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FEED ME: Trio: At the top of its game
JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Short ribs are almost always better than good. I know this isn’t a fashionable opinion for a food writer but, well, I wear Crocs in public. Unless it’s the Annual Library Benefit at the Four Seasons, I’m not known for being particularly fashionable. Besides, I like what I like, trendy or not.
The pork belly of the mid-2000s, short ribs jumped the shark way back in 2006, when Olive Garden added braised short ribs to its menu.
Still, I love short ribs and have had them prepared many different ways on several different continents. However, only recently did I encounter them at their best: Trio’s braised short rib pasta ($28). From the first bite (in the restaurant) to the last (in the office for lunch the following day), the heavens were open and angels were dancing on my taste buds.
Trio encrusts short ribs with porcini mushrooms before braising the cut, a meatier, tenderer piece of meat than their pork counterpart. I can only guess it emerges from the braising process with the meat already having fallen off the bone in big hunks. Trio then tosses the meat with oyster mushrooms, broccolini, pappardalle pasta and pecorino cheese.
Despite the generous size and amount of short ribs in the dish, lazy diners need not fret: no utensils necessary beyond a fork. Chewing isn’t even mandatory with the exception of the broccolini, which adds a satisfying crispness.
To go with my unfashionable entree, I ordered a seasonally inappropriate side of roasted mushrooms ($10). I don’t mean seasonally inappropriate in terms of availability of ingredients, but, to me, roasted mushrooms seem like a winter dish. Especially when served in a cute cast iron dish. These mushrooms rank among the best sides in town, including hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, egg, white truffle oil and the cheese all other cheeses aspire to be, manchego. I vote for them to be on the menu year round. And not just because I enjoy saying “hen-of-the-woods,” which should not be confused with chicken-of-the-woods mushrooms. These really do exist.
Rounding out my main courses, I felt compelled to try some pizza. A group of women at a neighboring table had what looked to be a delicious pie. Our waitress said it was the Roma Tomato ($16). Twenty minutes later we had our own Roma Tomato pizza. How can something so simple – wood-oven roasted roma tomatoes, pork sausage, garlic oil and fontina cheese – be so yummy? Or perhaps that’s precisely why it is so yummy. Each ingredient is given a chance to shine.
Three different dishes, three home runs. Trio is on top of their game and, with a few others, at the top of the valley’s fine dining scene.
However, I don’t think Trio has to share the title of Best Dessert Menu in the Valley. I’ve already confessed to being slightly intimidated by fancy desserts of the Oscar Ortega variety. I appreciate the skill and artistry that goes into making them, but prefer a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie or fruit cobbler.
Trio’s current dessert menu strikes the perfect balance between chichi and common. The angels returned to tango with my taste buds with Trio’s Lemon Meringue Ice Cream Pie ($10) made with house-made lemon ice cream, vanilla meringue and a sugar cookie crust.
Dinner at Trio nightly from 5:30; 45 S. Glenwood Dr., 734-8038, bistrotrio.com