January 2008

Trinity Restaurant & Bar

Author: Grace Wang

Reviving an Old Locals’ Hangout

For those who have grown weary of the usual monotony of bar and restaurant hopping in Hilton Head’s “downtown” area, Trinity can be considered your new home away from home, not to mention home to the “Senator John McCain incident.” Positioned outside of the Sea Pines’ main gate in The Gallery of Shops, Trinity is the third generation restaurant to grace this location, following its predecessors, the original Reilley’s and Rendezvous Café. They strive to continue traditions of the previous establishments and cater to the locals while opening doors to newcomers and vacationers. Those who have walked through the doors keep coming back. Considered one of the island’s best and cheapest Happy Hours, summing up their list of libations and culinary inspirations plus a congenial crowd equals a good ol’ time!

The name, Trinity, stems from the Trinity of J’s and the trinity of vegetables. Their dynamic threesome includes James Walsh, Executive Chef, John Cherol, Bar Manager, and Jeff Hale, Manager. In the matter of a culinary trinity, American chefs term “trinity” as a proportion of celery, onions, and bell peppers used in bases of many dishes.

Executive Chef, James Walsh, graduated from Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts in 1999. He’s worked alongside a few of the island’s chefs, including Serge Prat, retired owner of Rendezvous. His experiences help mold the menu at Trinity to include some of Rendezvous’ favorites while adding his own flavors, including French as well as American, Italian, and Asian influences.

The restaurant has a big city feel, casual fine-dining atmosphere with black and white photos setting the stage for a modern, yet comfortable dining experience. What has caught the eye of so many and brings in the homey feel are the old photographs belonging to the owners. Dating back three generations, these pictures bring heritage and Old World charm to focus. Ask any of the three, and each will happily share the stories and family histories that help this trio of men make Trinity eclectic and their own.

Over a plate of short ribs, a bowl of made-from-scratch chowder and a stemmed glass of grown-up grape juice, I was able to speak with the three and attempted to pry:

Q: How did your collaboration come about?
John: “Jeff and I have been longtime friends and Jay and I have worked together the last few years.”

Q: What are some of the favorites?
James: “Crab cakes are always a hit; we are probably one of the few restaurants around that serves a Maryland-style crab cake. The Duck is really popular!”
John: “Veal Osso Bucco!”
Jeff: “The Zango!”

Q: What is one piece of advice you wish someone had told you prior to opening?
John: “Things never go as you plan. It’s all about adapting!”
James: “Pre-advertise. Make a big deal of your Grand Opening!”
Jeff: “That’s tough. I’ve never been in the restaurant business till now. There’s not enough time in the day to sit down and talk to everyone. Thinking about ALL things that can go wrong within the course of a day, patience is key!”

Q: Are there any upcoming events?
James: “We have Yacht Hop coming. Guest Chef Serge Prat is here the last Thursday of every month. And every Friday lunch we have our specialty quiche. We also have a private dining/party room! We always have functions in there where we cater.”

Hours of Operation: Lunch, Monday-Friday 11 a.m-2 p.m.; dinner, Monday-Sunday, 5-10 p.m.; early bird dining, 5-6 p.m.; Happy Hour, 5-8 p.m. For reservations or more information, call 843-785-5070.

Trinity’s Macadamia Nut Crusted Scallops

12 fresh sea scallops
7-oz. macadamia nuts
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 small jar pesto
Salt and pepper to taste
Handful of fresh spinach

Grind macadamia nuts. Toss fresh scallops in the ground nuts to encrust. Pan sear in olive oil until golden brown. Finish scallops in pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 4 minutes. Fry spinach to add as a garnish. Drizzle the plate with pesto, arrange scallops and garnish with spinach. Enjoy!

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