Trocadero Gastrobar’s New International Spirit
Water Street restaurant reopens with new menu, updates
The most obvious
exterior change is a large, brilliant red sign that can be seen from Brady Street.
Another sign dubs Trocadero a “Gastrobar.” Inside, the bar has been relocated
to its original place in the triangular front room. Spacious booths have
replaced the bar’s previous spot. The dining porch is fully glassed in, and the
air is clearer now that Trocadero has gone smoke-free indoors.
In many ways, the
place seems the same. For instance, there is something familiar about the scene
of a couple sitting at a table overlooking the outdoor terrace. They have a
bottle of champagne in a bucket of ice and an enamel pot of steamed blue
mussels. Later, a tuna Nicoise salad arrives with a thick slab of grilled ahi
tuna. Yet there is also something different in this picture: The mussels have a
Thai green curry sauce. And this is just the start of the changes. Steak and
frites are still here, but now you will also find fish tacos and the
aforementioned mussels, which can also be ordered with an onion and chorizo
The wine selection
has shrunk dramatically in favor of a large Belgian beer list. And the cheese
plate takes a back seat to a jalapeno cornbread skillet.
Who needs French
onion soup? Instead, try the charred poblano and sweet corn chowder
($3.95-$5.95), a vegetarian soup with fresh corn kernels, tomatoes, onions,
gentle hints of spicy poblano peppers and just a touch of sour cream. Mexican
touches also appear in a starter item, Baja fish tacos ($9.95). This is a trio
of tacos, each a single corn tortilla with small pieces of cod in a Corona beer batter,
chipotle aioli, avocado mousse and Latin slaw. Remove a bit of the overly
abundant aioli and enjoy some decent tacos. Jerk shrimp skewers ($9.95) sound
Jamaican, but there are only the faintest hints of allspice on the four jumbo
shrimp, and drizzles of a teriyaki-like sauce on the plate would indicate an
Asian influence. Still, this is an excellent shrimp appetizer, featuring a red
cabbage slaw with bits of fresh pineapple (now that’s more Caribbean in
Entrees are listed
under the title “The Big Hunger Plan.” This is where you’ll find the steak ’n
frites ($22.95). This is the sole French item on the menu, and even this entrée
is topped with ancho lime butter. The mild ancho chiles also appear with the
red devil chicken ($14.95), a half-bird served in four pieces with the bone.
The batter has a reddish hue thanks to smoked paprika. The spicing level is not
devilish at all; rather, it is on the mild, peppy side, in a twist on American
Southern-fried chicken. Hitachino braised beef ($17.95) consists of small
pieces of short ribs in a shoyu glaze. Hitachino is a Japanese brewery and
shoyu is a true brewed soy sauce. The meat is accompanied by some veggies like
scallions, cucumbers and snap peas, though the peas are not of the Asian
variety. The key to this dish is the mango salsa, as the diced pieces of fresh
mango add their trademark sweetness.
sandwiches and burgers remain mostly unchanged. The gastro burger ($11.95) has
black salt, Nueske’s bacon, caramelized onion, cheddar, sriracha mayo, lettuce
and tomato. It may not be cheap, but it is a big burger made of prime beef and
includes frites. Dipping sauces are available for a small additional charge.
The last major
change is the addition of weekday breakfasts. This menu retains the quiche
Lorraine and adds the jalapeño cornbread skillet.
Trocadero looks as
good as ever, and the outdoor terrace is a fine place to nurse some Belgian
ales. Enjoy the international spirit of the new Trocadero.
1758 N. Water St.
Credit Cards: All Major
Smoking: Outdoors Only