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Trio Atelier - Evanston IL


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I had a fantastic meal at Trio Atelier tonight:

Petite Tastes

Parmesan Chips and Dip

This was a fun little first course. Just simple parmesan chips and a dip that I liked quite a bit. Can't for the life of me remember what was in it. Tasty though.

Green Eggs & Ham

This may have been the most dissapointing dish of the night. I felt like the chef had an oppurtunity to do something really cool with this, but the flavor turned out to be rather blah. Sweet pee puree was whipped with egg yolk, then piped into the center of half a deviled egg. Topped with a serrano ham chip, the dish lacked excitement for the palate, though it was fun to look at.

Flight of Salt

After hearing so much about this simple dish, I was ready to be dissapointed; I wasn't. I really, really liked this dish a lot. We had cantolope (my favorite), egg, radish, and cucumber. I really loved comparing the flavors and was shocked to see how well salt goes on cantolope. There isn't much to say about this dish as it is so simple, but at the same time, it is something that one must really experience for themselves.

Medium Tastes

Caraway Veal Cheek

Before coming, I had studied the menu online and was very excited to order the rabbit which was offered on the menu on the internet, but unfortunately, the menu is slightly different when you arrive. I went with the Veal Cheek. The meat had great texture, and I loved the flavor of the root puree. Really good dish.

Croque Monsieur

This was an interesting dish. Pretty much just a really delicious version of a ham and cheese sandwich. The thing that made it was the mustard. I don't know what type of mustard it was, but it was absolutely out of this world. It really made the dish.

Large Tastes

Roasted Poussin

The bird arrived entirely whole in a giant bowl, supported by a delicious stuffing.l Basically a miniature Thanksgiving roast except chicken, not Turkey. Flavor was good. Here is what annoyed me about this dish: the diner was given nothing except a fork and butter knife to carve the bird with. :hmmm: It was quite embarresing to be sitting in the middle of a restaurant literally trying to pull the legs of the bird. A sharper knife would certainly be appreciated next time.

French Gnocchi

Maybe I'm just not the Gnocchi type, but this dish really didn't do it for me. The Gnocchi was too bready, really no flavor whatsoever. When eaten with the delicious vegetables it came with, the dish was pretty good. Still, the Gnocchi were really too large and too flavorless for my taste.

Dessert

Hot Hot Chocolate

No, that is not a typo. Apparently, the first hot refers to the spice level of the drink, while the second refers to the temperature. Either way the hot chocolate was superb, flavored with chile and other typically Mexican spices.

Tasting of Creme Brulee

Really good. I ordered all three flavors that were being offered that evening: vanilla, pumpkin, and honey thyme. Honey thyme was my favorite. I only wish the came in slightly larger portions as the bowls that they did come in were rather miniscule.

CPB

Also not a typo, this acronym stands for dense Chocolate cake, Peanut butter sorbet, and Bananas. Typical dessert. Nothing to write home about. Certainly not dissapointing though.

Overall, I really, really liked Trio Atelier. And the prices were relatively reasonable. There are about 5 million (exageration) other petite courses on the menu that I am dying to try, so I plan to be back soon! To see the somewhat accurate online version of the menu, click here.

Some people say the glass is half empty, others say it is half full, I say, are you going to drink that?

Ben Wilcox

benherebfour@gmail.com

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  • 5 months later...

We had an incredible dinner at Trio Atelier on Saturday. They have changed their menu extensively and modified their dining format somewhat. There are still three categories of savory dishes plus dessert, but are now presented as a 4-course DIY Tasting Menu, rather than the previous and somewhat vague "petite, medium and large" tapas-esque format.

Lots of new dishes on the menu, but favorites such as veal cheeks, white truffle "quiche" (formerly called "chiffon"), and rabbit virtini remain. Biggest change is that the large dishes (which were really too large for one person before if you wanted a selection of other tastes) have been replaced by smaller entrees. There are a lot more entree choice, too--with lower prices (because of portion size ) and more luxe ingredients. Roasted quail Veronique and truffled french gnocchi were outstanding among our third course selections.

