|eGullet.com > The Heartland > Trio Kitchen Table|
|Posted by: jeffj Nov 22 2003, 05:24 AM|
|So, here's the story...my
girlfriend (Alyssa) and I visited Chicago for four days back in May and we
really loved many of the distinctive foods of the city. But most of all,
we were completely wowed by the art that Grant Achatz is creating in the
kitchen of Trio.|
We found ourselves with little vacation time but a yearning to return and visit the kitchen table at Trio. What would we do? We definitely wanted to make it out before the subfreezing temperatures and snow overtook the city (yes, we're wimpy native Californians). So we decided to try and cram as much as possible into a one-day trip from the Bay Area. In just over 25 hours, not only did we eat the TDF at Trio but we also ate at Harold’s Fried Chicken, Al’s and Johnnie’s Italian Beef, SuperDawg, and Gino’s East. Needless to say that by the end of the trip we were absolutely stuffed.
But the focus of this post is Trio...so let's get to it. Upon arrival at 6PM, we were promptly shown to the table, made our water selection, and began one of the great culinary adventures in this country.
(We'll step through course by course and I'll throw in some candid shots from the kitchen as we go along.)
Sunday, November 16, 2003
Trio Kitchen Table
Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
Eucalyptus gelee, Anjou pear poached in white wine, and olive oil. This was a great amuse for a number of reasons. It utilized some intense flavors without being overpowering. And it was successful in opening up the palette. Also, it had proper sizing for an amuse...a small bite that provided immediate satisfaction. I much prefer this small bite style to some of the larger ramekin based amuse presentations which often end up being closer in size to an actual course. What I loved with this was the blending of herbaceous notes with the dominantly sweet flavor. As the consumption progressed the oil began to take over and provide a smooth, velvety finish. Also of note was the outstanding pairing with the Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth. The beverage provided a compelling continuation of flavors from the amuse which was aided by the aroma of a pear garnish.
Aubry Brut Champagne with Quady Vya
Pacific Sea Urchin
Puree of orange rind, licorice, peppers
Aubry Brut Champagne with Quady Vya
What struck me with this dish was how much the uni played a supporting role, flavor-wise, to the orange puree (an unexpectedly dominant flavor), the licorice foam, and the peppers. Two weeks previous, we had uni with conch at the Fifth Floor in San Francisco and in that dish the uni dominated with a briny ocean flavor. However, in this dish, the sea urchin seemed much lighter and more delicate...its flavor not commanding in the least. So I felt its role was more geared toward providing a rich and creamy texture to the other flavors. However, looking back, perhaps I did not completely "get" this dish.
Puree of Chestnuts
Quince, bacon, potato ice cream
Pojer & Sandri "Palai" Muller Thurgau, Vigneti delle Dolomiti, Italy 2001
This was simply outstanding. It's a dish where many different flavors come together (somewhat unexpectedly) and form a thoroughly dynamic whole. I simply referred to it as a savory ice cream sundae. The chestnuts provided a creamy and earthy base, the bacon consume added a rich smokiness, and the quince provided glimpses of sweetness. The potato ice cream provided a coolness that contrasted well with the other warm components and which provided an additional textural dimension. I think this dish became more and more successful as everything mixed and melted together. It was savory, rich, and sweet all at once. Also included were a small cube of bay gelee and a celery garnish. Very inspiring and creative.
Tempura of Rock Shrimp
Vanilla, cranberry, Meyer lemon
Cusumano "Cubia" Insolia, Sicily 2001
The really unique thing about this dish was the aroma that wafted out of the glass as it was presented at the table…the unmistakable scent of cotton candy. Don't ask me how this was; just take my word for it. The diner is given directions to grasp the vanilla bean from the top and to dangle the entire piece above one's mouth. Then you are asked to consume the tempura ball in a single bite, stripping it off the bean as one might pluck a grape from its vine. It's also recommended that you enjoy the scent of the vanilla bean as you do this. It sounded a little unorthodox but it was an amusing way of engaging the diner. The exterior was crisp and definitely had a freshly fried scent to it. The interior was molten and warm and had a huge punch of tangy lemon flavor that was mildly tempered by the sweetness of the cranberries. While I felt that the lemon was a bit overpowering, Alyssa felt that the rock shrimp held up to the strong flavors and provided a pleasant briny aspect. But we both agreed that the shrimp was perfectly cooked and also added a textural dimension. From our perspective, it was an interesting play on the traditional pairing of fried shrimp and lemon wedges, turning it inward upon itself and including the lemon within the fried casing.
A small shot of liquid infused with peppercorns, star anise, Thai long peppers, and black truffle that was topped with hazelnut foam. The diner is asked not to shoot this in the traditional sense, but to sip the entire contents in one continuous motion letting the entire beverage wash across your palette. It had a very refreshing effect and was surprisingly mild in flavor. From the description, I had expected that it might be a little more potent. Star anise and pepper flavors were easily identifiable, but I wasn't able to pinpoint the truffle. The hazelnut foam added a bit of richness and earthiness to both the taste and the nose.
Black Truffle Explosion
Pretty much everything has already been said about this classic. It's about as close as any dish comes to being crowned a signature dish at Trio. Once again it was enjoyable however the truffle flavor was not quite as pronounced as I had previously remembered and the internal temperature of the truffle/black tea infusion may have been a bit cooler. (Though, I will admit that I let it sit on the table for about a minute as I photographed it...so I'm most likely to blame for this.) But in the end, this dish is always an outstanding little bite.
Elysian Fields Farm Lamb
Chanterelle mushrooms, coffee, catmint
Umathum Zweigelt, Burgenland, Austria 2001
Wow, there's a lot going on in this dish and thankfully it was pulled off very well. You are asked to start the dish by enjoying the spoonful of fried onions and coffee crème reduction. This definitely set up the dish and prepared the palette for the richness that was to come. And it also established a call back to the caramel mushroom coffee flan that rested under the lamb slices. The lamb was incredibly tender, pooled in a fabulously sweet yet salty lamb reduction and was especially enjoyable paired with the cippolini onion. The chanterelles added a rich buttery aspect that went a long way toward rounding out the fullness of the dish. And while mint was included in this dish, I failed to taste much trace of this traditional pairing. However, that was of little consequence...the dish was a great success regardless.
Tenderloin of Venison
Banana, celeriac, malted barley
Europvin Falset "Laurona", Monsant, Spain 2000
This venison comes from New Zealand where, evidently, it roams the land without the threat of any predators. In theory, less adrenaline in the animal means more tender and tasty meat. I don't know how much of a roll this played but the meat was very succulent. This dish was another winner. Not being a big fan of celery flavor, I still enjoyed what the celeriac brought to this dish in the form of supporting flavors. I loved the malted barley and I think the earthy aspect paired well conceptually and practically with the venison. The banana introduced a hint of sweetness that was unusual but pleasing.
