For the 10th straight year, October is Dining Month on OnMilwaukee, presented by the restaurants of Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, dining guides, delectable features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food, as well as voting for your "Best of Dining 2016."
Next time you plan a day to peruse the boutiques in the Third Ward, it's worthwhile to consider starting your day with brunch at Tre Rivali. A relative newcomer to the area, Tre Rivali is located just inside the Kimpton Journeyman Hotel, offering up a comfortable, but slightly upscale vibe.
The menu, designed by Chef Heather Terhune, offers up both classic and creative takes on breakfast fare from frittatas to breakfast pastries, waffles and French toast, along with savory options like breakfast pizza, burgers and a baked pita with hummus and soft cooked egg.
Brunch hours: Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Atmosphere: Tre Rivali is cozy with comfortable seating, plenty of natural light and a glass window through which you can glimpse the workings of the kitchen. In fact, once you’re seated and partaking in the bustle of brunch, with diners sauntering in and out of the space, you’d almost forget you were in a hotel restaurant. Almost.
On our visit, the brunch menu did not come with options for brunch drinks. However, according to our server, the bar is able to accommodate most requests. So, if there’s no beverage menu on your visit, be sure to ask!
Mimosa: The servings of this brunch cocktail staple are ample. Flavors were nicely balanced and the cocktail was pleasantly effervescent. That said, my dining companions and I went back and forth about whether or not it contained "enough" sparkling wine. But, let’s be honest, is there ever enough sparkling wine?
Bloody Mary: Tre Rivali makes a fine bloody. It was light, refreshing and not too salty. It also had a nice kick, a boon for those who like a bit of spice.
We started with the monkey bread ($8), which was was sweet and cinnamony with tender dough and a nice crisp sugar coating that was enhanced by intermittent flakes of sea salt.
Among the items we ordered, there were three that stood out. The Spanish style tortilla ($13) was delicious. Although thinner than an authentic tortilla, this breakfast item conjured the spirit of the original with layers of potatoes and onions. Topped with eggs, it was like a complete breakfast dish all in one.
On the sweeter side, the mascarpone-stuffed brioche French toast ($11) was everything you’d expect. Tender battered toast was enhanced by the slightly sweet, creamy filling and accompanied by fresh strawberries. It’s flavorful enough to be eaten on its own; but the addition of a bit of the accompanying maple syrup isn’t a bad idea at all.
The most popular item at our table may have been the Tuscan Chicken Fritte, which offered up true comfort fare at its finest. The boneless fried chicken was tender and juicy. The rosemary biscuits were divinely fluffy. And the peppery sausage gravy was simply the icing on the cake.
Misses: One thing we did not love was the coffee. We didn’t ask what brand they were serving, but no one at our table seemed to take much joy from it. In a city filled with numerous talented roasters, we all agreed there were far better cups to be had elsewhere.
Service: Our server was friendly, knowledgeable and attentive, answering myriad questions about the menu and ensuring we had everything we needed.
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.