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Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Tria Cafe
Price: $$
Forks: 8 (apps get a 9.5, stick to those)

18th and Sansom
Philadelphia, PA

Last week was the Jewish Holiday, Yom Kippur. On this day, we fast from sunset to sunset and cleanse our mind, body, sins, and souls. As you can imagine, this day is HARD. Like really hard, especially for a hungree girl like myself. Well, all I could think about all day was what I was going to eat when I was finally allowed. Jenna, a fellow faster, and Raya, an always hungree companion, suggested we break our fast at Tria, a wine and cheese bar downtown. Honestly, you could have fed me chocolate covered cardboard and I would have been content. Thankfully, Tria delivered a plentiful (we basically ate the whole menu) and delicious meal that hit the spot after a long day of chomping on air and sipping on moans of hunger. A low lit lounge-style restaurant and bar, Tria offered the perfect balance of elegant chicness without trying too hard. As soon as we were seated, Jenna, a frequent visiter/loyal Tri-ite, started ordering with expertise. I was too hungree to look at the menu. I wanted it all, and wanted it now and I trusted Jenna to deliver the goods, which she did. Our waitress was concerned that we ordered too much. She warned us to stop, we told her to wait and watch. She learned not to mess after we cleared our apps within minutes. To start, we ordered the special cheese, a milky luxurious creamy cheese that came served with dried cherries and crusty toast points. It was divine; exquisitely tangy and sharp, yet also sweet and luscious. The tart cherries added the perfect contrast in texture and taste, making for an excellent first bite of the day.
 gimme some o dat pleeeze
Then the appetizers started flowing and flowing and I officially transcended into heaven, and so did Jenna and Raya because our talking immediately ceased. I mean check out this spread.
The first thing I tried was the Truffle Egg Toast, a fluffy and airy square piece of bread was topped with a runny fried egg and remnants of truffle. I eagerly broke the yolk, allowing it to lovingly drench the toast in rich sunny goodness. It was awesome. (corner right)
Next came the bruschettas. Sauteed Broccoli Rabe with Tomato Pesto and Parmigiano-Reggiano
Apple Tree Goat Cheese with Basil Pesto
Truffled Mushroom with Fontina
Carmelized Onion with Feta
and finally Pistachio Herbed Ricotta with Lavender Honey. Each one was distinctly superb; their flavors were bold and the pairings meshed perfectly. The Pistachio Ricotta was my favorite; salty and sweet, creamy yet nutty, I would fast again just to eat a million of these the next day.
Then we tackled the Warm Poached Black Mission Figs with gorgonzola and prosciuotto di parma. I'm a fig lover, like the ultimate fig lover, and these were one bite masterpieces that bundled the natural sweetness of figs, the musty gritty cheese, and the savory porky prosciuotto into little presents that I would be happy to receive for any birthday.
The sliced italian meat platter was hearty, offered variety, and had an excellent range of tastes and textures that varied from rustic and spicily potent to mild and tenderly delicate. We arranged the meat slices on toast with super grainy mustard and some garlic oil, and went HAM on this pun intended.
Those were the appetizers. If asked after them, I'd give the meal a solid 9.5. Each was skillfully crafted, flavored to perfection, and each boasted flavors that I'd seen before but all had a little bit of a twist goin on. Unfortunately, the bigger plates didn't live up to their pre-cessors. We ordered two salads, one of grilled asparagus, artichoke, white beans, tomato-onion relish and pines, and the second of smoked chicken, arugula, roasted grapes, candied walnuts, asiago and balsamic. The first was drenched in dressing, and every single bite tasted the same. The elements had mixed together in such a way in which you couldn't really tell what you were eating, it was all just "salad." Also wasn't that fresh tasting. Meh.
The latter salad, just didn't mesh well. All the components sounded like it would be good, but it just didn't seem to come together, and the whole thing acted as a backdrop to the dryness of the smoked chicken.
The Claudio Mozzarella Sandwich fared a little better. Featuring crispy prosciutto, piquillo papers, pesto and garlic vinaigrette, it was crunchy, crispy, and had a great combination of textures/flavor balance, but the whole sandwich needed more of each element. It needed MORE prosciutto, MORE mozzarella, just MORE of it all.
Needless to say, we munched a lot, and not only did I make up for my day of fasting, but made up for fasting in the next 3 years to come. The meal was the ideal way to ease back into eating as it was light, fresh tasting, yet totally filling. While I wasn't really into the entrées, the appetizers won me over. When I go back, which I will, I'll stick to the smaller bites, where Tria truly shined.

feeling tri(a)umphant

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