"Cheese 'n Cracker"
Again, this course is one of the few other stalwarts on the Trio menu. However, it is now being served later in the menu. Simple yet fun. Had a great crunchy exterior and a liquid interior of sharp Wisconsin cheddar. Alyssa remembered the interior being a bit warmer on our last visit, but it seemed okay to me.
Red wine vinaigrette
We love this dish. It really does epitomize what Chef Achatz's cuisine is all about. It's playful and intriguing and it really gets diners thinking about flavor vehicles and how tried and true flavors can sometimes be reinvigorated by presenting them in new and exciting forms. And it just plain tastes good.
(Who knows where the next generation of "salad" may lead…I can't help but envision chefg going "Willy Wonka" on us and concocting "salad" gum.)
Pushed Foie Gras
Dolga crabapples, honey gelee
Bechtolsheimer Petersberg Beerenauslese, Ernst Bertz, Rheinhessen 1999
Amazing dish. My consumption of this encompassed two phases...my first few bites were comprised of the honey gelee and the foie gras alone. And I admit that I loved the pairing so much that I almost didn't want to include the apple sorbet into my next few bites. The insanely rich foie coupled with the naturally sweet honey was such a pure and satisfying flavor combination. Adding the apple into the mix completely transformed the dish into a pseudo apple pie rendition with the foie providing the buttery flavor reminiscent of a real pie. A few salt crystals on top contrasted the sweetness and made the dish that much stronger. An apple crisp and chervil complete as garnish.
Mountain Huckleberry Soda
Five flavors gelled
This was the first of several progression style dishes that Trio loves to serve and that I love to eat. Rather than focusing on a theme as a whole, the concept of these progressions involves the examination of flavor pairings revolving around a core ingredient. In this case a huckleberry soda is to be paired one at a time with five gelees. They included: butternut squash, sage, smoked salt, chocolate, and toasted pine nut. That is the suggested order of consumption (from left to right). These are all very different flavors so it's immediately intriguing that they all pair well with huckleberry. The butternut squash provided a smooth and creamy aspect. The sage was fragrant and herbal. The smoked salt was the most unexpected taste...and for some reason reminded us of pork (probably invoking memories of kalua pork). The chocolate pairing was reminiscent of a chocolate truffle. And the pine nut was kind of hard to taste coming after the more powerful chocolate flavor. None of the pairings stopped me in my tracks but it was enjoyable to experience how sweet, salty, herby, and earthy all inter-relate around a single flavor.
Nice melding of flavors between the two sides of this frozen lozenge as you rotate it in your mouth. I think the critical addition to this course is the few sprinkles of salt that were perched on top. The salt enhanced the flavors of both the pineapple and the mustard and made everything "pop" more.
Michigan Brook Trout Roe
Ginger, soy, papaya
Fukucho "Moon on the Water" Junmai Ginjo Sake, Hiroshima Prefecture
This golden trout roe is supplied to the restaurant through a friend of the chef. It's harvested prematurely in order to keep the shell of the roe as soft as possible. Layered from the bottom up were papaya, ginger, soy, and finally the trout roe. The roe was definitely great quality, soft and delicate...bursting with salty goodness. I made sure to eat each bite with the roe side landing downward onto the tongue in order to maximize the flavor perception and enjoyment.
I can't help but make note of an incident that occurred midway through this course. I won't go into details because I think that those are between the chef and his staff. But evidently, things were getting a bit loose and a mistake was made in moving some dishes through the kitchen. The normally mild mannered Chef Achatz stepped up and made it perfectly clear to everyone in that kitchen that elementary mistakes such as this were unacceptable. And sure enough, the atmosphere that had been a little buzzy and a little frenetic suddenly became focused and determined. Not to mention the fact, you could hear a pin drop for a long while after that. Eventually as the evening began to wind down, everyone once again loosened up.
But the reason I cite this incident is the remarkable fact that at such a relatively young age, Chef Achatz truly does have complete control of the kitchen and also has the utmost respect from his employees. In addition, it illustrates how truly passionate he is about what the kitchen delivers (as he should be.) I think everyone realized that they could have been a bit sharper...and that there's really no other choice in order to remain at the top of the nation's dining scene. If anything, I'm sure they felt terrible for letting the chef down.
Scrambled & Grated Lobster Coral, Grapefruit, lemongrass
After previously reading about this dish, I had expected the grapefruit flavor to be more pronounced that it actually was. Because of its size and texture the chip dominated the dish. But what was really successful was the awesome lobster broth pooled right below the chip. It was sweet, smooth, and salty with the strong essence of lobster. I would suggest pairing each bite of the chip with a sip of the broth. Also, I think that the form and visual aspect to this dish is really top notch.
Alba White Truffle
Francois Villard "Contours de DePoncins" Viognier, Rhone 2001
My eyes lit up when I saw this one. It’s truffle season (albeit a relatively poor one this year) and I was hopeful we might get a glimpse of this heavenly tuber. This was an off the menu treat for the kitchen table. Even with the avant-garde philosophy at Trio, when you have a source ingredient of this quality, you owe it to the truffle to showcase it in a straightforward and traditional manner. This was right on the money…a bit of tagliatelle wrapped around the tines of a fork and topped with Parmesan and a couple generous shavings of truffle. As I slid this into my mouth I couldn’t help but close my eyes and revel in exquisite truffle aromas dancing on top of my tongue. It simply doesn’t get better than this.
Coconut milk, ten bridging garnishes
The coconut milk is served in a cylinder that is lifted tableside. The original preparation utilized a spherical ball that contained coconut milk but I forgot to ask why they switched. The garnishes included: cashew, passion fruit, young coconut, lime, fenugreek, avocado and Thai chili, ginger, and green tomato marmalade. Again, this was an opportunity to explore flavor variations. The richness of the coconut milk didn't seem to overpower the crab but rather provided a suitable backdrop to the textures and flavors used in the dish. And it was the milk's fragrance that stood out most. I marveled at the fenugreek pairing and how much it instantly reminded me of Old Bay Seasoning (a natural pairing with crab.) Alyssa felt that the ginger was also successful and invoked thoughts of a Chinese style crab preparation that utilizes ginger and green onion. One could also see a play on Mexican ceviche through the lime pairing. So I think the interesting aspect of this dish was it's "around the world" spin which allowed the diner to compare and contrast traditional and non-traditional crab preparations one right after the other.
Pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, matsutake mushroom
Mission Hill, Pinot Blanc 2002
A new dish whipped up for the kitchen table...I thought this was fantastic. In flavor and in concept, it's a perfect late-Fall dish. Thin strips of sturgeon were presented bacon-style, brined in maple and juniper and smoked with applewood chips. This fish preparation was interesting in its attempt to mirror aspects of bacon. The succulent and earthy mushrooms balanced well with the woodsy pumpkin seeds and the smoky fish. These flavors together with the pumpkin created a well-rounded, full flavor that clearly epitomizes what fall has to offer.
Figs, truffles, fennel
Scarpantoni “School Block”, McLaren Vale, Australia 2001
It's about this point in the meal where you just have to hold back your glee at the sheer scope of the Tour de Force menu. I mean you've already enjoyed so many substantial courses with probably hundreds of ingredients and you still have many more to go!
This dish is great because you get several takes on the same ingredient. Featured are a pork loin medallion, pork rillette, and a black truffle steamed pork rib. All were fabulous. The rillette was not overly salty...a problem I've had at other restaurants. The rib meat was meltingly tender and delicious. And the medallion was lean and mild in flavor. The sweetness of the figs was a natural accompaniment and the slice of fennel at the bottom also went well with the meat. What's great with the dish was it showcased pork's different flavors, textures, and degrees of richness.
Frozen Digestif Vinegar and Marigolds
These frozen discs of German sipping vinegar were brought to the table resting in grooves carved into the top of a large block of ice. The diner is given tongs in order to grab hold of the disc and is asked to immediately place it on one's tongue. It melts quickly and a sweet, delicate vinegar flavor envelops the tongue. It lasts not more than a few seconds but it is pleasing none the least.
Breast and Leg of Wisconsin Pheasant
Bonny Doon "Le Cigare Volant", California 2000
The latest incarnation of Trio's signature vapor dishes. This time the focus is on autumnal fragrances that include hay, pumpkin, and apple. The arrangement seemed to create two different classes of aroma. The left side of the dish had the earthy, hay smell while the right side was more sweet and fruity smelling. However, in comparison to the "walk through the forest" pine vapor that preceded it, these autumnal smells were much less pronounced. I had to get closer to the dish in order to smell the vapor. The edible portion of this dish included two slices of pheasant breast, some dark meat leg pieces, pole beans, Brussel sprouts, and an apple cider nage. The foam on top had a nice sweet tang to it.
I've really bought into this whole vapor thing. I find there to be a really comforting quality to having warm, moist aromas rising from the dish. I think it really enhances the mood and psychology of the presentation. However, the pine vapor with rabbit was one of my all time favorite dishes and unfortunately, while respectable in it's own right, this rendition with pheasant didn't quite live up to my previous experience.
Guinness, onions, fresh yeast
Rocha 20 year old Tawny Port, Douro, Portugal
Awesome. One of the best composed cheese courses I've had (along with the Manchego Textures we had at Trio back in May). This British cheese is coated with hop blossoms during production. It's somewhat firm yet rich and buttery at the same time. The sharpness and mild bitterness of the various accompaniments successfully play off the flavor of the cheese. Especially good were the two forms of onion: crystallized chip and pickled onion wedges. Also, portion size was right on the money. Many cheese courses I've had at other restaurants seem to have large amounts of cheese that can be a bit too overwhelming late in a meal. Yeah, sure, I could always leave the excess on the plate but I hate feeling like I'm wasting good food. The Hereford Hop was just right.
Similar to the Mango-Yuzu capsule that we had back in May, this dish takes it a step further. This time the dehydrated mango capsule is longer and you are asked to bite off the top and suck out the powder inside. It's the chef's version of a pixie stick. The powder included pistachio, nicoise olive, cayenne pepper, and saffron. While I thought the powder flavors were mildly interesting together, they just didn't do it for Alyssa. But what we both agree on is that the mango capsule was great because of its crisp and delicate preparation.
Tapioca of Roses
Raspberries, clove, cream
Ochs Blaufrankisch Eiswein, Neusiedlersee, Austria 2001
There are many reasons to love this dish. It's visually beautiful, it engages the diner, and it also helps educate you once again about relationship between scent and flavor. Having smelled both the rose and the raspberries, I can confirm that these scents are uncannily similar. Continuing the tubular theme of the last dish, this time the diner picks up a clear tube (cream side up) and sucks contents into one's mouth. Everything slides out remarkably well and the tapioca pearls impart a good textural contrast with the gelee. Of note was the fabulous pairing of the ice wine. The flavors of the wine perfectly mirrored the berry and floral flavors that were present in the dish.
Parmesan, quinoa, hazelnuts
Tamellini Recioto di Soave "Vigna Marogne", Veneto 1999
Featured Venezuelan chocolate with a gelatin outside and a liquid chocolate interior sitting on a quinoa custard base...an ingredient the chef wanted to use because of its essential amino acid content. A very unorthodox dessert but I really liked it. It wasn't overwhelming with the amount of chocolate used and I thought it worked well with the nuts and grapefruit. Overall, the entire dish was not too rich and it provided several different flavors to sample from which I appreciated.
A good ending to a great meal. The hibiscus ice pop was pleasantly flavored and was a joy to eat. The metal tripod legs collapse together to form a single stick to hold. Not only does it look cool but it also provides an invigorating and refreshing end to the meal.
So after all that, what rose to the top? Well for me the standouts were the Puree of Chestnuts, White Truffle Tagliatelle, Pushed Foie Gras, the Sturgeon, and the Hereford Hop. Probably what intrigues me the most about many of the dishes is the balancing act between savory and sweet. Chef Achatz's seems to revel in the exploration of this relationship and I can happily report that most of the time he is on the money.
As would be expected, a clear autumnal theme resonated through the menu with extensive use of nuts, seeds, grains, and other earthy ingredients. Under this direction, many of the dishes showcased a richness and a fullness that was extremely pleasing. In addition, this thematic thread provided the meal with continuity from start to finish.
And how did the menu compare to what we received back in May? Well it's always hard to live up to a good first impression, but Trio managed to do it. While the highest highs of the first menu were slightly higher than those this time, I think that overall the menu is now stronger across the board.
I commend Chef Achatz for his prolific repriotoire and his desire to keep things fresh and exciting. Did I miss the "walk through the forest" dish this time? Well, somewhat yes, but that was greatly overshadowed by the fact that most of the menu is completely new. And it's not just a different protein or starch switched out here or there. The menu is ever evolving and from a conceptual level it continues to strive for new forms of presentation and consumption. For return visitors such as ourselves, things are always guaranteed to be exciting.
