Tuesday, December 18, 2012

It all started with the olives...

Up until about 18 months ago, there was no way anyone would ever get me to eat an olive let alone smell one. Putrid and salty, I never understood their appeal until I had the pleasure of stepping into Westboro’s hidden gem, Trio Lounge. I’ve been eating there practically every week since that fateful day. In fact, just last Thursday I ordered two servings of them. Yes, they’re that good!

Trio is a tiny little tapas-style restaurant that prides itself on not being pretentious. You only have to look to the back of the menu for an amusing list of possible infractions that could land you with the unsavory moniker of “douche.”

It is a very chic lounge, featuring local art and a great iPod playlist (that they are now raffling off) that pumps out great lounge style tunes. Seating is limited with about a dozen bistro tables and four more seats at the bar. Jennifer, Sarah and Trio’s chef de cuisine, Mike, have been leaving my taste buds in awe since my first visit.

A special feature of the bar menu is the “drink recipe box” where patrons provide recipes for their own personal mixed drinks. It's such a unique concept you really do have to try it at least once.

Watermelon Mojito - one of the many fine drinks to be had at Trio
I have no idea how such delicious food can come from such a tiny kitchen. I’ve seen walk-in closets bigger than Trio’s kitchen, yet the food that comes out of it is among the best this city has to offer, especially for its price point. If you don’t believe me, check out the some of the reviews on Urban Spoon giving Trio a 90% average, or better yet, experience it firsthand.

Some of my favourites are the marinated olives (obviously) which costs only $6.00. I’ve never experienced such variety in flavor for such a simple ingredient. One week the mix of black and green olives will feature a lighter lemon, lime or orange citrus marinade, the next week, a more savory southern Mediterranean blend of spices and red wine vinegar inspired marinade.

Their “wholly fsck” baked cheese sandwich features both cream and old white cheddar nestled between two garlic baguettes with a side of house ketchup that has a hint of “bite” to it. One bite of this sandwich and a plain old slice of processed cheese and two slices of bread will never satisfy you again. The cream cheese helps take the bite out of the sharp cheddar and blends seamlessly with the garlic toast and pairs very well with a Ripasso or Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Wholly Fsck Baked Cheese Sandwich
House Ketchup
Each week Mike features a seared albacore tuna dish for $13.00 that changes regularly depending on his mood and the ingredients available to him. Two weeks ago it was an Asian themed dish featuring a kicked up blend of spices, sesame seeds, wasabi and miso glaze. The plating as you can see below was top notch.

Asian Spiced Albacore Tuna
Last week I enjoyed the Malaysian Pork Belly Steak ($14.00) with fresh mushrooms, a mountain of fresh cilantro and green onions. The pork belly was cooked to perfection without having too much of a crispy bacon-like crust that others tend to do. It melted in my mouth and I loved how the fresh cilantro gave the bolder flavors of the meat a light refreshing dimension.

Malaysian Pork Belly with Mushrooms and Cilantro
One of my personal favourites is the Chef’s Tasting Board that features a sampling of some of Trio’s best tapas dishes. It will often feature Mike’s homemade ricotta, apricot humus, mushroom tapenade and many others for $24.00.

So if you’re looking for a cozy place to enjoy an evening drink or bottle of wine, some great food and friendly service, stop by Trio and tell Jenn and Sarah I sent you. I promise you they’ll take great care of you!

Trio Lounge
307 Richmond Road, Ottawa, ON  K1Z 6X3
(613) 722-3887

Trio Lounge on Urbanspoon

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