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Trio Atelier - Evanston IL


Pugman
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I don't have time right now to do a full report, but I went to a pre-opening dinner at Henry Adaniya's "reborn" Trio last night (now called Trio Atelier) and was very impressed. Fine-dining-level service, moderate prices (honest!), interesting thought-provoking decor, and very good food. My advice: go there with an open mind, avoid all comparisons to the old Trio (save that until the no-doubt-dazzling Alinea opens next year), and just have FUN.

Not-to-miss dishes: foie gras mousse with diced peaches on black pepper shortbread, white truffle "chiffon" (a light custard on top of puff pastry and served with some greens and mushrooms), French-style gnocchi in browned butter with almonds and baby veggies.

Those three savories AND a dessert would set you back only about $50--and this would be a large meal (too large, really). A decent-sized meal here should be in the $25-$45 range (plus drinks). Wine comes in 3 oz and 6 oz pours and similarly well-priced. And, yes, cocktails are back at Trio. In fact, the former salon/waiting area has been transformed into a bar area with two communal tables for enjoying drinks and small dishes.

Don't worry about "new restaurant syndrome." These folks are pros--go there before people are lined up outside the door; which may happen very soon. The Chicagoland dining scene just keeps getting better and better! Are we lucky or what?!

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Thanks for the report Pugman. The menu sounds delicious. It's not going to be surprising to anyone if Henry continues to enjoy success--he's had quite a bit of it over the years.

I'm very much looking forward to trying out Trio Atelier. Do you know when it officially opens?

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

This review of Trio Atelier, by Chris LaMorte, appeared in metromix today. A very positive review--with a couple of curiously negative allusions to Trio's recent past. :unsure:

Price isn't an issue for the menu's most intriguing option: the $4 salt flight. It matches four types of salt--from a weird pink variety to a smoky brown one--to tiny tastes of melon, fingerlings, heirloom tomatoes and a beet-dyed hard-boiled egg. Served with a 2002 Boutari Moschofilero ($4.50; $9), this super-sized amuse bouche makes a delicious conversation piece.

Other must-tries: The caraway-infused braised veal cheek served atop a delectable mound of celery root puree with mushrooms and lardon ($10) had the flavors of a hearty home cooking. The French gnocchi ($15) was simultaneously crispy and fluffy. Both dishes left us dreaming about them the next day.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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This review of Trio Atelier, by Chris LaMorte, appeared in metromix today. A very positive review--with a couple of curiously negative allusions to Trio's recent past.

Yes, I'm not sure about labeling Trio under ChefG as being "stuffy, boring" is really correct. I found it to be quite the opposite!

Still, the new Trio sounds very good. I will try to go ASAP!

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I used to work with Dale Levitski at La Tache (his last job before Trio) and am anxious to see what he's up to now... the only reports I've heard have been from pre-opening dinners. However, I've heard good things -- and from pretty opinionated people too.

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Yes, I'm not sure about labeling Trio under ChefG as being "stuffy, boring" is really correct. I found it to be quite the opposite!

Still, the new Trio sounds very good. I will try to go ASAP!

From what I gather from the article I do not believe that the journalist was necessarily implying that the Trio dining room was "stuffy & boring" through chefg's influence. I think that he was just describing how Henry Adaniya made a consertaive effort to drift away from the intense dining that Trio had been doing for the past ten years and do something a little more casual and festive. I think Adanyia is at the point now where he is like "Been there, done that". He just seems like a guy who likes to keep evolving, take chances, and keep moving.

Edited by Lactic Solar Dust (log)
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From what I gather from the article I do not believe that the journalist was necessarily implying that the Trio dining room was "stuffy & boring" through chefg's influence.  I think that he was just describing how Henry Adaniya made a consertaive effort to drift away from the intense dining that Trio had been doing for the past ten years and do something a little more casual and festive.  I think Adanyia is at the point now where he is like "Been there, done that".  He just seems like a guy who likes to keep evolving, take chances, and keep moving.

Having worked, and eaten, at both. Forget the room. Eat the food.