In most of my reviews, I spend a few moments discussing service...good and bad. Although some may disagree, I feel that when it comes to dining at the kitchen table, service is not as much of an issue. I could nit pick a few instances where silverware wasn't properly set before the dishes arrived, etc. But at the 'KT', service is really secondary to the whole experience.
To put it another way, when you're out in the dining room you have very little choice but to inwardly reflect on your table. And in that case, the manner in which your table is handled is a larger issue. But with the excitement that surrounds you in the kitchen, your attention shifts elsewhere. No longer are you paying as much attention to the mechanics...you're spending your time watching the action and absorbing the overall energy.
I found the kitchen table to be a refreshingly real experience lacking any pretentiousness. It was more about the enjoyment of discussing amazingly artistic food and wine with people who are really passionate about what they do.
The kitchen table really is what you make it. If you want strict formality, I'm sure they'd give it to you. But for us, we were looking to learn more about the people that comprise the Trio team. We enjoyed the friendly conversations with the chef and his staff and learning about how various people ended up working at the restaurant. The kitchen table allows you to spend time getting to know not only the philosophy behind the food but also about the people who breathe the soul into that same food.
After spending a mind blowing six hours meal (boy the time flew by...it felt more like three to me) in the kitchen, I count many of these people as friends who I hope to visit with again in the future.
|Posted by: tammylc Nov 22 2003, 06:36 AM|
|Wow! Thanks for the amazing
write-up and pictures. I'm eating at the kitchen table in just 2 weeks, so
this is a really good sneak preview for me, since I expect many of the
dishes will be the same.|
|Posted by: Jinmyo Nov 22 2003, 06:38 AM|
|That's simply an amazing report,
jeffj. Great photographs.|
The action shots really punch up your presentation.
|Posted by: MobyP Nov 22 2003, 06:53 AM|
|From someone over the seas, who never expects to be able to eat there, your report has been invaluable. Thanks for taking the time. Amazing photographs too.|
|Posted by: bilrus Nov 22 2003, 07:19 AM|
|One dish you didn't go into much detail on was the "salad". What makes it different from a salad?|
|Posted by: tommy Nov 22 2003, 07:44 AM|
|wow. great job,
those pics wipe out some of the mystique of the place, for me, but make me want to go even more.
|Posted by: ronnie_suburban Nov 22 2003, 08:24 AM|
|Thanks jeffj for taking
the time to put this amazing photo review together. It is much
|Posted by: Anna N Nov 22 2003, 08:41 AM|
|Although this is too sophisticated for me to engage in a dialogue I wanted to add my appreciation for the time and effort to post the review and all those wonderful pics!|
|Posted by: jwagnerdsm Nov 22 2003, 09:10 AM|
|A great, great report. Can you talk a little bit more about vapors. I mean, do you eat it or do you just smell it? I still can't quite grasp the concept of tasting compared to, well, eating, but it looks like an interesting experience. I'm also interested in the salad. And do you leave Trio feeling stuffed, satisfied, or a little hungry?|
|Posted by: bleachboy Nov 22 2003, 09:56 AM|
|The "salad" is a very small
portion, served with a tiny spoon that looks like a baby's
It's a melange of variously flavored ices, including arugula, radicchio (IIRC), oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper. The "salad" in other words, is basically just shaved, flavored ice. When you put it in your mouth it tastes dead-on like a really well prepared salad. My wife and I burst into laughter at the first taste.
|Posted by: ducphat30 Nov 22 2003, 11:32 AM|
|Thank you very much for your time and effort, looked like you enjoyed some great wines with the meal, as well. Hoping to have the opportunity to go to Trio in the near future.|
|Posted by: Chris Cognac Nov 22 2003, 12:52 PM|
|Just wondering, how much was the bill for this amazing meal?|
|Posted by: inventolux Nov 23 2003, 09:56 AM|
My favorite part of the entire post. Most leaders fail to remember the importance of respect from the team. It has to come before everything else and must continually grow in order to open the doors to creativity.
|Posted by: Pan Nov 23 2003, 11:00 AM|
|jeffj, I want to join others in thanking you for that great report and those great pictures. This is one of the best reviews I've read on eGullet.|
|Posted by: tommy Nov 23 2003, 11:10 AM|
you mean he doesn't cuss, yell, scream, carry-on like a child, denigrate his staff, and throw things in the kitchen? how can a restaurant possibly survive without these things.
|Posted by: Cusina Nov 23 2003, 11:29 AM|
|Gorgeous, thank you!|
|Posted by: adrober Nov 23 2003, 02:10 PM|
|Wow, that was awesome! It made me hungry. In fact, I'm going to freeze some lettuce water right now...|
|Posted by: sladeums Nov 23 2003, 04:05 PM|
|As was previously
your review and photos were absolutely awesome!
Many thanks for taking the time to share.
|Posted by: Schneier Nov 23 2003, 05:06 PM|
|Excellent and interesting
Thanks for taking the time.
|Posted by: docsconz Nov 23 2003, 08:15 PM|
|Thanks! This was one of the best
posts I have ever read. Trio was at the top of my list of restaurants to
get to before, but now it is an absolute must.|
By the way, welcome to eGullet!
|Posted by: GordonCooks Nov 24 2003, 05:43 AM|
|The Best report in a long, long
|Posted by: fresco Nov 24 2003, 06:12 AM|
|In her editor's note this month,
Gourmet's Ruth Reichl noted and praised a new credit card-sized camera,
saying it would have made her job a lot easier if it had been around when
she reviewed restaurants. |
The Trio report was excellent. This sort of thing just blows away what newspapers and magazines are able to do. eGullet may yet change the whole nature of restaurant reviewing and reporting.
|Posted by: guajolote Nov 24 2003, 08:05 AM|
chefg doesn't allow flash photography in the dining room (awbrig asked when we went). they were in the kitchen where the flash probably didn't bother anyone.
thanks for the report jeff. i'm very impressed that you went to superdawg and trio on the same day like holly moore.
|Posted by: inventolux Nov 24 2003, 08:16 AM|
This sounds very exciting. Hmmmmmmmm.........the napster of restaurant reviewing. Whether they want it or not, its here for good and its a good time to revolt.
|Posted by: SobaAddict70 Nov 24 2003, 09:49 AM|
|Truly excellent post,
Welcome to the site, and we look forward to hearing more from you.
|Posted by: viaChgo Nov 24 2003, 12:59 PM|
|I know it's already been said, but, awesome post jeffj! Thanks for taking the effort in your review. One of the best ever.|
|Posted by: robyn Nov 24 2003, 05:19 PM|
|<<In just over 25 hours,
not only did we eat the TDF at Trio but we also ate at Harold’s Fried
Chicken, Al’s and Johnnie’s Italian Beef, SuperDawg, and Gino’s East.
