Tre Cool (Tre Nightclub and Restaurant - Sacramento, CA)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I was glad I just wore the clothes I put on for casual day at work, my skinny jeans make my ass look damn fine, but are a bit tight in the crotch if I have to sit down for two and a half hours. There was a time when I would suffer for fashion, to look cool and hip, like I just walked out of a Candace Bushnell novella. However, I find that, one: I think I can make my casual jeans and a jacket look damn fine, and two: I don't really care as much as I used too.

Still, there is a vibe that pulses through Tre; a tribal, enveloping beat that reverberates through people and imbibes you with a stalwart charisma and attraction and gives you a sense of chic fabulosity. It reminded me of some of the clubs and bars I used to patron back in San Francisco and West Hollywood, but without that patronizing power tie fashion palate snobbery that those types of crowds is often saturated with (well, less so, in Sacramento). As a twenty-something I couldn't help but fall in love with the space immediately.

As my dining companions joined me we were led through a bar that was bursting with energy and admittedly, a lot of noise. Good for business, bad for conversation. Still, we didn't find ourselves yelling but we still had to strain our listening a little. The table was surrounded on all sides by black semi-opaque curtains. At first we felt silly like faux-VIP's demanding our privacy, but it set up a perfect boundary from the activity outside and our table, and helped separate us from the source of the deafening roar.

Tre is split into various sections where the trendy cliques are bound to congregate. The newly carded 21 year olds and young bankers are at the main bar, putting away cocktails and martinis, while the suave and sexy are naturally lounging at the wine bar. Wild girl Sephora devotees and the men who buy them shots were gathered around the tequila. While a few older gentlemen and one or two sorority girls were at the cigar bar, women in suits of every age discussed the finer points of foreign markets and cognac and the dark spirits room. The dance floor at the moment was empty, but I gathered it was only a matter of time before it began to pack in the patrons.One of my dining companions, Hank Shaw, was a resident expert on shellfish, wine, and cognac. We allowed him to guide us through our first course of clams and oysters. Both were served fresh over ice with lemon and Tabasco. Delicious, briney, and slid right down your throat.

Strangely, you'll find raw mussels on the menu. There is a reason most people don't eat them: they taste awful and they're the canary in the cave, if something is wrong with the ocean, eating a mussel will inform you of what. My advice and suggestion for general gustatory practice - avoid them.

The appetizers were, much like many of the young patrons there, dressed up and sexy looking, but still not sure what they want to do with their lives. A little lost, they were well on their way to being something fantastic but needed more time to develop and mature. The risotto balls with mushrooms and mango chutney were lip smackingingly good but needed less presentation and more sauce. Lotus chips and Asian guacamole (we're still not quite sure how it was Asian) reminded me of a date I had a while back, pretty to look at but no real substance. I know I could make better guac at home and use more flavorful store bought potato chips.

The natural (as opposed to artificial?) hanger steak was simply amazing, and while they offer a selection of sauces from red bell pepper to a green peppercorn it's simply unnecessary. Hank paraphrased it delightfully, suggesting that "anyone who puts sauce on a steak this good should be shot in the head;" Elise and I nodded in fervent agreement.

While the beat driven music and roar of laughter and conversation crowded the air, it all seemed to disappear with each bite of my pork tenderloin. The pork had been brined, allowing it to keep a juicy, serene flavor that nulled the outside distraction. Balanced through the woodsy shitake mushrooms and ginger sauce it played silently in my mouth and forced out everything else that demanded my attention.Elise's lamb sliders were simple, anticipatory even. You knew what you were getting and what it would taste like. Still, some skill is required to make the ingredients work well and prepare them just right. Indeed, the lamb, figs, goat chevre and micro-greens all presented a tasty little treat served alongside some homemade BBQ potato chips. A nice little taste of Summer in the middle of Fall.

Much like my companions and I, the apple charlotte arrived looking comfortable. One expects a charlotte to be prim, polite, all lace and bows. This dessert was not so much Charlotte, but Harlot, the kick ass rocker chic cousin with the midriff whom you ditch the good girl for. A simple round of caramelized, french-toast reminiscent bread bound in place a sweet mixture of razor thin apple slivers, pecans, spices and sugar. Sitting in a small pool of vanilla pastry cream, Harlot rocked the table and each and every one of us danced with her. She broke almost all of Charlotte's rules, but was awesome for it. She paired well with a heady calvados as everyone knows a little liquor will make any Harlot sing.There are a few issues as any new restaurant is bound to have. The menu has a few spelling errors (the composition teacher in me wanted to whip out my red pen) and a few dishes still need some work. The staff, while friendly, is still feeling its way out, people were unsure of where certain menus were kept and had trouble communicating with each other which led to confusion for us as well.

Furthermore, I am curious if they can stay open in these tough economic times. The location is odd, it located between Chevy's and an Old Navy, and the place was a huge investment with high costs of operation. If they can draw in the younger college crowds for the nightclub and lounge and fiscally fine for dinner they'll do great.

1212 Howe Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825


  1. I thought the service was unusually attentive, didn't you? Loved the food. Won't go back though, just too noisy for me. Unless they have a lunch service without the migraine-inducing thumpty-thump music and noisy bar patrons. Hank's hanger steak was outstanding.

  2. There are days I absolutely hate you, Garret. Today is one. That looks so yummy! But I am stuck between, as the radio says, "Buella and the backwoods," where the best cooking for 100 miles in any direction is mine.

    After I host the holidays here I'm hitting the west coast for some R&R.

  3. Ah... another fantastic review. You make me want to throw the rotten economy to the wind, slide into my comfortable jeans, and head out to dinner.

    Sparkling writing, as always!

  4. Yo VG, can you give this place any kind of label?
    From the review, they seem to have taken the old bar and made what, three different bars?

    And the food, what you've described pretty varied.

    It's not gourmet, it's not continental. It's not CAL Cuisine.

    It's a bag of wierd.

    Who OWNS this place? Is it corporate, family, or investor based? Who's the chef? Who did the layout and design? Did you see the kitchen? Do they have a hardwood grill or oven? Is there a website?

    Upon Google, you were pretty much it, I must admit, so thanks for the review!


Hey, you're leaving a comment! That's pretty darn cool, so thanks. If you have any questions or have found an error on the site or with a recipe, please e-mail me and I will reply as soon as possible.

Vanilla Garlic All rights reserved © Blog Milk Powered by Blogger