People eat three times a day to prevent mouthy mouths from brashly blurting out their distaste for the rest of the digestive system. Today's Groupon prevents inner-system quarreling by subduing chatty cheeks with elegant eats: for $20, you get $40 worth of Mediterranean-influenced New American cuisine at Café Trio, just off the Plaza.
Café Trio offers Kansas City a barrage of inventive, singular cuisine, artfully assembled in a menu full of small plates, hearty entrees, and a thirst-thwarting array of fresh cocktails and wines. Shareable starters such as the calamari fritta ($9), served with three dipping sauces (coconut curry, triple-citrus aioli, and Trio marinara), and the seared ahi tuna ($11) provide a maritime prequel to a bevy of earthly entrees. The Trio chicken blue ($20) flash fries and oven bakes thinly sliced chicken breast before adding layers of Capicola ham and Vermont sharp white-cheddar cheese. The Mac Daddy ($16)—voted the city's best mac ‘n’ cheese by The Pitch in 2005—steals its namesake back from backward-jeans-wearing adolescent rappers and overzealous swing-music revivalists, deftly merging creamy gourmet mac ‘n’ cheese with bacon, green onion, bell pepper, and cherry tomatoes. Steak gorgonzola ($28), bathed in white-wine, mushroom, and artichoke sauce, and the potato-encrusted salmon ($24) offer a seafare vs. land-meat point-counterpoint shouting match, leading to the cancellation of at least one primetime cable-news program. For noon noshing, a lunch menu tailored to midday appetites is available.
Café Trio emits a warm, friendly atmosphere that takes advantage of the universal human weakness for live music paired with gustatory gold. A revolving selection of KC's most revered musicians provides meal soundtracks, and Trio corrects an age-old nuisance with a simple, effective sign that reads, "No Freebird Requests." Grab a pair of crushingly urbane friends to match the ambience of Trio, and enjoy KC-stamped cuisine as you watch them fade chameleon-like into their surroundings.
The Pitch readers awarded Café Trio’s Richard Strong as Best Server of 2009. Trio also won Best Macaroni & Cheese of 2005 and was featured in The Pitch. OpenTable reviewers awarded the restaurant its Diners’ Choice for American food, Hot Spot, and Most Booked, among others. Yelpers give it an average of 3.5 stars. OpenTable reviewers give the restaurant an average of 4.3 stars, and 71% of Urbanspooners recommend it:
- It was a late-afternoon lunch, but the dining room was hopping. Clearly, at Café Trio, the honeymoon isn't over. – Charles Ferruzza, The Pitch
- I believe I had the best over all restaurant experience I have ever had in my life. The food was fabulous, the restaurant is beautiful and the service was beyond belief. I just can't express enough good things about this restaurant. – OpenTable.com reviewer who dined on 07/24/2010
- The food is always made with the highest quality ingredients and tastes amazing. This restaurant does not cut corners. – Nick Davis, Urbanspoon
"Sleek and shiny and glamorous" is how The Pitch's Charles Ferruzza described Cafe Trio in a 2009 article reviewing the eatery's at-the-time new location, although his praises didn't stop there. He also doled out compliments about Executive Chef Adam Yoder's European-inspired food, which earns a rating of very good to excellent from Zagat.
In the glow of paper lanterns, colorful paintings crafted by local artists hover over plates of Faroe Islands salmon roulade and hand-cut tenderloin fillets, which diners can enjoy while gazing out at the fountain and trees of Mill Creek Park. Outside, an expansive deck—open year-round—offers alfresco dining through the warm summer months, as well as unobstructed views of the resident snowmen of Country Club Plaza throughout the winter.