Desserts are now all presented as "trios" of tastes; for instance, three different lemon desserts on one plate, three profiteroles with three sauces, etc. Our party of four had lemon, strawberry, chocolate and profiteroles. It's easy to see why the pastry chef won the Jean Banchet Award. YUM!

The restaurant was full, which was nice to see and the service was excellent. Overall, the food and platings are much more upscale than TA's opening format--definitely back to more of a fine-dining style in the platings and ingredients. Prices, however, are still reasonable for this style: you could do 4 courses for as low as mid-$30s and top out at around $60 if you selected the most expensive choices (foie gras, tuna tartare, filet mignon and dessert). Average would be approx. $45--a solid value IMHO.

The chef really seems to have hit his stride with the new menu--I tried more than 16 dishes (4 courses/4people, plus a couple gratis add-ons) and there was not a dud among them. Neighboring diners must have thought we were crazy with all of our plate-passing and dissection of ingredients!

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  • 4 weeks later...

This piece, by Kate Leahy, appeared in The Daily Herald (via Medill News Service) on Thurday June 9:

[owner, Henry] . . . Adaniya has become acclimated to change. Since 1993, Trio has been molded to fit the fancies of four very different chefs. Before Achatz, Adaniya watched Shawn McClain depart to open Spring and later Green Zebra. Before McClain, Gale Gand and Rick Tramonto left to open the now-defunct Brasserie T and later Tru. . .

Promising chefs prove their worth at Trio

=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 months later...

I believe Trio Atelier is now offering a twenty dollar discount through their website. You may have to be an email subscriber to acess it though...I'm not entirely sure.

Some people say the glass is half empty, others say it is half full, I say, are you going to drink that?

Ben Wilcox

benherebfour@gmail.com

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 months later...

OK, we're not talking about a bunch of Alba truffles shaved over your food, but I had a perfectly delightful meal at Trio Atelier on Saturday which turned out to have truffles in almost every course: the killer white truffle chiffon that's been on the menu since Atelier began; a 6-mushroom risotto with black truffle; truffled gnocchi with oxtail (too good); and a "honey" dessert trio which featured baklava with truffled honey. We also had a Kobe-style skirt steak and the must-have french fries with wasabi caviar dip. And some other desserts, and...(well, you get the pig-chur).

If I lived closer to Evanston, I'd eat there at least once or twice a week. The food keeps getting better and better on each visit. I hadn't been in a couple months and everything just seemed particulary delicious. The "conceptual art" decor that some found off-putting (never bothered me) has been softened.

I've been on a Chicago restaurant roll lately, dining out every day without one dud meal...Custom House (twice), Ruth's Chris, Wildfish, Topolobampo, Alinea (fifth visit and probably my best restaurant dinner ever), Fulton's on the River, Extra Virgin, Trio Atelier and Osteria via Stato (lunch today). We're so lucky to have so many great places to eat in Chicago!

Moderator Note: I've merged this post by Pugman (and a few others which followed it) into this already existing thread about Trio Atelier. However, it was the "4-Course DIY Truffle Menu Less than $60" which inspired Pugman to post and I don't want that fact to get lost in the shuffle.

Carry on :smile:

=R=

Edited by ronnie_suburban (log)
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That sounds very appealing. I've never had a chacne to truly indulge in truffles. I've used truffle oil at home & had some truffle in some restaurant dishes. I'd love to get an over-the-top truffle experience to really get a sense for what truffles are all about. The Trio thing looks like a good vehicle for that and it's reasonably priced.

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OK, we're not talking about a bunch of Alba truffles shaved over your food, but I had a perfectly delightful meal at Trio Atelier on Saturday which turned out to have truffles in almost every course: the killer white truffle chiffon that's been on the menu since Atelier began; a 6-mushroom risotto with black truffle; truffled gnocchi with oxtail (too good); and a "honey" dessert trio which featured baklava with truffled honey. We also had a Kobe-style skirt steak and the must-have french fries with wasabi caviar dip. And some other desserts, and...(well, you get the pig-chur).

Good to know. Thanx.

I don't understand the DIY?¿?

