Three times the buzz
By JOHNETTE RODRIGUEZ  |  May 28, 2008

Trio | 401.792.4333 | 15 Kingstown Rd, Narragansett | Trio-Ri.Com | Sun-Thurs, 11:30 Am-9 Pm; Fri-Sat, 11:30 am-10 pm | Major credit cards | Full bar | Sidewalk-level accessible
When we were in Narragansett one week before this new restaurant opened, the asphalt parking lot was still dirt, and the mortar in the stone wall was just barely dry. But right on schedule, Trio began to serve customers on Monday, May 19, and we broke our cardinal rule of waiting three months to review a spot by walking in two days later.

Those of us who live down here have witnessed the construction of this grand new Victorian-styled edifice from the ground up, and we were curious if the interior would match it. We were also familiar with other members of the Newport Restaurant Group (22 Bowen’s, Castle Hill, Waterman Grille) and felt we could trust the kitchen. The answer: “Yes” in both cases.

The décor inside is welcoming, with muted tones of sand and sunsets, booths and banquettes with tall chairs in the lounge/bar area, and booths and banquettes around the perimeter of the main dining room. Polished wood tables sport white linen napkins and elegant flatware, but no tablecloths. The effect is to not intimidate just-from-the-beach visitors and to make everyone in this high-energy place feel right at home.

The menu takes the same tack, moving fleetly from starters to pizzas, sandwiches, and salads, and gliding on to the main attractions of chops, pastas, and seafood — the “trio” designated in the name. Any of these items can be ordered at any time of day.

Vowing to make a lunchtime visit soon, we commented on the whole belly clams on the pizza called “clams casino,” a dish possibly invented at the neatby Towers (the granite arch over Ocean Road). We noted the “Hot Italian” grinder and the lobster roll with “tail, claw, and knuckle” meat. All aim at local appetites.

What we wanted for dinner, though, was to sample appetizers referenced with the Trio name and to choose our entrées from the trio of categories.

The Trio chowder ($7) went to the distaff side of the table, its lightly creamed clam broth heaped with bits of chourico, chopped clams, roasted corn kernels, and potato chunks. Since he often has trou-ble deciding between corn and clam chowders, this really fit the Bill.

I chose the bruschetta Trio ($9), three long ovals of crispy bread, with three different toppings. The olive-artichoke tapenade came first, with both flavors popping through. The second featured a lemon-cannellini paste covered with an arugula gremolata — like a greens-and-garlic pesto. The third was the tamest: roasted garlic and fresh tomatoes. All were sprinkled with micro-greens, which added another zing.

To top off the appetizers, we split a salad of “South County organic greens” ($6), with grilled red onions, candied walnuts, and grape tomatoes, in a raspberry-verjuice dressing. It was very tasty. 

Perusing the seafood and then the pastas listed as “our spin on the globe,” I came across the appealing “tortelloni + lobster” ($24). It was described as “truffle pasta, steamed native lobster, limoncello cream.” The tortelloni were heartily stuffed with a mixture of shiitake, porcini, and oyster mushrooms. The lobster was out of its shell (thank you!), and the whiff of truffle was in the cream sauce. It all worked deliciously to-gether.

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