Trove has only been open for about a week, which might explain why a lot of folks seem to be confused about the format of this four-pronged Capitol Hill restaurant cooked up by the same couple who brought us Joule and Revel.
Chef-owner Rachel Yang, who still manages to squeak in shifts at her other two restaurants (mainly Joule), explains that she gets two polar opposite crowds walking into her treasure trove (“X” marks the spot): those who roll with the punches and those who roll their eyes.
Last night during dinner, she explained that, “Some people come in with anxiety. It's one of those things—when you tell people how to [navigate] it, they'll worry that they're not doing it the right way. There are some people who come in and are like, 'What do I do? What is going on here?' and get very frustrated. Others just come in and poke their head around and figure it out.”
“We always tell them that if they're coming in for dinner to try the barbecue (note: the grill portion of Trove is open for dinner only) and then we tell them how they can sit at the grill table to cook themselves; some people love that, but they don't have to cook! When someone is obviously stopping in at lunchtime, we have the noodle bar. People love the fact that they have the option of grabbing a drink or some noodles while they're waiting for dinner, too.”
What you’re able to order is contingent on where you sit. In the cocktail bar (which opens at 4 p.m.), you can order noodles, cocktails, beer and wine. In the noodle bar (open from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. - 11 p.m.), you can order noodles and beer, but no cocktails or wine. In the grill (which opens at 5 p.m.), you can order barbecue, but no noodles. Soft serve from the faux ice cream “truck” is available all day (11 a.m. to 11 p.m.), anywhere. Trove is open daily and only closes between 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., with the exception of the parfait truck, which has a walk-up window outside.
“My mom is in town from Korea and she told me she had this dream about Mt. Rainier or some volcano erupting in fire," says Yang, who explained that in Asia, fire is considered good luck. "She walked in here and couldn’t believe it! It was just a coincidence that she was excited about Trove and then had a dream about fire, specifically a volcano."
I’ve only been to Trove once and already have a few favorite dishes: the stir fried spaghetti and meatballs (no red sauce) with Swiss chard ($12) and a side of kimchi ($3); fried cauliflower with bagna cauda and lemon ($8) and of course, how can you lose with "old school" Snickers soft-serve ($6) presented in a jar and topped with nougat, peanuts and chocolate sauce. The custard consistency is still being worked on. It's not as thick as Yang would like it to be; it's a little runny, but still good, especially with incredible flavors like root beer float with licorice crumble and a "new school" banana split rendition topped with chili chocolate sauce. Bonus: you can keep the jar for an extra $1.
You might need some luck maneuvering through Trove, but not discoverng a few lovely gems.