Dish 1: It looked like a pile of burnt, crumbled hamburger meat over a base of somewhat loose, nearly separated risotto. Dish 2: It tasted like a chicken breast stuffed with a banana cream pie. Dish 3: Had the vegetable lasagna not been cold, it may have been satisfactory. Dish 4: For a slightly tough lamb shank, it was tasty if a bit cool.
These are not the entrees you should be serving. These are especially not the entrees you should be serving when the Eats clan has invited the Crushers to come along and evaluate a new eatery. If you don’t remember the Crushers, they’re great friends who do not hold back when served a shitty meal. And rarely stay quiet when they’re served a somewhat ok meal. They expect no errors at a $20 a dish joint, and just short-of-perfection at a $5 hash house.
This is also not the food you should be dishing out when you’re on the radar. How should you know you’re on the radar? Well, first comes the attention from Bee critic BAR, then an increase in Yelp reviews, then you wind up having two reviewers (Garrett McCord from SNR and Vanilla Garlic was at the table next to us) in on the same night. We’re talking NSA level-Zero Dark Thirty radar going on.
The restaurant, Trio, is the third attempt from the previous owner of Gonul’s and Vanilla Bean to make a go at restauranting. From all indications, this attempt will end as the last two.
The food is less than appealing, which at nearly $20 a plate is simply unacceptable. The atmosphere is about as homey as a 1980s strip club; a fancy one though, like you’d see in Miami Vice, with lots of shiny black stone and dark red drapes, with a buffet thrown in just to be homey. The server (there was only one) was not doing the chef any favors, showing a lack of knowledge about the food, a lack of attentiveness to diners, and a lack of interest in his job. Enjoy some of these interactions as proof. We’ll call the waiter “Tim Tebow” for identification purposes:
Garrett: So what is this sauce with the bread?
Tim Tebow: It’s like a babaganoush. But not. It’s kind of Turkish, like a turkiganoush.
Soon to be Mrs. Eats: I think your front door is locked.
Tim Tebow: Good.
Mrs. Crusher: Could we get some more water?
Tim Tebow: (texting)
In Trio’s defense, it was a Monday night. The place was less than 1/4 full. The Korean War veteran a few tables away was talking at the top of his volume knob about Kim Jung Un. The bar had been set pretty high and our expectations were up.
That all being said, the night was a trainwreck. So bad that I’m not willing to give the place another shot. I’d rather spend my rubles at any of the nearby standouts like Blackbird, Estelle’s, or Grange. Hell, I’d rather spend my money at the Baja Fresh. Had it not been for the Crushers and Garrett, the evening would have been a complete waste. Instead, it was an absurd traipse through restaurant land. Not all meals are memorable for the right reasons.
Trio- 826 J Street
Food* Service* Atmosphere**