Houston school kids aren't the only ones taking a spring break this week. Triniti chef/owner Ryan Hildebrand announced at the beginning of the month that the restaurant would be going on hiatus from March 12-20 to "produce and refine" the new spring lunch, dinner and cocktails menus. It's a dark period that Hildebrand says he plans to continue with at the the beginning of both the spring and fall menu seasons.
"All the way back when I first started, I've always wanted to take the time and do maintenance between the two major menu shifts, to get refreshed physically as well as with the menu," Hildebrand tells CultureMap. "We're not taking a vacation but when you work in a kitchen and you pull a nine-to-five day, it feels like a rest."
"I've always wanted to take the time and do maintenance between the two major menu shifts, to get refreshed physically as well as with the menu," Hildebrand tells CultureMap.
According to Hildebrand, the schedule for restaurant staff includes a bit of spring cleaning plus some kitchen tweaks. Hildebrand says that the spring menu will hold over only two dishes, so the rest of the week is devoted to creating the dishes he's designed on paper and getting the kitchen and the front staff familiar with them.
"We're playing and practicing, says Hildebrand. "Now that our staff has worked itself out everyone is in their niche and we're progressing as we refine."
As for exciting items to look for on the spring menu, Hildebrand says he's particularly excited about the pastries by chef de cuisine Jose Hernandez and a veal dish that has the components of a blanquette but that's presented in a very different way.
"Jose and I are both old enough that we're grounded in the classics," says Hildebrand. "We like to play with classics and rework them."
Other changes for the spring and summer season include a slightly larger dinner menu and the addition of a prix fixe option during lunch.
"When we change that much, what we gain by closing outweights what we lose," says Hildebrand. "Everybody I talk to in person is excited because I think they recognize that we're trying to do something that pushes ourselves and is unique to us."