Trio, a small BYOB restaurant north of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, offers guests more in the categories of service and ambiance than in first-rate food.
This dinner-only restaurant opened in February of last year by three friends Tom Jamavan, Van Chau, and Michael Poole.
The Pan Asian menu has a strong Thai influence while still offering a diverse selection oAsian-inspired cuisine.
“Sometimes the food is Chinese – we do use egg noodles, and it can be Vietnamese based on the Nuoc Mam sauce, or American with the ribeye and salmon dishes,” said Lyda Kan, a server who has worked at the restaurant since it opened.
We started with a soup special – Potato and Leek ($5) and Baby Saigon Spring Rolls ($5). The soup was thick with simple flavors but the portion was small.
The rolls were decent; luckily the Nuoc Mam sauce, a ginger and fish sauce vinaigrette, made them more pleasing.
The second course had the same dilemma. The Vegetable Spring Rolls ($4) were adequate, but two options of sauce (a cucumber and red pepper vinaigrette and a sweet chili and vinegar dip) improved the taste. A Trio House Salad ($6) with crisp greens, Asian pears, tomatoes, candied walnuts and a soy balsamic dressing had delightfully complimentary flavors, even though the walnuts were missing, which the server promptly brought over.
The entrees were good, but not spectacular. The Seafood Medley Special ($20) with jumbo shrimp, sea scallops, calamari, lobster tails, yakisoba noodles and vegetables in a mango curry sauce was one dish. It was a reasonable portion, but should have been served with a side plate to put the tails on. The other entree was Vegetarian Pad Thai ($13) with tofu. The bean curd was overcooked making it very chewy, but the sauce in this dish was delicious.
We had a selection of 10 desserts, and picked Key Lime Lemongrass Tort and the Pyramid of Chocolate ($6 each); they were yummy, but nothing to rave about.
Our server and food runner were pleasantly attentive.
Kan poured the water and opened our bottle of Pinot Grigio shortly after we sat down. She was proficient in using her wine opener and spilled nothing when pouring.
For BYOB purposes, check out the nearby bar at 27th and Brown Streets that sells beer to go. The closest Wine and Spirits store isn’t within walking distance and there’s no sense in driving because parking is impossible. Kan noted that “90 percent, if not more” of the customers bring their own alcohol to the restaurant.
Overall, the Trio experience was enjoyable. Fresh flowers and linens adorned every table. But with the vast number of Asian restaurants in the Philly area, I will not go out of my way to return to this one. However, for anyone in the neighborhood, it’s a convenient place to dine, especially when the staff makes everyone feel welcome.
2624 Brown St.