Trio, Jan. 11, 2006

167 East 33rd Street
(bet. Lex. and 3rd Ave.)

Someone mentioned Trio the other day, I thought it was RGR, and so I gave it a shot last night knowing that we have fairly similar (with exceptions) tastes.

I sat at the bar and ordered the caesar salad, porcini dusted herb chicken and a side of onion rings. I'd been warned by another review that the duck was hit or miss and I was confused by the prices. The venison stew, for example, was listed as $15 on the website, but in reality was $32. So to test the waters, I went with the chicken dish.

A regular patron was perched on what was probably his usual corner bar stool and offered a wine suggestion, his approval of my selection, and a great conversation that lasted for about an hour - none of it discussing other Murray Hill restaurants or oversensitive chowhounders.

The caesar salad ($8) was pretty good. The lettuce was actually the best part. Nice and crispy. The cheese on top seemed pre-cut - the kinds that is shaped like thin strands. This is not my favorite. I much prefer a fresh slice or two of pecorino. The croutons were good and the dressing, though creamier than my preferred kind was also very good.

The chicken ($18) was served with petit pois a la Francaise (peas, onions, bacon and a green of somekind, maybe a leek or a type of lettuce?) A large serving for sure and was more than enough for one person. The heavily peppered chicken (which was cooked just right) and the salty, flavorful broth and vegetables it sat on was a powerful and tasty combination. But heavy. Even I couldn't totally get through this dish.

The onion rings ($5) were downright awful. They were clearly cooked in a convection oven - and weren't fully cooked either. I passed them back to the bartender and quietly told him they were awful. He winked and took them away. Good, I thought. It won't be on the bill. was. However, I can overlook this as he comped one of my glasses of wine instead.

This is a great neighborhood place. It is by no means a destination restaurant, but I could certainly see myself back there for a dinner with my wife, or even my parents in the near future.


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