Dine Out Lauderdale Preview: Trina

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Trina, Cero, Galanga, and Jackson's Steakhouse started their Dine Out Lauderdale Preview on September 14, offering advance tastes on their $35 three-course prix fixe menus. Full details are at Open Table; make sure to check before you go, since they're mostly offering the Dine Out menu Sunday through Thursday.

After the jump, a preview of Trina.

Trina at the Atlantic Hotel.

We had a bit of friendly debate on this blog about whether or not to recommend Trina for Dine Out. Trina's been open four years now at the posh Atlantic Hotel, and it's had its share of raves and pans. New York restaurateur Don Pintabona originally consulted on the project, which began as an ode to his Sicilian heritage; now he and his crew are out of the picture, and a new chef, Brian Kay, is heading the kitchen with Faroud Oualidi as his sous chef. They're pushing the menu toward all-encompassing Mediterranean, although there's still an emphasis on seafood.

What everybody does seem to agree on is that the place is beautifully situated (overlooking the ocean) and that the large list of 13 specialty cocktails is brilliant. Our service on a recent visit was also pitch-perfect.

The atmosphere is so lovely that it's worth the 35 bucks even if you don't eat a bite, but I wasn't terribly impressed with Trina's Dine Out selections. And by the way, the DO menu is completely different from the one listed at sunny.org/dineout.

You have a choice of two appetizers:

Heirloom tomato Napoleon or Seafood soup

And three entrees:

Duck confit with white beans

Braised short ribs

Florida Yellowtail snapper piccata

And one dessert:

Key lime cheesecake tart

The dishes aren't from the regular menu, so you can't really say you're sampling examples of what you'd get as a high-rolling customer. I tried only one dish of each course and thought they were pretty uninspired. The heirloom tomato Napolean is basically a stacked, vertical salad of tomatoes, onions, and Manchego cheese -- pretty presentation, but nothing special in terms of flavor. The duck confit entree needed something to sharpen up the soft, rich duck meat -- those white beans had been cooked in stock but weren't lively enough to work as a counterpoint. And the keylime cheesecake tart was a fine little mouthful, bracing and creamy. Still, from a restaurant of this caliber I definitely expected more.

Rather that mess around with the Dine Out menu at Trina, if you've never been to the place I'd recommend going for cocktails and their really excellent flatbreads. You could down a "Trinatini" and a "Moroccan Odyssey" ($12 each) plus a lamb/feta/roasted tomato flatbread ($16) for $40 plus tax and tip and come away feeling like you owned the world.

For a full review of Trina, look for my column in the September 25 issue of New Times Broward-Palm Beach.

-- Gail Shepherd

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