A child in a booster seat nibbles at a grilled cheese sandwich with mom and dad, while a weary traveller enjoys a cooked-to-order steak alone at the next table. Nearby, two girlfriends gossip over wine and share a cheese plate.
And that's just the scene TRIA Executive Chef Timothy Enfield was going for.
The signature restaurant of Dearborn's Henry Hotel is all about making people comfortable—with the setting, the service, and of course the food.
Enfield was hired in June as head chef, when TRIA was just a little more than a year old. He has since revamped the entire menu, focusing on variety, freshness and sustainable cuisine.
"Since we're inside a hotel, we want to have a diverse menu," Enfield explained. "We don't want to be pretentious; we want to be comfortable."
But that doesn't mean mom's meatloaf, or plain pastas. Instead, Enfield "took that comfort item and brought it to the next level."
Chili cheese fries became TRIA fries with a short rib ragout and Great Lakes Cheshire cheese. A burger and fries became dry-aged Angus beef sliders with mussels frites. Grilled cheese got amped up by adding capicola and Leelenau raclette with a "tomato soup" dipping sauce.
"It's conceptual," added Enfield. "It's all about layering so that people can try new things, but not be afraid of them."
And what they won't know unless they ask is that 80 percent of the ingredients in TRIA's meals are from local farmers or suppliers. The whitefish taco tastes like it was caught in Lake Superior yesterday—because it actually was. Much of the vegetables are from a farmer in Toledo. The vodka is Valentine brand and the cheeses are made at Zingerman's.
"It's important to work closely with a grower, not a buyer," Enfield said. "I want to go to the source, and doing that, you have a better quality produce."
In the near future, expect to see menus change seasonally at TRIA—to keep the options sustainable, based on the time of year. Diners will also notice constantly changing special menu items, dreamed up and crafted by Enfield and his team.
"I'm all about pulling ideas and sharing people's passions," he said.
That includes listening to what customers want, too, whether that's vegan options, gluten-free items (already marked on TRIA's menu), or lowering sodium and fat.
And above all, pleasing all palettes.
Make a reservation for TRIA at www.triadearbornrestaurant.com.