I've been on a Chicago restaurant roll lately, dining out every day without one dud meal...Custom House (twice), Ruth's Chris, Wildfish, Topolobampo, Alinea (fifth visit and probably my best restaurant dinner ever), Fulton's on the River, Extra Virgin, Trio Atelier and Osteria via Stato (lunch today).  We're so lucky to have so many great places to eat in Chicago!

Pugman, you're my hero.

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Good to know. Thanx.

I don't understand the DIY?¿?

It's "Do It Yourself," because there's no actual listed truffle menu.

Pugman, you're my hero.

HERO? I feel like the father from "The Incredibles" when he was trying to squeeze into his superhero costume. My pug was oinking at me yesterday. I thought he was having a respiratory attack, but I think it was just his commentary on dad's December gluttony.

Maybe I should go to a really cheap sushi bar for some tapeworm maki. Or just eat less. Yeah, right.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Very sad news about Trio Atelier from Chicago Magazine's Dish, via email:

After 12 years of ruling the North Shore, Trio (1625 Hinman Ave., Evanston; 847-733-8746) will close at the end of February. “It’s time for me to do it,” says Henry Adaniya, the owner, who will focus on his restaurant consulting company. “There is sadness because I’m so connected to the place, but I need to move on. Things change, and I’m a big person for change.” The restaurant’s last day is tentatively February 25th, but Adaniya is planning a larger closing gala in the days following. “I really want to see if I can put something big together,” he says. “We really want to go out with our heads held high and have a celebration.” . . .

=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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Very sad news about Trio Atelier from Chicago Magazine's Dish, via email:
After 12 years of ruling the North Shore, Trio (1625 Hinman Ave., Evanston; 847-733-8746) will close at the end of February. “It’s time for me to do it,” says Henry Adaniya, the owner, who will focus on his restaurant consulting company. “There is sadness because I’m so connected to the place, but I need to move on. Things change, and I’m a big person for change.” The restaurant’s last day is tentatively February 25th, but Adaniya is planning a larger closing gala in the days following. “I really want to see if I can put something big together,” he says. “We really want to go out with our heads held high and have a celebration.” . . .

Very sad indeed.

So what does this mean? For one, the current chefs, Dale Levitski (exec chef) and Mary McMahon (pastry), become free agents. Per Adaniya, Levitski is currently looking at several options, and would like to open his own business. And Adaniya says McMahon has rekindled the idea of opening her own patisserie. As for the space itself, owned by Evanston’s Homestead Hotel, Adaniya, 51, plans to work with the hotel’s management to find a new concept for it. “With the proliferation of chefs out there,” Adaniya says, “I’m hoping a chef-operator will take over the space.” And Adaniya himself? Consulting for now, but he says he’s always wanted to own a hot dog stand on a Hawaiian beach. “It’s kind of a serious joke, but I’ve played with the idea for a long time. At this time in my life, I should put up or shut up.”

Under Adaniya’s guidance, Trio has been one of America’s most influential (and unpredictable) restaurants of the past decade. It has gone through four widely divergent phases since its 1993 inception, launching the careers of Gale Gand, Rick Tramonto (Tru), Shawn McClain (Spring, Green Zebra, Custom House), and Grant Achatz (Alinea)—a diverse and talented roster of chefs. Its current incarnation as Trio Atelier, with Chef Levitski and McMahon leading the charge, scaled things back considerably in décor and menu. “Everything was so radically different every time,” says Adaniya. “I was constantly looking for uniqueness.”

Edited by yellow truffle (log)
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I don't know what Henry has in mind for "big," but it would be interesting to have the current and past chefs of Trio in the kitchen at the same time bringing out some of their classic dishes. It would be nice to have a taste of the things that launched them to where they are now and see the progression of the talent that has come of Trio all within a 60 course meal.

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I don't know what Henry has in mind for "big," but it would be interesting to have the current and past chefs of Trio in the kitchen at the same time bringing out some of their classic dishes. It would be nice to have a taste of the things that launched them to where they are now and see the progression of the talent that has come of Trio all within a 60 course meal.

This would be very cool and I hope that it (or something like it) does get off the ground.

When I ran into Henry at Recipe for Relief back in October, he was in good spirits and indicated nothing about this sad, impending news (not even a hint).

