When you think of hotel restaurant, you either think:
1. way too uppity and expensive, or
2. there's no way it's nice enough for a night out
Well, that's all changed now that Trios Bistro has come to town.
Located in the Downtown Toronto Marriott Eaton Centre, it is a stunning dining room and lounge with beautifully sculptured lighting, bright modern art and spacious, cozy seating. With views that overlook the historic Church of the Holy Trinity's lit stained glass windows .
ing that in such an open and airy room, you can still feel so secluded; whether you are at the communal table or the striking lit bar, it's like it's just you and your companions having dinner. The bustling atmosphere of the mall, Bay Street and general downtown hurriedness slips away while you are catered to from the moment you walk in.
Trios is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner which means you can grab an early bite in the lounge, have lunch for under $20, or come in and linger over a sumptuous dinner accented by wine and enticing cocktails.
Executive Chef Morgan Wilson is "trying to use as much seasonal, fresh and local food on the menu," as possible and changes the menus weekly to reflect that. Trios is the first restaurant in Toronto to be accredited by Ocean Wise, a conservation programme from the Vancouver Aquarium. Morgan says that his food "focuses on quality ingredients prepared expertly and presented with a minimum of fuss. It's not contrived. I just let the food speak for itself."
The variety of menus do let the food speak. There is the lounge menu-"51020"-that has items out to your table in just 5, 10 or 20 minutes; a weekly Fresh Sheet that highlights seasonal fare, and a Bistro selection that includes Ocean Wise-approved seafood dishes. The food is not contrived, just prepared with close attention to detail. The Pan Roasted Diver Scallops ($14) taste like they just came out of the sea. They are cooked just enough so that they are buoyant without being chewy and juicy without being undercooked. Meyer lemon, micro greens, fennel salad and crispy pepper bacon are sprightly accompaniments that don't overwhelm the scallops.
Trios Signature Crab Cakes ($17), made with Maryland Lump Crab, are sure to bring back any Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard memories. Moist and rich, they are decadent and delicious as is the spicy remoulade that comes with it.
Roast chicken is one of those comfort foods that, if done right, can remain in your memory for a week or even a month with fondness. Rowe Farms Chicken ($24) comes with local baby beets, grilled leeks, Israeli couscous and a pan jus that is even better than Mom's.
The service must be mentioned here: Valet parking is available, and it's not often that a restaurant's service measures up to the hotel's overall service. Restaurant Manager Ralph Selbach is one such example-he clasps his hands, bows to listen to you and backs away often saying "Right away." And while it may be a bit startling at first to see so many of the staff do this, trust me when I say it is awfully nice to be listened to so intently when ordering and asking questions.
The food, along with the service at this upscale, yet casual, Canadian bistro is exactly what Toronto has been lacking. Who knew it would be found in a hotel?