A Preview of Triniti Restaurant

Categories: Restaurant News

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Photos by Mai Pham
The Triniti logo on the frosted glass door entrance
For the past year, Chef Ryan Hildebrand has been without a kitchen. But the former Executive Chef of Scott Tycer's Textile Restaurant has had a new project in the works. And though the road has been long one, he's finally reached his destination.

Triniti Restaurant, his brand-spanking new flagship restaurant at 2815 South Shepherd Drive just north of West Alabama, is finally set to open on Christmas Eve, kicking off with a special $95 prix-fixe menu for the occasion; reservations are being accepted now.

I had the chance to walk through the gorgeous space this past week, which, even in its pre-opening stage, could win a prize as one of the most beautiful restaurants in the city.

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Hildebrand with architect and design partner, Chung Nguyen
Entirely redesigned by local firm MC2 Architects, the glass-walled construction is light, bright, and modern, and almost incongruous when set in contrast with its surrounding retail spaces. With a high surrounding wall erected around the patio to block out the outside world, it's a mini-oasis in the midst of an otherwise chaotic, busy street. At night, however, the flashing neon Darque Tan sign can still be seen peeping over the top of the wall, while white Christmas lights highlight a Thai massage place across the street.

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A view of the main dining room from the kitchen
"That's Houston," Hildebrand said good-naturedly as we stood on the the 40-seat patio where The Office of James Burnett, the design firm that did Rice University's Brochstein Pavilion, had created an intimate space with water features, trees and a chef's garden.

Inside, the open layout of the main dining room has a lofty, industrial feel, while the finishing interior design elements, chosen entirely by Hildebrand and MC2 lead architect Chung Nguyen, add a glamorous element to the otherwise clean lines, and understated clean wood finishes of the chairs and polished wooden floors.

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A view of the bar and the Tom Dixon hanging sculpture
And in the far corner of the room, placed in such a way that it can be seen from any part of the restaurant hung the Pièce de résistance, an eye-catching golden-orbed chandelier sculpture by British Designer Tom Dixon.

The shiny, large, open kitchen at the end of the main dining room will give diners glimpses of some of the magic happening in the kitchen, while a 14-seat chef's table is set directly in front of the kitchen, where guests can request tasting menus written specifically for them.

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Chef's Table overlooks the kitchen and the dining room
Hildebrand describes the Triniti menu as "progressive, regional American cuisine with California/West Coast sensibilities." For dinner, starters will be in the $10 range, with main entrees priced in the mid-$20's to low-$30's.

Chef de Cuisine Jose Hernandez, sous chefs Greg Lowry and Matthew Lovelace, and General Manager/Sommelier Fred Zennati make up the rest of the Triniti team.



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12 comments
Alecia Neuben
Alecia Neuben

I absolutely enjoyed this culinary experience.  And the clean contemporary decor.  Chef Hildebrand thanks for a delightful meal!

Alecia Neuben

sweetcaroline
sweetcaroline

how exciting! can't wait to eat your words when you try out their menu!

Matthew
Matthew

the interior looks really cool, also looks like it will be loud. not a lot of soft surfaces to absorb sound. makes me think of saint arnold's tasting hall when it opened. deafening.

Kelli
Kelli

Greeeeaaattt, another overly expensive restaurant from a talented chef.

Mai Pham
Mai Pham

Matthew, I worried about the same thing. When I asked about it, Hidebrand reassured me that the architect had it covered. They put sound-absorbing material in every nook and cranny of the exposed ceiling to deal with the noise.

Mai Pham
Mai Pham

Kelli, for the caliber of the cuisine you'll get at Triniti, the prices are very reasonable. The most expensive dish on the menu is $34, with most entrees falling in the mid-$20's range, much less expensive than steakhouse prices, and on the lower side compared with other restaurants of similar genre.

Matthew
Matthew

that's good. it sucks when you have to scream to have a conversation with the people at your table. and when you are drinking, things get even worse as clarity is rarely the gift of alcohol.

Kelli
Kelli

I've been very excited to eat here since construction began as I drive by it everyday on my way to work but I just think that for the price of two entrees without an app. or dessert and possible a bottle of wine plus tip=$100, it's a special occasion restaurant.  My main gripe with the inner loop is that the majority of restaurants really hurt the pocketbook in a time of massive recession.  I'll still try it but again, its a restaurant I will have to save up for, despite how awesome I know it will be.  ie. Da Marco's, Hugo's, Samba Grille, etc.  I'm such a huge supporter of the restaurant scene, including food trucks, etc., it just makes it a bit more difficult to explore.  

Mai Pham
Mai Pham

Thanks for the feedback, Mern721! During the walkthrough, I could tell that the noise was dampened as well, but didn't know how it would turn out when they had a full house of people. Just goes to show, with a good architect and some forethought, the noise level can definitely be controlled.

Mern721
Mern721

We were there last night (a table of 8), close to the bar. I was worried about the sound level too but had no problems hearing all but the person at the other end of the table.... I was at the head, closest to the bar! We never had to raise our voices and it was a busy night!

Kelli
Kelli

I will definitely try it.  I think all chefs involved are extremely talented and I've followed the construction of this restaurant since inception.  The comparison to Da Marco's is simply a general one, since I havent been able to afford this special occasion meal quite yet.  But all good choices and eventually, I will conquer them all.

Mai Pham
Mai Pham

Kelli, I understand where you're coming from. Trust me, I do. But there are places that you go for an every day meal (food trucks, diners, local eateries - which I do regularly and spend somewhere between $20-$50 for two), and places you go for a special meal or for a meal with friends, and Triniti falls into this category. 

At the same time, I think it's still accessible price-wise.  As I recall, Textile's all-tasting menu dinners were something like $85 and $115 per person. This is where Ryan Hildebrand came from, so if you approach it that way, dining at Triniti will be a relative bargain for the food you're going to get. And if you're comparing to Da Marco (where in my experience a 3 course with wine/gratuity for 2 is in the $200 range), Hugo's and Samba Grille (both easily $100 for two with wine/gratuity), you wouldn't want or expect Triniti to be your run-of-the-mill $10-20pp local eatery, would you? For the level of service, food quality, technique, experience, ambience you'll get at Triniti, again, I really do think that the menu is in line with its peers price-wise. 

On another note, if you want to try Triniti and spend a bit less without sacrificing anything, give them a try over a leisurely lunch (this is what I like to do when I want to try a high end restaurant without killing my pocketbook).  All of the entrees are in the under $20 range for lunch. And, thanks for sharing your comments.

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