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Reviews by NeroFiddled:
3.89/5 rDev -4.7%
No one should be surprised that the newest addition to the Tria lineup looks and feels very much like what preceded it. It's almost exactly like the Rittenhouse location but slightly different with a larger back dining area, although it's certainly smaller in width along the bar (there's a short bar rail across from the main bar with 4 horribly uncomfortable seats - why not just make this standing room only with coat hooks beneath the rail?). On the other hand, why shouldn't all Tria locations look and feel the same? They should, right? You should recognize them and know what you're getting into; and why mess with success? That said, it's a nicely appointed space with wood floors, some exceptionally nice solid-wood dining tables, and a wood topped-bar. To balance that we have an exposed-brick wall painted over in semi-gloss white, and beautiful blue-grey veined/spotted marble blocks dotted with a line of stainless steel faucets and lit against an otherwise unadorned, gey-black back-bar. (The only place that their designer has gone wrong is with the lighting fixtures above the bar. They're made from the security caps from compressed gas tanks, but they're neither interestingly shaped, nor interestingly painted, and they certainly aren't that witty although I see where they were going with them).
When you step up into the space you will definitely notice the taps, and that's what it's about, because this is the "taproom". There are no bottles: the beer, wine, and even sodas are served from kegs. An interesting aside to that is that when you sit down you're handed an iPad mini that displays the drink menu for the evening. They can change it instantaneously if they desire, but you'll already know when a keg is about to kick because it displays that information for you. I ordered an Italiano VúDú Dunkleweizen knowing that the keg was still 78% full, and therefore most likely fresh. (Not surprisingly it's at only 51% full a mere two hours later as I write this).
So to the nomenclature: They offer 24 beers on tap. There are 5 locals, which includes 2 by Victory, and one each from Stouts, Yards, and Tröegs. Ballast Point, Stone, and Port Brewing give us three from the west coast, and Left Hand, Jolly Pumpkin, Allagash, Ommegang, and Stillwater bring us back home for a total of 13 domestic craft breweries. The remaining 11 beers cover 7 different countries including Germany, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, England, Denmark, and Japan. A third of the beers are dark-beers, but given that it's winter I'd consider that more than acceptable, and overall the opening line-up is quite good.
(However, speaking of winter, I sat at the table on the street side which is complete glass, and it was chilly; but more importantly I could feel the cold dropping off of the window and running across my feet into the building. That was not the most pleasant feeling that I've ever had while dining).
There's an emphasis on the beer now at Tria, but there are still 12 wines available, in 12 different styles. They cover 8 countries and the United States, featuring a Chardonnay from CA, a Riesling from NY, and a Cabernet Franc from PA (? -yes).
Tria is based around beer, wine and cheese, and the cheese remains: 6 are offered overall, including 2 each from PA, NY and VT; with 1 each representing "Clean", "Luscious", "Stinky", "Approachable", "Stoic", and "Racy". At 3 for $12 they're not a bad deal.
For accompaniment or heartier eats they offer wood-fired grilled flatbreads and an assortment of smaller plates. Some examples: Wood-Grilled Asparagus for $8, Po' Boy Poppers for $9, St. Louis-Style Ribs for $11, Saison Fish Fry for $12, 3 Cheese Flatbread for $10, Duck Flatbread for $15, and Grilled Jumbo Shrimp for $16 (the highest priced item on the menu). Everything that I samples was very good. It was fresh, brightly flavored, properly prepared, and presented simply, without any pretense.
The service is very good, almost the best I've seen at an establishment of this level, and I was impressed.
In valuing it I feel that I have to rate it as "a bit pricey", yet at the same time I truly believe that you get what you pay for. You'd spend almost as much at California Pizza Kitchen for a perhaps slightly larger "flatbread" (that wasn't really as good), and probably even more for a standard craft brew (Stoudts, Tröegs, Victory, and Yards are just $5 a pint, and Ballast Point Big Eye IPA is just $6).
Overall, it's certainly worth a try, but I'd avoid going on weekends.
11-20-2013 01:32:37 | More by NeroFiddled
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