Tasting’s are a new-to-me experience, an experience I wish I could partake in – eehhh, I’d say at least once a week.
My first tasting occurred a few weeks ago at TRIO at the Four Seasons Hotel.
When Jetté invited to try TRIO’s Prix Fixe summer menu, a 3-course meal featuring summer specialties for $36, my plans for kickboxing went right out the door. TRIO is on my seemingly never-ending list of ‘must try’ restaurants in Austin, and the summer tasting menu ended this week. So…flailing my arms aimlessly in a room with floor to ceiling mirrors would have to wait.
TRIO is hidden below the main lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel, nestled against the ground level hill overlooking Lady Bird Lake, and their patio. My next visit will involve relaxing on the beautiful patio, with wine in hand.
We met in the downstairs bar (the upstairs bar is a recent addition to the Four Seasons). Our early arrival allowed us time to enjoy a pre-dinner glass of sparkling wine and 3 different Happy Hour “bites”. We ordered the Crispy Brussels Sprouts, with Sishito Peppers and Steak Fries, the Gulf Snapper Ceviche (served in a small mason jar), and the Torched Salmon Belly. Out of the three appetizers, the Torched Salmon Belly was by far my favorite – the soft texture of the fish, paired with the freshness of the relish, made for a very light and refreshing appetizer.
Taste aside, the presentation of each of the appetizers allowed them to create a unique identity of their own, before even allowing your taste buds to touch them. The Ceviche was served in a mini mason jar, lid and all, allowing this seemingly simple dish to transform into a fun (and quite tasty) experience. In addition to the Ceviche, the Crispy Brussels Sprouts were nestled artistically next to the Steak Fries in a petite silver bucket lined with brown paper. Food served in such an artsy manner much more enjoyable, if you ask me!
I was obviously too hungry to snap pictures before I ate. Bad bad Meagan.
After nibbling on our appetizers and chatting about the different ingredients Chef Macdonald uses in his Ceviche (we found that after the array of ingredients was revealed, we liked it A LOT more!), we were seated in the dining room with a beautiful view outside through the floor to ceiling windows.
While we scanned the menu, we immediately started strategically planning out a way for us to taste each dish that made our mouth water. We found this to be quite difficult, seeing as though everything on the menu seemed to have that effect on both of us.
Being the lover of sweets that I am, my eyes immediately zoomed in on the dessert section of the menu first, where I started to hear songs of joy in the background as I read the 4 little words that made my entire evening well worth the wait, “Pure Luck Goat Cheesecake”. It was pure luck, rather pure destiny, for me to run across this bad boy. My favorite cheese, paired with one of my go to desserts, was like Christmas morning. Halle-freakin-uyah!!
Before placing our orders, our waiter Naj gave us recommendations of his favorites on the summer tasting menu. While debating the wine pairing to go along with our meal, Naj interjected and insisted on us doing a wine tasting (which he waived at happy hour pricing, even though it was technically 7:04 pm), rather than the chef recommended wine pairing. I have never been one to turn down wine, so we agreed with no questions asked.
He returned with five different bottles of red wine, taking us on a ‘journey around the world’ from the vineyards of California, to Argentina, to Italy. All the wines were quite tasty, and he even taught us the correct way of smelling wine.
While we couldn’t exactly read Naj at first, his unique personality, which was marked with a serious undertone, and ever so subtle hints of oncoming smiles, ended up making our experience at TRIO very enjoyable. He was a team player with our never-ending foodie picture taking party of the different dishes, and our endless questions about his history in the food industry. He even brought us an extra scoop of ice cream with our dessert – more on that later!
For my meal, I ended up choosing the Seared Scallops to start off with. The scallops were cooked perfectly, and served with small chunks of ham, okra, peas, and chilies. The light and somewhat creamy sauce added a nice touch to the tender scallops.
For me entrée, I chose the Dewberry Farms Chicken. The chicken itself was de-li-cious, but the presentation and delivery of the meal made it that much better. Before our entrées arrived, an empty dinner plate was placed in front of me. A server soon arrived with a small cast iron skillet in one hand, and a large spoon in the other. He then scooped a quarter chicken out of the skillet and onto my plate, where he then drizzled it with a lemon, thyme, and brown butter sauce. I could have licked my plate, if it were socially acceptable.
While the chicken was delicious, especially paired with the spread of sauces Naj brought out, the Flat Iron Steak Jetté ordered was quite delicious. I normally do not like steaks, however the different spices paired with the juicy center, caused my dislike for steaks to make a complete 180. The few bites I had of this steak were divine.
Both of our entrées were served with a potato puree and roasted asparagus. The roasted asparagus was sautéed to perfection with brown butter and lemon. We put a much bigger dent in the asparagus than the potatoes – probably due to the richness of our dishes.
Last, but not at all least, the time I had been waiting for since my eyes met the four beautiful words displayed on the menu: Pure Luck Goat Cheesecake. From the moment the cheesecake was placed in front of me, I was in sort of a trans like state of bliss. The presentation was like that out of a magazine – a small plump cheesecake, topped with port-roasted figs, and a crispy baked graham. The short moment of admiration was soon followed by many slow bites, allowing myself to savor each and every taste, texture, and burst of flavor this little beauty had to offer. This, paired with a cup of decaf coffee topped off a perfect evening.