Trio on the Bay

 

3 stars for well-prepared, waterside dining in North Bay Village

trio on the bay calamari

Jodi Mailander Farrell

Defying its warehouse size and nightclub vibe, 3-month-old Trio on the Bay delivers what South Floridians deserve and too seldom find: well-prepared, water-side dining. With a pink sunset to the left (ignore the WSVN-Channel 7 transmission tower) and the lights of Miami Beach to the right, twilight diners on the 10,000-square-foot patio are in for a treat. Chef Klime Kovaceski's small-plate menu steals the show, with seafood plates fittingly dominant.

Bayside tables offer the best sundown view, but our favorite location was the burgundy banquettes surrounding the tiki-style outdoor bar, with overhead fans providing a breeze. An extensive, affordable wine list and clever cocktail menu provide plenty of beverage options. We can't comment on the pre-dawn dance scene, but the music piped into the patio during our meals was one of the best-eating soundtracks we've heard here, melding Rat Pack standards, Michael Buble, Bruno Mars, Chet Baker, Miles Davis, Gershwin and even some samba.

Ambience: Trio's interior conjures the mafia chic of South Beach's 1990s club scene. Beaded curtains, chandeliers, gilt-framed Renaissance-style paintings and dozens of flat-screen TVs attempt to fill the 14,000-square-foot space, complete with 2,000-square-foot dance floor. (Gerry Kelly, former ringmaster at Bash, Liquid and Lux, operates the nightlife.) Young hostesses in micro-mini skirts seat guests as general manager Louie Spetrini (The Water Club) hustles about in rectangular eye glasses and spiky black hair.

What Worked

  • Tender & smoky grilled calamari steaks with white wine-lemon-butter sauce and red and banana peppers
  • Crisp on the outside, juicy on the inside pan-seared scallops, served atop raw spinach with smoked bacon cubes and grilled red onions
  • Fresh & perfectly cooked sesame-crusted tuna
  • A mini-skewer trio - mouth-melting steak along with chicken and shrimp
  • Sweet-salty & satisfying braised endive and tomatoes dressed with white truffle oil and balsamic raspberry reduction and crowned with a pistachio-crusted sphere of goat cheese
  • Charmingly misshapen, thin-crust pizzas with toppings like figs, pancetta and blue cheese, mozzarella and basil and our favorite, pesto-artichoke
  • A complimentary basket of warm focaccia with a garlicky olive and roasted-pepper spread
  • Delicate pecan-crusted river trout served with roasted sweet potatoes, smoked bacon and spinach in a warm cider vinaigrette
  • Grilled butcher steak with truffled fries cooked exactly as ordered, with plenty of demi-glace for swiping
  • A super-moist chocolate lava cake bursting with dark, sweet filling
  • Peachy bread pudding with a trio of sauces (chocolate-macadamia, crème anglaise and raspberry coulis) and juicy strawberries

 

What Didn't Work

  • Chicken risotto - a strange combination of Southwestern flavors - artichokes, chicken chunks, roasted red peppers and far too much corn that overwhlemed the Italian rice
  • Plump but bland lamb chops served with overly sweet apricot chutney
  • Bland Gruyère mac and cheese
  • Disappointing roasted beet salad with only three slices of beets that tasted neither fresh nor roasted

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