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I'm taking my partner Greg to Trio Atelier tomorrow night for his birthday. We haven't been yet, and are looking forward to it. (We had the BIG celebration on Saturday, with a twelve-course tasting menu at TRU.)

What is the wine list like at TA? Did Trio's Sommelier leave with chefG? We sometimes like to bring a special wine to a restaurant to celebrate a special occasion. The corkage charge is $20. I'm wondering if the menu is "special" enough to justify one of our Big Guns.

Edited by gmi3804 (log)
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I'm taking my partner Greg to Trio Atelier tomorrow night for his birthday.  We haven't been yet, and are looking forward to it.  (We had the BIG celebration on Saturday, with a twelve-course tasting menu at TRU.)

What is the wine list like at TA?  Did Trio's Sommelier leave with chefG?  We sometimes like to bring a special wine to a restaurant to celebrate a special occasion.  The corkage charge is $20.  I'm wondering if the menu is "special" enough to justify one of our Big Guns.

Not sure about the wine list at TA, but I am pretty sure that the previous sommelier at Trio did leave with ChefG.

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I don't think it's a very good sign that its wine list is not featured on Trio Atelier's WEBSITE

I had a really good dinner at Trio Atelier a few weeks ago, and one of the highlights is that Trio's wine cellar is intact. The best part is that a great number of wines are offered by the glass, and in half pours if you desire, at very reasonable prices. We were able, with the help of our server Trinna, to sample 6 or 7 different wines that paired well with our food.

Don't go to T.A. expecting the old Trio -- but do go, and go with an open mind. I very much enjoyed everything we had, the portions were perfect, and the service remains excellent. I will be a frequent diner, and I might even bring my kids along sometime.

Joe Catterson will indeed be the GM and the Wine Director at Alinea. But as Alinea will not open until early next year he is still working with T.A. -- at least to my knowledge.

In any event, I fully expect that T.A. will keep up an exciting wine program and it is safe to say that your wine experience will be excellent.

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I'm happy as a clam to report that dinner last night at Trio Atelier was a smashing success! The room is a lot more casual now. The artwork is gone and in its place are several flat-screen monitors showing soothing, abstract images; I christened them, "Father, Mirror, Father," a nod to Terry Zwigoff's Ghost World.

Allay your fears! Trio's wine list remains intact. Rather than be adventurous and try several different 3-oz pours with different courses, we chose a beautiful 1988 Vosne Romanee, this being a special birthday celebration. At $165 it was fairly-priced. There are many fine selections for under $50 per bottle.

Here's what we had, in order. Most dishes were small-ish, as noted on the menu; anywhere between a large amuse and a small entree, sizewise. It was tough deciding what to choose.

  • Flight of Salt - four tastings of different salts accompanied by watermelon, zucchini, hard-boiled egg, and heirloom tomatoes
  • Provençal Tart, a ratatouille in a parmesan crust with a piquillo pepper sauce
  • Grilled Octopus over a fennel and olive potato salad
  • Rabbit Virtini, a Lithuanian dumpling of rabbit and mashed potato in a brothlike sauce of cress, horseradish, and tomato
  • Caraway Veal Cheek, braised with mushrooms and lardon, and served with a root puree. Rich and smoky, very satisfying, reminiscent of a very tender shortrib.
  • French Gnocchi were ethereal ricotta dumplings served with almonds and seasonal vegetables (squash) in brown butter
  • Croque Monsieur, a mini ham and cheese sandwich made with white cheddar and served with mutarde du violet, a sweet horseradish mustard
  • Lemongrass Soda, a shooter with golden zucchini savory muffins and creme fraiche
  • Cabrales Pecan Tart was almost quiche-like; cabrales is a very pungent bleu cheese. Grape jam helptd to cut the sharp flavor of the cheese
  • Peach Pound Cake with chamomile ice cream
  • Apricot Charlotte light mousse-like confection served with white cornmeal ladyfingers and fresh blueberries

For all the great dishes we sampled, there were that many more that we couldn't, for lack of stomach space!

