Cal and I have eaten at the Trident Grill on a two occasions. Most recently we checked it out on a weeknight hoping to catch the first game of the World Series. It wasn’t too crowded but there was enough people to give it a decent ambiance. We sat underneath one of the bigger televisions so Kevin and Cal could get a good view of the game, I don’t really care who wins so I conceded the seats.
The food at the Trident is an attempt at a sort of Mid Atlantic cuisine and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. They offer some classier bar dishes like steaks and seared tuna but never really deliver on them. Their real appeal is in the simple fare they offer, burgers, crab cakes, potato skins.
The first time we visited the restaurant, I ordered the crab cake sandwich. It was basically a burger swapped out with a crab cake which isn’t a bad thing. The crab cake was a little rich, even for a crab cake but it was well crafted and the bun was sturdy enough to handle the crumbling bit of fried crab. The fries weren’t at all memorable but sometimes that’s enough for fries. As long as they aren’t offending you by merely being on the plate then they are acceptable. Cal had the seared tuna with mashed potatoes and broccoli. He wasn’t too thrilled with it but liked it nonetheless. I think the generally good natured waitress had more to do with how much Cal enjoyed our first visit. She gave him a gentle ribbing for standing at the bar to order beers while she could have just as easily took his order.
This time I opted for a cesear salad with grilled shrimp for some reason.
It was actually a pretty good salad. The shrimp were well cooked but a tad under seasoned. The dressing was creamy but still had slight bight that made it the appropriate contrast to the blandish shrimp and croutons. The lettuce was fresh and crisp, so essential to a cesear salad.
Cal had a burger. If you ask me he put way too much castsup on it. The thing was just loaded with dripping condiments. We weren’t at Carl’s Jr. for christ’s sake. The bun stood up however, worth big points in the What the Hell book. Cal said burger was cooked to perfection, I tested his hypothesis with my fork.
I concluded that it was cooked to his specification but didn’t taste it because the fork test sufficed. I was a little skeptical still, it just didn’t quite have the look of a superior burger He loved it though, not the way Cal loves everything we eat, but in a way that made me think it might actually be a good burger. He later placed it in his top five burgers in town, behind Belushe’s and Bob Dobbs but before Zinburger. He literally felt this good about it:
Kevin had spaghetti which wasn’t even worth a picture. It was the special of the night. Thick eggy noodles circled a dense meatball that Kevin accused of having no flavor. The dish also lacked any serious amount of sauce, forgivable for straight spaghetti but with the meatball a serious problem. I think Kevin dropped the ball on this one, he shouldn’t have ordered spaghetti at a bar, especially not as the special. He was happy enough though I think, we’d all split a sampler platter to begin with of which the chicken tenders or the potato skins were the real stand outs. The mozzarella sticks were luke warm and the marinara they came with was thick as a paste. I wondered why they didn’t use the pastey marinara for Kevin’s spaghetti but I guess it’ll just be one of those mysteries we never figure out.
Colin showed up about half way through our dinner with his girlfriend. They shared a steak that came with mashed potatoes and broccoli. I’m pretty sure Colin would eat just about anything so when he said his steak was pretty lame I believed him. It looked pretty lame anyway.
Again I’d chalk this up to a mistake in ordering. I think that the Trident’s menu is too big and they should focus on the things they do well. That being said, they have created a really comfortable bar atmosphere where you could go and spend a couple of hours by yourself and not be bothered. Probably the best feature of the Trident is the absence of students and general dick holes. They also have a pretty decent selection of beers on tap including, Blue Moon, Harp and Arrogant Bastard one of which Cal spilled all over me at the end of the night. Despite the wet pants and the odd ingestion of a cesear salad, I give the Trident Grill seven potato skins.