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After months of waiting we were thrilled this week to hear that The Trident had completed its remodel and its return to its Kingston Trio ownership 1966-76 Glory Days name with a soft re-opening. At the end of this article we'll share our #1 tip for enjoying your lunch and the big-time Bay and City views.
We do online research on the best restaurants in Sausalito rather than writing reviews ourselves, but we were so happy to see this historic building back under its nostalgia-buoyed name that we wanted to pass along a report on our first lunch. Most of the news is good.
The view from the deck above will look familiar to long-time Trident and Horizons vsitors, since it's largely the same as for most of the restaurant's history. As you can see, the outward-facing plank that provided the eating surface "on the rail" has been redonw to be a little wider and more inviting. (Thanks to the two guys who graciously leaned out of the way when we came over from our table to take this shot.)
Even better, our server told us that they're about to open the Ondines deck upstairs as well to expand their million-dollar-view seating capacity.
As far as we could tell walking through the dining room with the glare of the sun reflecting off the Bay. all the dramatic ceiling murals and fine carved woodwork by artist Dave Richards that dates back to the Trident's first heyday appear to have been lovingly preserved in this latest restoration. Janis Joplin would still find the place familiar and her table would still be waiting for her (and check out that link to hear great Joplin stories), as it was back in the 60's. We'll have to pull out old photos to see if we find any corners that have changed, and a dinner visit (or a foggy day lunch) will make it easier to see some features we hurried past.
Our hostess, server and server assistants were all warm, considerate and professional. When we asked for something they seemed to be ready to always try to find a way to say "Yes," which is the mark of a good wait staff... an issue that has been the undoing of some Sausalito restaurants.
The New England Clam Chowder and Lobster Bisque can both be ordered "ceramic or in a sourdough bowl," which sounds like a haute cuisine (or maybe just moyen-haute) version of the Everyman's In-N-Out Burger secret menu items.
The Brandt Beef Burger and the "Sausalito Prosciutto Mac and Cheese" side were both cooked just right and very flavorful. As we ate and talked and looked at web pages on an iPad (each with wonderful, witty, original writing, I might add) the staff found a good balance between checking in with us and letting us cover our business agenda.
This has been a sunny, warm week -- so sunny that the back deck was actually hot, not just warm. There were only a handful of umbrellas when we arrived and the less fortunate guests who weren't in the shade were wilting, but the staff kept bringing out more umbrellas. At least they had them on hand.
Insiders Tip: On a coolish fall day the sun may be welcome out on the Trident deck, but if we get more real Sausalito Indian Summer weather make your lunch reservation for 1:15 or 1:30 PM. By then the sun has dropped down at an angle where far more tables are in the shade. And, of course, you can always admire the great view from inside.
So that's it. On first blush the remodel left the historical decor intact, The View is of course The View, and our first meal was excellent. We love seeing success stories in Sausalito, and here's to the reborn Trident being one of them.
Fun Postscript: After we published this the Chronicle picked up the story, linking to the same menus and even linking to the same video as our Trident page. Interesting that the biggest news organization in town is using us as their source and then not even crediting us for what they copied.