Beginning Monday, Jan. 17, there will be a brand new concept to enjoy at Crossroads Collective, 2238 N. Farwell Ave.
Dia Bom (which means "good day" in Portuguese) is the name of the innovative fusion concept headed up by Chef Ramses Alvarez, which will showcase a menu that combines modern Latin American cuisine with Japanese kushiyaki (skewered, grilled foods) and Chinese bao (dumplings).
A career of flavor
Alvarez is a seasoned chef who attended culinary school in Mexico City, launched his career in Chicago and got his start in Milwaukee working with Sandy D’Amato of Sanford and Coquette Cafe.
His resume includes work with the Bartolotta Restaurants, Mason Street Grill, Water Street Brewery and La Merenda. Most recently, Alvarez has worked as a consultant and private chef after being furloughed from his role as executive chef of Bistro 333 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.
“I’m very lucky to have had my private chef business take off,” says Alvarez. “I’m cooking the food that I love, and it’s given me the opportunity to be very creative. But there’s something I miss about working in a restaurant.”
Fusion, Ramses says, is in his blood. In fact the Dia Bom concept is driven by some of his earliest experiences as a chef, as well as the foods that he’s been privileged to cook throughout his career.
“When I was working with Sandy at Coquette, we would do different specials for the month; the dishes would be from different places like Korea or Mexico," he says.
"That was inspiring to me. We all had to do research about the cultures and cuisines that we were featuring. Sandy would tell us about his travels, and we would try to showcase items that were indigenous to the area.”
On the menu
That knowledge stuck with him. As he worked for different restaurants and traveled on his own, he gleaned inspiration from other chefs and restaurant experiences and the techniques and flavor profiles of those foods became part of his repertoire.
“When you cook global food, it’s important that you are respecting the foundations and place where that food comes from,” he says. “ So many foods have origins in other places. The bollilo roll used for tortas in Mexico is an influence from France. The French pate choux used for cream puffs is the same dough used for churros…”
Examples of the fusion he’s pulled together for the Dia Bom menu includes kushiyaki dishes like lobster enchilada rangoon (lobster, red mole, queso crema and tortilla); Korean shortrib (gochujang and beer braised ribs with kewpie slaw and peppers); togarashi crusted zucchini with tomato and lemongrass; and skewered chicken mole, which incorporates a mole recipe that Alvarez says he’s been making since he was 18 or 19 years old.
Meanwhile, bao are made with fillings including chorizo (with onion, queso fresco, yuzu avocado); red curry chicken (with shishitos and lemongrass); and ponzu shrimp with tomatoes and poblanos.
“It’s all about having fun and bringing love and passion to each plate,” says Alvarez. “I’m having fun playing with some of my favorite flavors and techniques, and I think that guests will have fun dining at Dia Bom. I mean, everything is more fun when it’s on a skewer.”
Dia Bom also won’t be the last concept that Alvarez unveils. Over the course of the next year, Alvarez says he has plans for two additional concepts: one at Flour & Feed Marketplace in Bay View and the other at Zocalo Food Park.
You can follow Dia Bom on Facebook.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.