“If there was a dream team assembled for a restaurant in Houston, I think team Triniti would have to be it. There’s a harmony among the players -- Executive Chef/Owner Ryan Hildebrand, Chef de Cuisine Jose Hernandez and Chefs Greg Lowry and Matthew Lovelace -- that shows through in the way they work. Communicating often with a gesture or a look, the chefs work side by side in total unison, the harmony translating into artful execution at every step.” ~ Mai Pham, The Examiner
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 Houston MC2 Architects. Joining Hildebrand in the kitchen are Chef de Cuisine Greg Lowry (last with Voice at Hotel Icon), Chef Matt Lovelace (most recently with Barbed Rose) and, at the front of the house, General Manager Brett Story.
The restaurant, unlike any other in Houston in both cuisine and design, represents an artistic outlet for all involved. Much attention has been paid to the details in everything – inside and out – from the food, cocktails, open kitchen, commissioned artwork and custom chandeliers, to the tree-lined patio and chef’s garden. The feel … as if a small piece of Napa was uprooted and plunked down in the middle of South Shepherd, in the country’s fourth largest city.
Triniti’s core menu changes seasonally, featuring what Chef Hildebrand, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, is calling “Third Coast French” cuisine – regional fare, French techniques, light-handed, focusing on the highest quality ingredients available. A supplemental menu will change weekly.
Hildebrand’s impressive 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 focuses on classic, Champagne and “Nouvelle Vague” (new wave) cocktails, along with craft beers and a wine list that is creative, fun and drinkable.
The 5,400 square foot building has been beautifully transformed inside and out by Houston’s own MC2 Architects. Lauded for their residential work, Triniti is their first foray into restaurant design. Everything is glass, open, airy, a nice balanced aesthetic with lots of wood, metal and concrete. 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 12, friends and family can gather around a community table for 10. Private dining is available for parties up to 25 seated and 40 mingling. A gorgeous over-sized painting created by renowned artist Todd Murphy 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.
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. Known for creating landscapes that evoke emotional responses and for creating unique and unforgettable sensory experiences, 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 line the 40-seat patio to create an intimate setting.