Service was polished and professional. Dishes ranged from $4 to $12, with most falling in the middle of that range. It's nice to have such a casual, yet serious, new place. I'm excited about sampling new items as different seasonal ingredients become available. On a Tuesday night, the place was only half full, but there were private dinners going on in their private rooms. I suspect the word isn't out yet on the new concept, but am confident that soon we won't be able to get near the place without advance planning (perhaps it's like that on weekends already). I wish them the best!

Edited by gmi3804 (log)
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  • 5 weeks later...

Thanks for the link, George. :smile:

Wow! A very nice review by Phil Vettel...

Small plates are mere nibbles, but include some memorable creations. Chief among these is the "flight of salt," in which four discrete piles of high-quality salt (including a lemony fleur de sel and an outrageous Brittany smoked salt) are to be sprinkled over halved baby tomatoes, cucumber slices, a beet juice-steeped egg (turning the egg-white purple) and tiny melon balls. The idea is to play with different flavors and pungencies, and it's a fun little experiment.
Medium-sized courses contain some real stars, such as the lovely vol-au-vent of shellfish, a puff-pastry nest of shrimp, lobster and crabmeat with a pair of curry sauces--one sweet, one hot--that add soothing richness and peppery bite. A tall pile of shredded duck confit perches over a hash of fingerling potatoes and tart apples, surrounded by an indulgent brown-butter hollandaise sauce. And a fanciful white-cheddar croque monsieur sandwich is oozing with hearty cheese, balanced by a tangy chutney of pureed raisin and whole-grain mustard.

Mary E. McMahon's desserts bring the meal to a rousing finish. I love her creme-brulee tasting, an assortment of five mini-ramekins (order all or some, or one) in such flavors as cinnamon, vanilla, pumpkin, candied corn (with syrup-soaked niblets) and honey-thyme (my favorite). Brioche beignets with bourbon-sauteed apples and hard-cider ice cream works as a sort-of deconstructed apple pie--pastry, sweet apple and ice cream, all compartmentalized.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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the missus and i went to trio atelier last friday.

very impressive service. however...

the room has a certain farmhouse charm (despite the blazing lights of the lobby) with the pale wood but why are those video screens there. and what about the rubbish on the menu trying to explain in the most pretentious of terms.

i've had just about enough of this small plate/large plate nonsense but trio atelier has some lovely things at the top of the menu that leave you feeling a bit better about the concept. the rabbit dumpling is a masterpiece. the demitasse of onion soup was less successful. the most impressive item was a duck salad. we ordered a pork tenderloin that our cheeky server referred to as "the new black"; very unimpressive - almost no flavor although the chipolte compote that came with it was quite tasty.

over all, i think trio atelier needs to cut the crap - the videoscreens and the tapas pretense - and get down to basics. solid, simple vittles in a lovely little room. grant is gone. seize the opportunity for something new, not a pale echo.

Barbarian at the Plate

Your Gourmet with an Attitude

http://www.barbarianattheplate.com

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  • 4 weeks later...

4 of us (myself, gmi3804 and our respective partners) had a great meal and fantastic service at the "new" Trio last weekend.

A brief run-down...

The Flight of Salt was tasty and fun. I also loved the Brandade. My favorite dish of the night was the Caraway Veal Cheek with Root Puree, Mushroom and Lardon. I also enjoyed the crispy-creamy "French" Gnocchi (with ricotta, almonds, seasonal vegetables and brown butter) as well, but that amazing Veal Cheek really trumped it.

I also had tastes of the "Green Egg & Ham" (described on the menu as a sweet pea deviled and serrano ham chip), the Seared Lamb Rack Chop with garlic sauce verte, the Croque Monsieur (Yum!) and the Pork Tenderloin with Corn Bread and Slow Beans. All of the above were very tasty but I especially loved the Pork Tenderloin--it was delicious. The combination of corn bread and beans was amazing and it created a perfect accompanyment for the pork.