Needless to say that by the end of the trip we were absolutely
In what order did you eat at these restaurants? And all in 25 hours? Robyn
|Posted by: jeffj Nov 24 2003, 07:38 PM|
Trio has utilized several iterations of vapor dishes in the past. Esentially, these dishes consist of carefully selected aromatics that surround the edible portion of the dish. In this case, the aromatics were hay, pumpkin, etc. and the actual dish consisted of pheasant with an apple cider nage. When presented at the table, hot water is poured over the aromatics and a wonderful aroma rises from the table. As you eat, the scented vapor should enhance your experience with the food. You don't actually eat any of the aromatics.
For both of my TDF meals at Trio, I have left completely full...not uncomfortably so, but very satiated. And I’m a relatively big eater.
From my understanding of the description of this dish, I believe you are correct. The trout is slit open before it's ready to spawn.
$350 for two TDF menus
$200 for two wine pairings
$21 for three bottles of water
$6 for two coffees
$62.50 for tax
+ the tip of your choice.
|Posted by: jeffj Nov 24 2003, 07:47 PM|
Here's a quick summary...all of this is was split between the two of us:
1:25PM Sunday: Harold's 1/4 Dark Dinner, Hot Sauce, Pineapple-Passion Soda
3:05PM Sunday: SuperDawg and a Whoopski Dawg, Root-Beer
6:00PM Sunday: Trio TDF
10:10AM Monday: Al's Big Beef-juicy-hot, Fries, Cup of Cheese, Lemonade
11:30AM Monday: Gino's East - Small Spinach Deep Dish, Diet Coke
2:40PM Monday: Johnnie's Beef-Dipped-Sweet, Italian Ice
|Posted by: docsconz Nov 24 2003, 08:02 PM|
Ouch! How did you fit that all in?
|Posted by: Holly Moore Nov 24 2003, 08:09 PM|
|That Diet Coke makes a lot of
Well eaten, though I notice breaksfast is missing. Next time might I suggest Original Pancake's Apple Pancake before the Italian beef?
|Posted by: eem Nov 24 2003, 08:40 PM|
|Your photos came out great! If
it's not too off subject, what kind of camera do you use? I'm shopping for
a small dig. camera for close up of foodstuff and yours gave excellent
results, not to mention your engaging compositions. |
|Posted by: robert brown Nov 24 2003, 08:53 PM|
|Jeff, that was a labor of love. It looks like there aren't more than five people preparing the food. Did you get a chance to watch the goings-on? Did you get up and watch from time to time? Could you get an idea of how much the chefs prepared ahead and how much was "a la minute" or made during the seance?|
|Posted by: jeffj Nov 24 2003, 08:58 PM|
I used an Pentax Optio S camera...one of the smallest digital cameras available (it fits in an Altoids tin). I like the size and it's perfect for restaurant photography. But if you want to have more manual control you'll have to go with a larger and more expensive camera. I shoot without flash so as not to disturb other patrons. By doing so, you have to have a really steady hand because the shutter needs to be open for an extended period. I usually take several shots and often only one or two come out decent. As for the compositions...chefg's food just cries out for great photography. It's food art at its finest.
|Posted by: robyn Nov 24 2003, 09:20 PM|
At almost all restaurants - there's a lot of time devoted to "mise en place" which - translated - means "to put in place" (ahead of time). At its extreme - for example at 3 star restaurants in France - you will see the kitchen prep people hulling strawberries at 9 am. But you can also observe it at your local Chinese restaurant at 4 pm - the kitchen staff sitting down at a table and removing the strings from snow pea pods. If you want an excellent cookbook which describes some of the techniques used in professional kitchens - I recommend The New Professional Chef published by the Culinary Institute of America. Robyn
|Posted by: malarkey Nov 25 2003, 01:43 AM|
holy mary mother of god. this is more expensive than the French Laundry.
Awesome, awesome review. Really, one of the best I've ever read on egullet. Now I simply HAVE to go to Trio.
|Posted by: ronnie_suburban Nov 25 2003, 08:56 AM|
You are my new hero!
|Posted by: chefg Nov 25 2003, 12:24 PM|
We employ 10 in the kitchen including myself. This number is usaully bumped by 5 due to stages, and externs which are unpaid. Of course a great deal of preparation is required throughout the day but all dishes are cooked, finished and plated ala minute.
|Posted by: D. Peckham Nov 25 2003, 01:37 PM|
|Chef Grant just wondering what kind of turn over of staff you have on a regular basis?|
|Posted by: eem Nov 25 2003, 02:25 PM|
Thanks for the camera info. I saw that one in American Photo's August Editors picks.
Thanks again for sacrificing the temperature of the food in order to make some photography.
|Posted by: Truffle Nov 25 2003, 04:24 PM|
|What a beautiful portrait of
your experience! Having spent a good deal of time in a top kitchen not
long ago, the photo-captures of 'a night in motion' in the inner world of
a splendor such as Trio are bittersweet to me. Thanks for the
|Posted by: chefg Nov 25 2003, 09:31 PM|
We have been fortunate to have very little turnover in the two and half years I been at Trio. Three of my original hires are still on board. Only two people have left short of one year, which is rare in the world of 16+ hour days.
|Posted by: SethG Nov 25 2003, 10:45 PM|
|I want to add my thanks for your
wonderful report on Trio.|
I was also pleased to see that you put Harold's Chicken Shack in its proper place among all of the places you visited: first among equals!
|Posted by: speidec Dec 3 2003, 08:30 AM|
|I also must say the photos were great and well focused. I have to ask , though, in some of the pictures there was a small dish containing a perfetc quenelle of a yellow substance; was it butter? and if so what kind of bread was served? ChefG posted a while back about tinkering with taditional bread service. And why was it so yellow?|
|Posted by: VeryApe77 Dec 3 2003, 09:24 AM|
|I think it probably is butter - To add my 2 cents, when I had the TDF our waiter told us that the butter comes from a purveyor who only supplies butter to the french laundry and trio. He explained why it was so yellow, but I will not try to explain it here as I would probably get it wrong! I will say that it sticks out in my mind as the best butter I have ever tasted in my life!|
|Posted by: jeffj Dec 3 2003, 09:26 AM|
Yes, it was the butter. Although I didn't try it on this occassion, it is the most wonderful butter that I've ever tasted. It comes from http://www.animalfarmvt.com/ in Vermont. It's primarily served at The French Laundry (where I have tried it). It's definitely a great carryover from chefg's time at FL.
