Houston, TX (PressExposure) January 17, 2012 -- With a nod to the culinary triad of sweet, savory and spirits, Executive Chef Ryan Hildebrand and a stellar lineup of culinary talent have banded together to create Triniti, a progressive American restaurant designed by locally based MC2 Architects. Joining him in the kitchen are Chef de Cuisine Jose Hernandez (formerly with Philippe), Chef Greg Lowry (last with Voice at Hotel Icon), Chef Matt Lovelace (most recently with Barbed Rose), and at the front of the house, Director of Operations/Sommelier Fred Zennati (last seen at Tony's). Located at 2815 S. Shepherd Drive, the restaurant promises to be unlike any other in Houston in both cuisine and design.
"What's exciting about Triniti is that it's an artistic outlet for everyone - Fred, Jose, myself, the architects, the entire team," says Hildebrand. "So much attention is going into everything - inside and out - the cuisine and cocktails, the open kitchen, artwork, custom chandeliers, tree-lined patio and chef's garden. It's literally as if a small piece of Napa was uprooted and plunked down on the middle of South Shepherd."
Triniti's core menu, which will change seasonally, features what Hildebrand is describing as "progressive, regional American cuisine with California/West Coast sensibilities." Plates will have a lighter touch and will be more seasonally oriented. The style of food will be similar to what Hildebrand was creating at Textile Restaurant, where he served as Executive Chef. A supplemental menu will change weekly. "If you visit more than once a week, and we hope you will, you'll have new items to choose from," says Hildebrand, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. His resume includes tours of duty with high profile Houston chefs including Mark Cox, Jim Mills, Philippe Schmit and Scott Tycer, among others. On the beverage side of the menu, Zennati will focus on classic, Champagne and "Nouvelle Vague" (new wave) cocktails, along with craft beers and a wine list that is, according to Zennati, "creative, fun and drinkable."
The 5,400 square foot building, last known as Pravada, has been transformed inside and out by MC2 Architects. Lauded for their residential work, this is their first foray into restaurant design. "They wanted to do a project like this," says Hildebrand. "Everything is glass, open, airy, a nice balanced aesthetic with lots of wood, metal and concrete. It's not too casual, not too contemporary." The customized space features a fully exposed exhibition kitchen with a chef's table and counter seating offering an interactive experience to its diners. There are few interior walls enhancing the connective nature of the experience.
Chairs, light fixtures and a custom chandelier by British designer Tom Dixon were shipped in from London. Tables are mixed walnut butcher block. Besides the chef's table that seats 14, friends and family can gather around a community table for 10. Private dining is available for parties up to 36. Hildebrand commissioned renowned artist Todd Murphy to create an over-sized painting that hangs in the dining room. Floors are polished cement along the perimeter, wood on the inset. Hildebrand's goal at the end of the day: to merge white tablecloth food and service with a casual, interactive dining experience. "Dining that is not so precious," he says.
The exterior sets the stage for what you can expect inside and on the menu. Attention to detail continues outdoors with a "skin" of corrugated metal, surrounded by green organic space designed by The Office of James Burnett, the same firm that designed Brochstein Pavilion at Rice University. "They're known for creating landscapes that evoke emotional responses and unique sensory experiences," says Hildebrand. "Their landscape design is the perfect complement for the architectural character of Triniti." Upon arrival, patrons will note an extensive chef's garden. Trees and three water features will line the 40-seat patio to create an intimate setting.
"With Triniti, we're truly blessed to be able to express our creative best," says Hildebrand.