s pretty accessible for me in my chair. The wait staff really tries hard to please, and the buss staff work their tails off. Everyone is upbeat and friendly and open to anything you ask for.
We’ll be back. We’ll probably be back often, because I was that impressed with the food and enjoy the staff.
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Love and stuff,