The bread served were small rolls. In order to save room for the meal I didn't try it.
|Posted by: FoodMan Dec 3 2003, 10:39 AM|
|What a fantastic post!!!! The
best ever. Thank you so much. I loved the Chefs-at-work pictures as well.
I cannot waite to dine
|Posted by: malarkey Dec 4 2003, 10:15 AM|
Actually I guess this is about the same as FL now that I think about it. The photos go a long way toward telling the story. Truly, this place has moved to the top of my list. Now how & when can I get there.. hmmmm
|Posted by: tammylc Dec 8 2003, 10:19 PM|
|Had dinner at the kitchen table
last night. It was fabulous, astounding, wonderful, and most of all fun!
Chefg's sense of whimsy shines strongly through his food, and I went with
a group of people who were really able to embrace that whimsy. At times I
worried that we were disrupting the kitchen with our laughter!|
Our menu was nearly identical to the one Jefff had, as I expected. There were a few differences in both the content and the order of execution. I'm not going to aim for a course by course run down necessarily, I'll just comment on our observations and the few new dishes.
Pacific Sea Urchin; puree of orange rind, peppers, licorice
Puree of Chestnuts; quince, bacon, potato ice cream - We were all utterly amazed by the potato ice cream - utter confusion between what your brain was expecting and what your mouth got!
Tempura of Rock Shrimp; vanilla, cranberry, Meyer lemon - Absolute favorite dish of 2 of our table of 4, and in the top 3 for the rest of us. An amazing combination of flavors and textures - the crisp of the tempura shell and fabulous fruity hit. Wow. So, so good. And smells great too, thanks to the vanilla bean.
Black Truffle Explosion - I think I'd heard about this one a little too much. I was really looking forward to it, and while it was great, I wasn't as awed as I expected to be. The concept and technique is astounding of course, but I think that I just prefer my truffles as a part of other dishes rather than all on their own.
Extra course - Smoked sturgeon with pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, matsutake mushroom (same one Jeffj had, and like for him, not printed on the menu) - The dried mushrooms had such a wonderful intensity, and the sturgeon was remarkable.
Elysian Fields Farm Lamb; chanterelle mushrooms, coffee, catmint - I don't like coffee, but this still worked for me!
"Pizza" - What more is there to say? Truly astounding, even more so given that we'd all eaten pizza for lunch. This was better.
Ribeye of Prime Beef; banana, celeriac, malted barley (ours was beef, where Jeffj's was venison) - The combinations here worked better than I could possibly have expected. M couldn't stop raving about the beef/chocolate reduction sauce that was also a component.
"Cheese and Cracker"
"Salad" - "This is a prank of the first order" declared one of my companions. We were all very impressed and delighted by this one.
Pushed Foie Gras; Dolga crabapples, honey gelee - My favorite of the evening. I'd had something similar on my trip to Trio last year, but this was even better. The apple cider sorbet was great.
Mountain Huckleberry Soda; five flavors gelled - We were all utterly awed by the smoked cream. So much so that we asked how it was done, and got our answer towards the end of the meal (it's just cold smoked, no tricks, although I can't remember what kind of wood she said they used). The sage gell amazed me by being so totally transparent, and while I found it didn't have much flavor on its own, I found that it had the most impact on the flavor of the soda. Neat alchemy!
**extra course: Kumumoto oyster with sesame foam - Unfortunately, none of us really like this one. I generally really like oysters, but I think this variety just didn't work for me. The oyster was already loaded on a spoon, with a sesame foam over the top. A one bit dish.
Michigan Brook Trout Roe; ginger, soy, papaya - Every flavor in this dish is really, really intense - the roe is of course remarkable, but the ginger and soy also really express themselves. I didn't _dislike_ it (a couple people at the table did, though) but it was just too much intensity for me to finish it. I also found that as we entered the second progression I was feeling overfull and suffering from some palate fatigue.
Puffed Lobster; grapefruit, lemongrass
**Salsify Wrapped in Bread; shellfish, Buddha's hand, dried parsley - Two pieces of salsify breaded in brioche crumbs and fried crispy, with some fish and shellfish. I can't remember the main sauce, but the secondary sauce was a bright green parsley sauce. The "dried parsley" in the name refers to a translucent sheet of dehydrated parsley oil - I don't know how they make it, but it was really neat! It also included some bright Buddha's hand gellee, and a fresh Buddha's hand was zested over top of the dish. For those unfamiliar with the fruit, it's a type of citrus that looks like a whole bunch of bright yellow fingers - it had a great aroma and flavor.
Iowa Pork; figs, truffles, fennel - Delightful, but I was really starting to feel full. So I tasted all of the components, but only ate about half.
**Frozen Yuzu-Tosaka Seaweed - Just when I really needed a palate cleanser, along came an astounding one. A frozen wafer of Yuzu juice, with a beautiful frond of red seaweed pressed into one side.
Breast and Leg of Wisconsin Pheasant; late autumnal fragrances - This is the current vapor dish, and the three city dwellers in the group loved it. One of our party, however, had grown up on a farm, and the late autumnal fragrances smelled just a like a barn to her! And since one just doesn't eat in a barn, she had a really hard time with this dish!
Hereford Hop; Guiness, onions, fresh yeast
Mango-Olive-Pistachio - I liked the pixie stick concept, but the filling just didn't work for me.
Tapioca of Roses; raspberries, clove, cream - Wow, wow, wow. We all adored it, and loved the fun of slurping it out of a tube.
Liquid Mijao; parmesan, quinoa, hazelnuts - "Watch it jiggle, see it wiggle..." Loved the look, but the flavor and the combinations didn't really do it for me. Interestingly, we had a lot more garnishes than in Jeffj's picture.
Tripod Hibiscus - Another wonderfully whimsical dish that also tasted great!
And the chocolates of course!
It was really neat to be in the kitchen and see all the dishes coming together. It was a quiet Sunday night and the kitchen team was working away on some dishes for the upcoming switch to the winter menu, including something to do with a cured goose breast. Sadly, we didn't get to sample anything! After seeing the "Into the Fire" episode, it was cool to see some of that playful creativity in person.
The wine service was great, and the pairings were inspired, as usual. Lots of unusual wines, like a white wine from Sicily and a red wine from Austria! Never any typical pairings - everything was really creative. I'd been wine geeking with our server all evening, and as we got talking about ports, he got inspired and brought me out an Amontillado (sp?) dry sherry to taste. It had a very nutty finish that you wouldn't really expect. Very interesting, and a nice treat.
Service overall was great. Many of the dishes were explained by members of the kitchen staff, with the sous chef coming up for a few, and the pastry chef for another. Being in the kitchen definitely takes the pressure off of providing picture perfect service - the atmosphere doesn't necessarily demand it, and you get so distracted by what's going on that you wouldn't notice service gaffes that would be apparent in the dining room. But that said, I didn't have a single complaint about the service.
