An immediate chase cut is in order. Hostesses at Triniti are not messing around. Service industry applicants need not assume it’s simple to achieve a hostess gig in this town. False. There are certain qualifications one must possess in order to maintain the title of… Hostess at Triniti. Pause.
Requirements are in place to protect the importance of what all hostesses must have, with the first being… sassy eyeliner. Just try and exit this establishment without bowing down to their eyelid superiority. Don’t even think about sashaying onto the job without having at least one part of your outfit… flow.
Without the flow, you have hit an all time hostess low, thus forcing management to let you… go. You’re finished. Get out. It’s over. You will never hostess in this town again.
Breezing through the bar gives no hint as to what surprise is in your midst. Without a whimper of a warning, my neighbor ordered a drink having an ingredient of champagne. We looked away, if only for a moment, suddenly returning to a champagne top transformed through the arts into none other than a mini… chair.
Triple appreciative sniffle.
Waiting for Triniti to open was painful at best. How often does one kitchen possess a number of chefs so easily worthy of being the lead all alone? Want becomes have to have after hearing executive chef-owner Ryan Hildebrand’s talented team is comprised of chef de cuisine slash pastry phenom Jose Hernandez, as well as sous chefs Greg Lowry & Matthew Lovelace.
Knowing exactly who’s calling this kitchen home is key to seeing Triniti’s star quality caliber. Madness is knowing the level of talent cheffing throughout this “exhibition” kitchen. Thoughts of a resume combination is almost too much, having the ability to make all humans squeal, just a little.
After graduating from CIA in New York, Hildebrand began his career as a sous chef working with Mark Cox at Mark’s American Cuisine. Resume fluffing commenced while sous cheffing under Philippe Schmit at bistro modern, Scott Tycer of Textile, as well as the always exciting title of executive chef at both Bistro Don Comillo & Bistro Provence.
Chef de cuisine Jose Hernandez gained experience as a pastry chef in New York City while working with Fiamma’s Fabio Trabocchi in SoHo, as well as countless other well respected chefs in Houston.
Sous chef Greg Lowry left his position as executive chef of Voice located downtown inside Hotel Icon. Before Triniti’s opening, Lowry helped develop the menu for the recently opened El Gran Malo.
Also on board is Matt Lovelace of Barbed Rose acclaim. By the by, after almost 4 minutes of research, AVH uncovered the unthinkable. Lovelace has his very own AKA… “Tater.”
Director of Operations, Fred Zennati, also works overtime as sommelier extraordinaire. Fred and I met almost 10 years ago when I was a server on Post Oak and he was the… Manager.
Unlike scary managers living life one power trip at a time, Fred was a cut above, having character ooze from his Oxford. Just say hi to Fred and uncontrollably feel his fabulousness.
Hildebrand worked closely with MC2 Architects to bring this brilliant 5,400 square foot building of beauty to life. Triniti’s vibe is clean, having an open feel with lots of wood & concrete. Adding to the upscale ambiance is a chandelier sent directly from Tom Dixon, a top designer in London.
Triniti’s restroom is a crowd pleaser indeed. Men could be heard gushing from across the room, quickly agreeing with the girls that both of these rooms must be equally delightful.
Ah, the chef circle. Open kitchens come & go, but Triniti’s is quite different. Perfectly placed to the side is a chef’s table for 14. Anyone not becoming hyper just hearing the words… chef table, well, it’s an outright scandal.
Triniti’s soft opening dinner began with an amuse bouche of salmon tartare. A dinner menu from the previous evening was available, as well as the present tasting menu. We chose from a selection of starters & entrees, then agreed to end the night with a massive dessert pass around.
Perfectly relevant, as all starters should be, are the beet & pears with pure luck goat, mint, oregano, and yuzu. This dish can be found in the soup & salad section of the lunch menu.
Main course arrival of the diver scallop dish included chick peas, blood sausage, glazed root vegetables, and confit onions. Causing incisor interest, Triniti also offered pheasant with bacon, smoked fingerlings, confit, pears, and cherries. Carnivore coaxing would have been incomplete without a plate of pork with pumpkin, parsley, cranberry, and yams.
Another neighbor received salmon with mushrooms, welks, tarragon, asparagus, and chestnuts. A main dish of soft opening delish is the tortolloni with tofu, sweetbreads, and parsley root puree in a sweet scallion broth.
Prepare to be appalled upon hearing details of the exact moment an etiquette free for all went down. Striped bass arrived just like any other. Bass appeared to be peacefully plated with adjuki, saffron rutabaga, shallots, bok choy, and red wine.
There was no way of knowing it would transform AVH into an almost plate licker. If fork scraping isn’t sealing the deal, there is the finger-plate-smash-sneak-lick option.
Our table quickly passed around an array of decadence, beginning with caramelitos, plated beautifully with caramel brittles & caramel ice cream. Chef Hernandez deserves all the fuss & buzz he’s getting.
Next stop is a pear plump & roasted, sitting beside a vanilla biscuit, which just so happens to be beneath a scoop of honey comb ice cream.
Other desserts to be tasted were the chocolate tart with brown butter ice cream & sea salt, as well as the pistachio semi freddo with chocolate shortbread & pistachio paste.
While sitting home with (obviously) nothing else to do, a Triniti Google occurred in hopes of uncovering exactly what commoners are thinking of this newly opened treasure chest. All appeared happy-go-lucky, joyously frolicking through life with pleasant thoughts of our beloved Triniti. Then… all of the sudden, there it was. One negative sorda statement.