For dessert, I had a Chocolate and Caramel Napoleon that was just perfect. I'm normally not a dessert person, but I ate every bite of it. I also tasted the very wonderful Beignets with Hard Cider Ice Cream, Caramelized Apples and Bourbon.

We also enjoyed a couple of bottles of Chateauneuf du Pape, 2001 that were right on the money.

The menu at Trio Atelier is filled with appetizing and creative dishes and I really can't wait to get back there and try out a few more of them.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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This was my second time dining at Trio Atelier, and it was just as good the second time as it was the first.

Having first tried it in mid-September, I noticed that there were several different menu items, and a couple with different preparations. I wish I'd tried the parmesan cheesecake (served like a cheese course), but there's always next time!

We got seated in the back room this time (I failed to make the front room request when reconfirming the reservation). I call this the "Yellow Submarine" room because there's a large yellow surfboard-like sculpture on a wall which is painted "Blue Meany" blue! Anyway, this back room is comfortable as well, and we had the same waiter we had last time (Scott), whose been recently promoted to Wine Director, so we were in good hands!

Trio Atelier is a great place to have a casual yet culinarily significant meal, and it's great fun to try different small dishes. We didn't find one clunker the whole evening. :biggrin:

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Having first tried it in mid-September, I noticed that there were several different menu items, and a couple with different preparations.  I wish I'd tried the parmesan cheesecake (served like a cheese course), but there's always next time!

Damn!!! I knew I forgot to order something...not that I had any room left anyway. :wink::biggrin:

The decor in the 'Yellow Submarine' room was a bit "chilly" IMO but it was certainly comfortable.

And as wonderful a server as Scott was (he was great), it was our dining companion, Greg, who made the excellent, pinpoint wine selection. What a treat that was! George, do you remember the wine details? They're a bit foggy in my mind...

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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And as wonderful a server as Scott was (he was great), it was our dining companion, Greg, who made the excellent, pinpoint wine selection.  What a treat that was!  George, do you remember the wine details?  They're a bit foggy in my mind...

The wine was a 2001 Vieux Telegraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape!

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  • 2 weeks later...

In today's Chicago Sun-Times, Pat Bruno gives Trio Atelier 2.5 stars...

If I can put it in a nutshell (without going squirrelly), it goes like this: The restaurant formerly known as Trio is now Trio Atelier (the gist of the name refers to an artist's workshop). For 11 years it was known as Trio, and it was one of our finest restaurants, raking in four stars with abandon. Owner Henry Adaniya saw to that. He saw to the excellence of Trio despite several chef changes during those years.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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In today's Chicago Sun-Times, Pat Bruno gives Trio Atelier 2.5 stars...

Am I missing something? I read the review saw phrases like: "The pork tenderloin, which came with a square of cornbread and a passle of "slow-cooked" beans, was excellent"

"The brandade was as good as I have had (including a dynamite brandade in Nimes, France)."

"The profiterole small plate showed the ingenuity of the chef and an understanding of compatible flavors."

The only negative I saw was that Pat says her salmon was "pretty rare" - which is exactly how I like my salmon prepared.

The text of the review certainly sounds like at least another 1/2 star would be warranted. Of course, I haven't been there ... yet.

Edited by nr706 (log)
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In today's Chicago Sun-Times, Pat Bruno gives Trio Atelier 2.5 stars...

Am I missing something? I read the review saw phrases like: "The pork tenderloin, which came with a square of cornbread and a passle of "slow-cooked" beans, was excellent"

"The brandade was as good as I have had (including a dynamite brandade in Nimes, France)."

"The profiterole small plate showed the ingenuity of the chef and an understanding of compatible flavors."

The only negative I saw was that Pat says her salmon was "pretty rare" - which is exactly how I like my salmon prepared.

The text of the review certainly sounds like at least another 1/2 star would be warranted. Of course, I haven't been there ... yet.

Perhaps he's comparing it (unfairly) to Trio's previous incarnation. Trio Atelier is a very different dining experience, one that doesn't aspire to four stars, but certainly attains three-star (at least) levels. It's only fair to judge it that way, not on what it was in a former life.

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