I remember when the place was Cafe Provencal and everyone was predicting that it would never make it as Trio. Meanwhile, for 12 years Henry not only kept it going but managed to build an amazing legacy of his own.

To echo the thoughts of eGS member Pugman, I think that more than any other factor, Trio's less-than-desirable location finally caught up with it. The less of a "destination" restaurant itself became, the harder it was to draw traffic. The setting wasn't quite right for a neighborhood spot and it was so out of the way, it didn't have the advantage of drawing true "walk-in" customers from the Evanston business district.

I wish Henry and all the staff at Trio a successful transition into whatever is next for each of them. And thank you again for all the great times and great meals over the 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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More from Phil Vettel at the Chicago Tribune:

. . . While acknowledging that 2005 "was a tough year," Adaniya says the closing "is more about me moving on and pursuing other goals. I've done everything I wanted to do-and more-at Trio." . . .

Evanston restaurant to close

=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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More on the closing from Janet Fuller in today's Chicago Sun-Times:

. . . The accolades began building and didn't stop when Gand and Tramonto left and then-sous chef Shawn McClain took over. After McClain left Trio in 2001 to open Spring -- he has since opened two other restaurants, Green Zebra and Custom House -- Grant Achatz stepped in and began making a name for himself with cutting-edge preparations involving aromatic vapors. After three years, Achatz left Trio in 2004 to open Alinea, which has drawn foodies from around the globe. . .

Landmark restaurant closing

=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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  • 1 month later...

Less than 2 weeks until Trio's farwell reception...very sad, but it sounds like they're going out in style. Based on some firsthand and near-firsthand info, it looks like most--but not all--of Trio's superstar chefs past and present will be participating, representing every phase of Trio. It will be a walkaround reception and should be a lively event (if bittersweet for many).

I purposefully didn't ask who was preparing what, because I want to be surprised. I have it on good authority that "Trio 2" (the Shawn McClain iteration) will be represented by his signature scallops and oxtail. What about ChefG's legendary Black Tuffle Explosion? I'm not holding my breath on that one, but my fingers are crossed so tightly that it's hard to type. But whatever Grant serves will be amazing.

I wonder what Rick Tramonto and Gale Gand will prepare? Gale's root beer floats seem an obvious choice and I'd love to see something involving foie gras from Rick (if only just to re-ignite Charlie Trotter's gas). [i'm kidding; let's not get back into the foie gras debate for new.]

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Less than 2 weeks until Trio's farwell reception...very sad, but it sounds like they're going out in style. Based on some firsthand and near-firsthand info, it looks like most--but not all--of Trio's superstar chefs past and present will be participating, representing every phase of Trio. It will be a walkaround reception and should be a lively event (if bittersweet for many).

Is this a one day event or a series of days?

When will this take place?

More details please.

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Less than 2 weeks until Trio's farwell reception...very sad, but it sounds like they're going out in style. Based on some firsthand and near-firsthand info, it looks like most--but not all--of Trio's superstar chefs past and present will be participating, representing every phase of Trio. It will be a walkaround reception and should be a lively event (if bittersweet for many).

Is this a one day event or a series of days?

When will this take place?

More details please.

The farewell reception will take place on Sunday 2/26. I have no idea about any other details . . . and I just made my reservations. :blink::biggrin:

My wife called me at my office, said that a mailing had shown up today and I made the call. I'll read it when I get home and post some details.

=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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Here is a link to the events portion of Trio-Atelier's web site:

Trio Atelier Events

I'm not sure what time these events start, but I'll try to find out and relay the details asap.

=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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Well, we will see you Sunday! I understand it's 5:00pm to 8:00pm on Sunday....I think regular reservations apply to Friday & Saturday. Last rumour I heard was that Shawn was out of town, but everyone else is in....of course, that's totally unconfirmed.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Well, we will see you Sunday!  I understand it's 5:00pm to 8:00pm on Sunday....I think regular reservations apply to Friday & Saturday.  Last rumour I heard was that Shawn was out of town, but everyone else is in....of course, that's totally unconfirmed.

Peter, these hours are correct. I'm feeling very mixed about Sunday. I'm looking forward to it but I also think it's going to be a bittersweet experience.

=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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