We were the last table in the place (dinner took about 5 hours total) and Chefg came over to talk to us at the end of the night. We sort of talked his ear off, we were so excited about the experience, and eager to share our favorites! Hope he didn't mind too much!
Despite my palate fatigue at the beginning of the second progression, by the end of the meal I wasn't at all overly full and felt really rejuvenated.
The whole team at Trio is doing just utterly remarkable work. Only a couple of course out of the 27 didn't work for us, but not through any flaw in execution, just a reflection of our tastes. Chefg is doing a lot of really exciting things with combining sweet and savory tastes in dishes - as somone else mentioned, almost all the desserts had a little bit of sea salt to them, which added a whole new layer. But I was most impressed with the combinations of hot and cold, both in individual dishes and throughout the meal as a whole. No simple sorbet intermezzos for Trio - all of the cold/frozen dishes were just as thought out as the warm and were among my favorites time and time again.
Thanks Chefg and team for a wonderful night! Truly an experience to remember! I can't wait until next time.
|Posted by: summertruffle Dec 9 2003, 01:41 AM|
|Whether or not Trio is your cup
of tea, I don't think that there is a restaurant in the US (maybe FL) that
continually offers such an eye-opening, almost emotional experience. Sure
there is the [rare] negative review, but the vast majority of people that
dine there seem to come away with an almost life-changing
It makes it seem sort of magical, in a sense. Which obviously appeals to many diners. Myself included.
Thanks for another wonderful review, tammy!
|Posted by: jeffj Dec 9 2003, 10:21 AM|
|Thanks Tammy for taking the time
to write your wonderful report. I'm delighted to hear that you had as good
a time as we did. Trio is definitely an amazing
|Posted by: spaghetttti Dec 10 2003, 05:58 AM|
|jeffj, that was absolutely
awesome. I enjoyed reading this over and over again. |
I've not had a dining experience such as yours but I loved and lived vicariously through your narrative and amazing photos.
Kudos to chefg.
Thank you, and I with Ronnie_Suburban says, you are my new hero, too.
|Posted by: twodogs Dec 11 2003, 02:09 PM|
|the butter from animal farm gets
its vibrant color from being fed on grass, hence spring time is a true
delight to butter lovers.|
oh, and the butter is served at a third restaurant; the lodge at keyah grande in pagosa springs colorado.
|Posted by: eggplantconfit Feb 25 2004, 05:13 PM|
|just ate at the trio kitchen
table sunday night. it was my 4th trio visit and easily the most
the kitchen was hushed and extremely professional, as it would have to be to produce that kind of food. chef carrier and chef achetz were engaging and generous, as was our main server and the rest of the staff. look forward to more.
thanks to all.
|Posted by: raych77 Feb 28 2004, 09:25 AM|
|I will be dining at Trio for the
first time tonight. I'm so excited - and strangely nervous! I'm almost
afraid I won't play with my food correctly! |
Any advice for the newbie? Ha!
|Posted by: nightscotsman Feb 28 2004, 10:55 AM|
|Go for the Tour de Force menu and be prepared to be there quite a while. You won't be bored and it's worth it.|
|Posted by: cookperrync Feb 29 2004, 09:07 AM|
|Does the entire table have to
get the Tour de Force?|
|Posted by: raych77 Feb 29 2004, 10:03 AM|
|Wow - wow - wow!!!! We went last
night and both had the TDF with the wine pairing... It was so good that I
dreamt about it afterwards!!! The menu was very similar to those listed
above. You were right, you must be prepared for the long haul tho. Our
meal took almost exactly 5 hours, and we were so stiff afterwards! But
hey, no pain, no gain! |
The service was perfect. No pretention, no noses in the air, just pure friendliness that put us immediately at ease. The staff had a wonderful sense of humor, even going so far as to let us keep our roses that came with one of the courses (they made it seem like we weren't really supposed to). The other thing we noticed was how unbelievably choreographed every movement was. Nobody missed a step.
The wine pairings, to me, were expert and really did enhance the meal. We were both very pleased that we decided to go that route. It was the first time either of us had our wine paired for us and we're not sure how we survived before!
Everything I've read about Trio (at least the good stuff) was true. It lived up to every expectation and exceeded many others.
|Posted by: M65 Feb 29 2004, 12:50 PM|
|I am supposed to have dinner there tonight, TDF ofcourse and am very much looking forward to it. Also, looking forward to the wine pairings. More later.|
|Posted by: M65 Mar 6 2004, 05:16 AM|
This coming from some one who only belives in Degu Menus as a proper
dining format, and who has been an eternal vegetarian, Chef G rules, undoubdtedly the best feast i have had in my life, hands down, but what added to my dining expirience was the superb superb service, kudos chef, what a treat. see you soon. 28 courses of pure decadence. just loved it, cant wait to do it again.
|Posted by: tarka Apr 7 2004, 05:48 AM|
(feel free to move this as i didn't eat at the kitchen table but this seems the most obviousl place for the post)
I've made trip to Evanston twice now. Once to satisfy my curiosity, once to check if the first meal was a fluke. For me, Grant Achatz is the most important chef in the world at the moment. He's at that point of the bell curve where the inventiveness of molecular gastronomy meets emotionally and physically satisfying food and he nails both almost every time. I can forgive him the almost as the misses (and there have only been five out of all the dishes i have eaten) as food this thrilling and inventive doesn't come without experimentation.
I don't need to be convinced about molecular gastronomy. However as a person who hates pigeon holes I kind of resent the term. Sure, the label helps me identify the restaurants I want to eat at, but more importantly it allows people to bracket Achatz, Blumenthal, Adria et al together without concern for the differences in their approach and food. For me, Adria is the mad, crazy alchemist determined to conjure gold out of tomatoes, Blumenthal the chemistry teacher who impresses you with his culinary flights of fancy while convincing you that molecular gastronomy the obvious next stage in the evolution of dining out. And then there's Achatz. To me his food is more emotional, on the plate no less inventive than Adria and Blumenthal, but deeply rooted in (to me) the intrinsic necessity of a cook: to sate an appetite yet to create food that people want to eat again. And in my case, again and again and again.
I believe that everything we eat adds up to form your personal pantheon of food experience. As a former anorexic a tendency to fetishise food still remains. Memories of driving myself crazing sniffing the biscuit barrel yet denying myself the cookie makes me desire food that smells great. Equally, huge portions daunt me and I would rather eat 15 different single bites than one large portion. As someone who has taught herself a basic understanding of the principals of a number of different cuisines, I love food that takes something I've cooked myself and subverts it. I believe that food can evoke memory more than anything and so i like to eat food that reminds me of other
food I have eaten. Yet I crave the new and exciting and love nothing more than trying something for the first time. Achatz satisfies all of these personal needs.
