Tre Rivali, the restaurant at the new Kimpton Journeyman Hotel in the Historic Third Ward in Milwaukee, opened Thursday with a Mediterranean menu and the cachet of a well-regarded Chicago chef who's appeared on television.
Heather Terhune, who gained a measure of fame as a contestant on Bravo's "Top Chef" in Season 9 and critical acclaim at Sable (another Kimpton restaurant) and Atwood Cafe in Chicago, is branching out with the menu at Tre Rivali, 200 N. Broadway.
Although she has spent time in Italy and Spain and worked in Italian and Spanish restaurants, this is the first menu she's written as executive chef that is not American regional fare, she said.
The dishes will have familiar flavors, if not traditional preparations, she indicated. Carbonara — pasta traditionally coated in beaten egg — is flavored with salt-cured egg yolk instead.
"We're just trying to take a different approach," Terhune said.
A window to the kitchen will let diners watch cooks making fresh pasta. The kitchen also has a rotisserie for dishes such as Middle Eastern roasted half chicken and a wood-fired oven for pizzas.
Olive oil and citrus are used liberally throughout the menu, Terhune said, and presentation is simplified to focus on ingredients.
The menu has a dozen snacks — cicchetti and tapas — such as paella arancini with chorizo and scallop crudo with grapefruit and Calabrian chiles.
It has midsize dishes focusing on fish and other seafood, such as smoked Spanish mackerel, and on vegetables, including arugula and mint salad with hearts of palm, French green beans and goat cheese.
Large plates include whole roasted branzino with gazpacho relish and pork chop with polenta and pork confit.
Prices range from $5 to $17 for snacks, $15 to $18 for pastas and $22 to $29 for large plates. Pizzas are $16.
The restaurant is outfitted with leather banquettes, a communal table and Spanish tiles underfoot at the bar. It was designed by Warren Red, the same firm that designed the interior for the hotel.
In addition to the 48-seat Tre Rivali, the indoor-outdoor rooftop bar the Outsider also will open Thursday. The bar will serve small plates and frozen push-pops for dessert, and it will offer wine on tap, beer that can be bought by the growler and cocktails by head bartender Gen Longoria, formerly of Distil downtown. The Outsider will be open from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. daily.
The hotel, 310 E. Chicago St., is Kimpton's first Wisconsin hotel. The Third Ward hotel also has a cafe for breakfast, lunch and dinner that will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, a sidewalk patio and a private dining room that seats 18.
Hours for Tre Rivali are 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Kimpton, which has about 65 boutique hotels across the country, is opening eight properties this year. That includes the Gray in Chicago, expected to open by September.