Restaurants can convey the essence and culture of a community as well as a museum or landmark, and sometimes, they can embody its uniqueness better than just about anything else. A great restaurant is a place where locals and visitors come, not only to dine, but to get a feel for, and be part of, the life of its community.
Trio has succeeded dramatically at living up to its motto “Where Palm Springs eats,” and that may be due as much to its integration into the community, its style, and service, as well as its food. The folks at Trio seem to have thought of it all, and embraced and implemented it with enthusiasm and success.
For us, downtown Palm Springs is about an hour’s drive from Sun Runner world headquarters, so it takes motivation to get us to head to the low desert. From our first dinner there, Trio has made itself a generator of motivation, to the point where we’ll jump in the car just to go dine there. Why? It’s not just the food, though that’s motivation enough, but the whole experience.
The old bank building where Trio is located in the Uptown Design District, is an attractive modernist building, filled with colorful art. The staff is universally welcoming and friendly, attentive but not obtrusive. The bar provides an excellent selection of specialty cocktails, and yes, the food is great. The Trio experience is a feast for the senses as well as the palate, and since we always have a good time going out to eat there, we always are ready to return.
The menu consists of what they call “American modern” food, a mixture of comfort foods and contemporary American dishes. We love the roasted baby beet salad and hand cut potato chips with home made ranch dip to start, though the country pate and Wisconsin artisan cheese plate are also great starters. The Australian sole is popular, but we love the crawfish pot pie, the Trio mac and 5 cheese, and the St. Louis style spare ribs so much it’s hard to try other menu items. The drinks are as delicious as the food at Trio. Try the SpaTini, made with Pearl Cucumber Vodka, agave, and lime for a refreshing cocktail, or the Palm Springs Punch (the Naked Surfer is great too), or go for some red or white sangria.
If you’re on a budget but still want the Trio experience, the $19 prix fixe menu with its three courses, is an extraordinary value. Dine before 6 p.m. and you can enjoy a starter, entree, and dessert for under $20. That’s one of the best deals in the desert.
Trio, under the direction of operating partner Tony Marchese and executive chef/co-owner Mark Van Laanen, have thought of pretty much every reason you should keep returning to Trio: the great value of the prix fixe menu (it lets you try out the Trio favorites at a very reasonable price), happy hour specials, to go and delivery options, a frequent eaters card, specials, private dining, great art, support for local charities, special events, and a dedication to using locally grown and organic foods whenever possible. Their ability to not only create a multifaceted appeal for diners, but to execute all facets flawlessly, is a testament to their talents and their staff. Trio is deservedly one of the most popular restaurants of the Coachella Valley, and one of our favorites.
707 N. Palm Canyon Drive Palm Springs (760)864-TRIO www.triopalmsprings.com Open daily Lunch: 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Dinner: 3 p.m. to close Happy Hour (bar only): 11 a.m.- 7 p.m. Reservations are recommended