After reading a very scary customer’s opinion of Triniti online, investigating was the only option. AVH was left with no choice other than to copy/paste the very comment in which was typed. Pasting produced a sentence causing erroneous grammatical wonder.
“This is just what Houston needs, another expensive restaurant. Not that impressed. WAY WAY overhyped. There are to many other choices not as pretentious.”
Make your way past two fragments to immediately stumble upon an o, which just so happens to be a part of the word… to. This particular word should have in its possession another o, therefore morphing it into a brand new word having the appearance of… too. How can we trust a person’s opinion of Triniti that makes the one-o-two-o-mistake? This very word can easily make or break a person’s credibility as having passed 3rd grade.
Moving right along…
Second stop at Triniti arrived recently while joining John DeMers, of Delicious Mischief, while he taped radio with Hildebrand, Hernandez, Lowry, and… Fred.
Let us start with this dish of soup & salad section delish, which is the winter vegetables with black barley, cilantro yogurt, and dianthus flower.
Seasonal oysters with pickled root vegetable mignonette would be the only starter suitable for AVH without committing the most heinous of all heinous crimes… substitution.
Chefs around town do not have time to substitute ingredients. For those having just fell off the turnip truck, all ingredients listed in the creative process, well, they bring the dish together. Each time rookies request the kitchen to leave something off & yada, prepare to play with chef fire. Any chef worth the seer in his sucker chef coat will never agree to such entree anarchy. Double Rubbish.
P.S. AVH is the exception to this rule. Thanks. Thanks a lot.
First to frighten during John’s interview is the sirloin with truffle, brown butter, and cauliflower. Chef Lowry explained that everything is butchered in house, having never purchased the dreaded… cut steaks. Lowry passionately professed, “This dish portrays what we are doing with the triad. The puree is a little bit sweet. The savory comes from the meat, so it all comes together.”
This sweet corn & pork belly risotto with bay scallops began during the snapshot dinners. If all pork belly conversation has not been repressed, chef Hildebrand may have stated the pork belly has been glazed & braised over night. Having not peaked perfectness, chefs must cut the pork belly into cubes & glaze it one more time, thus securing a status of a sweet & salty balance.
My favorite part of the Triniti experience is the risotto, which was made possible when chef Hildebrand quickly approved the oh so annoying request to refrain from including the belly of a pork onto my plate. Please & thanks.
Having not quite reached a maturity level necessary to enjoy cheese for dessert, it’s currently a work in progress. It was the right thing to do after already having had a chance to taste all of the desserts presently offered. Triniti’s local cheeses are served with spiced & candied nuts, infused honey, cured fruits, and house made jam.
Boxed chocolates & macaroons were a delightful ending to a wonderful second dinner at Triniti.
Third times a charm? Almost.
A semi sorda supper club met this past Tuesday, bringing forth more more more food from Triniti’s progressive American menu. Being seated at the community table brings with it a fantastic view of the kitchen, as well as perfect lighting.
It’s fair to say AVH achieved a garden greens & endive win, having citrus, pistachio, and Neal’s Farm keen cheddar.
My neighbor appeared to have an anchovy leisurely laying beside his kale starter, as well as pancetta, a farm egg, lemon, olive, and pecorino romano.
Gazing into the distance a server could be seen delivering the foie gras ‘breakfast’ with brioche toast, bacon, quail egg, and fig syrup. Other starters are Texas quail with duck sausage stuffing, sea island red peas, white cheddar grits, and port. Triniti also offers local cheeses & charcuterie which is selected weekly with accompaniments.
Rootbeer crème brûlée with poached figs & rye ice cream is outrageously tasty. After having every dessert presently offered, make no mistake… Jose Hernandez has got it going on.
Gianduja mousse & ricotta cream is by far the favorite of them all. Simply stated, every flavor from start to finish is amazing.
Separate check delivery brought shock factor comparable to hurricane force winds off the coast of Florida, quickly forcing faces to morph into a state of total tipping bewilderment. Gratuity had been added. Gasp. Triniti has within it’s check printing power the ability to force a brazen gratuity of no less than 20%.
Could it be? Is it possible to have trekked through life having never been thrown into the center of this phenomenon we call… automatic gratuity? This can’t be happening. Has this human been a 1 top too many times, simply living a pipe dream existence never equaling an 8?
Having hung up my apron in the 90′s, recollection maintains that all service industry workers reserve the power of the auto grat for only the most scary of all scary customers.
After an intense 6 minute Google before breakfast, unraveling this mystery became history. It appears the pick-who-you-grat option, existing in the 90′s, is but a fantastic faux pas from the past. It’s all or nothing… everyone or nada, thus avoiding the always depressing… lawsuit yada.
For the not-a-fan-of-forced-gratuity-people finding the auto grat unfun: Suspiciously suck it up while expecting 20% solid service. Upon receiving 17% service, it’s on like Donkey Kong. Word.
With the 20% automatic grat scandal a part of the past, it’s imperative to focus on just how wonderful Triniti really is. Watching the magic of their craft come to life is fascinating to witness. Hype rumors be gone, for those at Triniti have well outdone themselves in just a few weeks of opening the door.
Those in this building are more than nodding at the culinary triad of sweet, savory, and spirits. After several memorable dinners, Triniti proves to be a keeper. Whether it’s chef’s table, counter, or dining room seating, prepare for a first class culinary experience.
FIVE: High 5!
FOUR: Please & Thank You
TWO: Double Wow
ONE: Wow + Ouch = Wouch