And so onto the food and restaurant. The room and the service are relaxed and informal. The room reminds me of a log cabin, it's kind of low ceilinged, with a real
warmth to it. The staff are having a blast and this translates into a fabulous experience. I've eaten here alone both times and I am almost loath to go back with friends as talking to the waiters about the food and wine is a damn sight more interesting that most dinner conversations. I’m not going to talk about every dish I’ve eaten here, there are too many for that, but instead I'll concentrate on my favorite bits.
Cheese n Cracker, Salad, Virtual Shrimp Cocktail, Chicharrones con Salsa.
Some might see these dishes as curiosities but to me they are some of the most entertaining, whimsical and delicious on the menu. Cheese n Cracker is a crisp
parcel filled with Wisconsin cheddar. I joked to my waiter that I didn't think Americans knew how to make cheese, but this was stellar. A molten, oozing single bite of great cheese wrapped in the cracker. Salad is a granita of different lettuces (juiced and then frozen and shaved) dressed with oil and vinegar. The inventiveness of the execution should be enough by itself, but it was perfectly dressed as well, something that many traditional restaurants can't pull off with real lettuce. It came at the half way point in the TDF and was a perfect palate cleanser and it also regirded my loins for the second "half" of the meal. Achatz has cleverly created a long and involved tasting menu that has phases, doesn't throw all the cool and inventive stuff at you at first and that is perfectly paced. Virtual Shrimp Cocktail is an atomizer that you mist onto your tongue; didn’t work for me, reminded me of my asthma medication, but the flavor was there, even though the delivery mechanism failed.
North Dakota goose (foie gras, roasting goose aromas) Rib eye of Prime Beef (spring lettuce, morels, smoked tongue) Tapioca of Roses (raspberries, clove, cream) These are the dishes where smell really comes into play and Achatz's desire to deliver new ways of experiencing the food and smell are apparent. The goose is served with a small dish on the side full of aromatics and a hot stone is placed on the dish (with a warning not to eat it) that releases the aroma. The rib eye of smoked beef comes with a small beaker over the beef and tongue, the beaker is filled with smoke so you experience the real hit of the smoking as you eat. The tapioca of roses is served in a plastic tube with a single red rose and three warm raspberries on the plate. The first dish I was served at El Bulli came with a rose, but I found the experience somewhat embarrassing as we'd literally just sat down and were being commanded to sniff. Achatz saves this until the end, so you're more relaxed and happy to let yourself do what he says. Last time I ate here one diner grasped the rose in his teeth and was grinning like a schoolboy. Not something I saw at more formal places like El Bulli or Gagnaire.
Tempura of Gulf Shrimp (vanilla, cranberry, Meyer lemon) Black Truffle
Explosion, Confit of Melysol Melon and Fricassee of English Peas (cured
goose, ramps, pearls of eucalyptus). the tempura is the most delicious thing I have ever eaten, beating Ramsey's Tarte Tatin by a very long way. It's not the most inventive thing on the menu but it's made of things that i love (prawns, vanilla, fried food) delivered in a new way (speared on a vanilla bean) and eaten by lifting the bean upwards and lowering the tempura into your mouth. People look almost religious as they throw their heads back and eat. The temptation to snatch it from the hands of those who closed their eyes to do this was strong, but I managed to resist. The Confit of Melysol melon is Achatz's take on that old faithful melon and Parma ham. Melon is balled into almost nerd sized balls, arranged and then covered with the thinnest slice of prosciutto that's flashed under the grill until it becomes transparent. this dish works in so many different ways; you've had it before but never like this, the melon is the sweetest you've ever eaten and it looks like the candy you had as a child. Simply stunning. And the fricassee of English peas. What a spring like dish! To me it's a riff
on the peas and mint thing, but here the mint is replaced with eucalyptus pearls (gelled balls flavoured with eucalyptus oil) that mimic the size, shape and mouthfeel of the peas, but with a surprising flavor.
There's an erotic nature to trio that I don't want to overemphasize, but needs mentioning as so few restaurants deliver this. It's not seedy erotic, more the frisson of flirting when you know you shouldn't and playfulness that comes from being physically and mentally stimulated. I don't know if it's intentional or just imagined by me, but the delivery of the food (frozen hibiscus lollipops to suck, tempura with vanilla beans allowing you to close your eyes and throw back your head (still can't stop thinking about this dish) charred pineapple and smoked salmon speared so you lean in, as if for a kiss and, on my last visit, a tube of foie gras) coupled with the low lighting and drapes on the ceiling, makes this a really intimate place to eat.
If you live in Chicago and you haven't been, go. If you live anywhere else, get on a flight and go.
|Posted by: Schneier Apr 15 2004, 07:30 PM|
|I have kitchen table
reservations for two weeks from now.|
|Posted by: bleachboy Apr 15 2004, 07:45 PM|
|Tarka, I don't know how I missed your post the first time around, but now that this has been bumped, you captured the essence of the Trio experience perfectly. Hear hear!|
|Posted by: Sweet Willie Apr 16 2004, 05:33 AM|
Going tomorrow night to celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary.
We don’t have the kitchen table either, but I will post under this thread as well.
|Posted by: Rhea_S Apr 16 2004, 07:15 AM|
|Happy Anniversary! I am eagerly anticipating your dinner descriptions. One day, I will get myself to Trio.|
|Posted by: Lady T Apr 16 2004, 07:38 AM|
It's all that, and then some, Bruce. I look forward to your report.
And I thank you again for giving me my first shot at the Trio kitchen table last fall!
|Posted by: raych77 Apr 16 2004, 02:27 PM|
|Please take me with you! I want to go back so badly! I take out the menu they gave us as a souvenir at least once a week and pine away for the shrimp tempura on the vanilla bean skewer... sigh|
|Posted by: tammylc Apr 17 2004, 04:37 AM|
|I lust after that too. Sooooo
|Posted by: raych77 Apr 17 2004, 12:29 PM|
|I feel better knowing that I'm
not the only one. The girls I work with laugh at me all the time number
one, for spending the money on a dinner (they are not foodies), and number
two for saying out of nowhere, I have a taste for a shrimp on a vanilla
bean. They think I've completely lost it.|
They may not be wrong...
|Posted by: bleachboy Apr 17 2004, 04:54 PM|
|No, Raych, they're wrong. The shrimp tempura on the vanilla bean is unbelievably kick ass.|