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Monday, July 19, 2010

TRIO: A Carpaccio Love Affair

Last week I was able to enjoy my first visit to TRIO, the hot little restaurant in the Four Seasons with a much-lauded happy hour.  I put on a little summer dress, dragged along the boyfriend and sampled a bit of what this place has to offer.  The happy hour is Monday - Saturday from 5 to 8, and I guarantee you that happy hour is the only time you'll ever find me there.  Not because the menu doesn't have a million things to recommend it for a full dinner, but because I would rather reserve half of my paycheck for utility bills and student loan payments.  But that's just me.

When we got there at 6:30, the place was packed and we looked a little like this:

Luckily, the bartender was fast and friendly, and we got a tasty glass of Cava ($4.50 during HH) to pass the time while we jockeyed for a spot at the bar (you have to order at the bar to get happy hour prices).  You've got to be quick to snag a stool, and it got a little cutthroat after about 20 minutes of shuffling in between the tables.  We planted ourselves behind a nice couple who we managed not to freak out with our hovering, and they sweetly saved their seats for us when another couple tried to horn in on our territory.

With the seating battle finally won, we were able to sample a few appetizers.  The beef carpaccio ($7.50 during HH) was amazing, the truffled arugula and manchego paired with it added a spicy, nutty flavor to the deliciously tender seasoned raw beef.  You could basically put truffle oil on anything, even a banana split, and I would happily eat it up.  The sunny side up egg was a terrific addition that added a creaminess to the dish that really made it something close to culinary perfection.

The Texas Cheese plate ($7.50 during HH) was a  selection of four cheeses with honey.  The Hoja Santa goat cheese from Dallas was my favorite, with a relatively mild, creamy flavor wrapped in an hoja santa leaf.  Sadly, no Austin cheesemakers were represented on this dish, but the chef's selection of cheeses rotates regularly.

We finished off our night of playing dress-up with a glass of Grenache rosé ($4.50 during HH) and a stroll around the patio, seriously considering a nap in one of the hammocks the Four Seasons so thoughtfully placed for its overindulgent guests.

Total bill: $42 for four glasses of wine, two appetizers and a big tip.  Bonus: Free valet parking with validation (just don't forget to tip the valet).  We'll definitely be back to sample more of the fare, and I might have to attempt a re-creation of the carpaccio at home.  I could get used to that dish.

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