|Pre name change; Source|
The regular menu is small, which is reflected by the trio of options for each course. J chose to start with the Roasted Beets with Bulgarian Feta Cheese. The small dish was perfect for an appetizer- a pile of super sweet, glazed roasted beets coated with a thick scoop of crumbly, salty smooth feta. The presence of both cheese and bread created a theme for the rest of our meal-- every course included some of both. Here, it seemed like an afterthought, since a beet sandwich doesn't really seem that appealing. Feta and beets isn't a novel combination, but it's a classic for good reason (especially when the feta is as high quality as the cheese served at Tria).
|Phone cameras only today!|
The other vegetable-based appetizer option was the Asparagus with Parmigiano-Reggiano, Hazelnuts, and Lemon Oil. The asparagus were still firm- a cooking feat I'm still working on myself- and well flavored with just a touch of lemony olive oil. As we were seated next to the "kitchen" (it's hard to call it that since it's about the size of my bathroom), I was able to see firsthand how these were cooked- on a grill that was essentially an industrial sized George Foreman. I would have been a bit skeptical if I hadn't tried these for myself! The thin shavings of the good stuff (ie cheese) and crushed hazelnut halves were both great garnishes, each providing punches of flavor.
The "main course" gave us the option of two sandwiches and a vegetarian-friendly salad. I chose the Roasted Chicken and Lancaster Cheddar Sandwich, which also involved lettuce, tomato, piquillo peppers, and a truffle aioli. Both sandwiches come with a pile of balsamic coated arugula, which was a solid, unexpected side. I appreciate Tria's efforts to keep much of their menu simple but delicious.
The bread is carefully toasted with a light brush of olive oil before it is constructed into a sandwich. We really loved their house bread- it's thick and fluffy without being heavy, and has a great smoky crust. The crisp bread was a star both in terms of texture and flavor. However, the chicken itself was fairly plain (although well cooked), and both the cheddar and the aioli contributed less to the overall combination than I expected. While not particularly exciting, it was still a sandwich I could probably eat every day, and large enough to be a hefty individual dinner portion.
The other sandwich option was even better. The same oiled and toasted bread, different in almost every other way. Thick slices of fresh, creamy mozzarella melted over the warm bread, while arugula, piquillo peppers, and tiny, crispy bits of proscuitto (gourmet bacon bits?) filled up the rest of the sandwich body. Fresh pesto and a garlic vinaigrette made this combination a slight play on the classic caprese. While it was pretty heavy on the garlic, the sharp and spicy flavors of the pepper, basil, and arugula made this a sandwich that was impossible to put down.
Of note, the one piece of fancy kitchen equipment that Tria's kitchen is able to hold is a meat slicer. This thing is serious- firetruck red and in a glass museum-esque case. It was fun to watch the kitchen staff handling it as each individual order came in.
|Delice de Bourgogne|
Although Tria may seem to revolve around it's alcoholic offerings, we have to say it's one of the best simple-yet-gourmet meals we can imagine coming from such a tiny kitchen. I also always imagined it was a tiny hole in the wall, but it's actually much easier to grab a seat inside than it seems. We wouldn't hesitate to pop in for a snack or a light meal, especially if we were in the mood for a taste of excellent cheese. Even though the UC Dining Days offerings are extensive, take our advice and try the steal offered at Tria.
Tria Wine Room
3131 Walnut Street