TRES Tempe blends Mediterranean, Southwest influences SanTan Sun News

TRES Tempe blends Mediterranean, Southwest influences

September 16th, 2018 | by SanTan Sun News
TRES Tempe blends Mediterranean, Southwest influences
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By David M. Brown, Contributor

Customers are saying TRES Tempe is, in French, “très bien” — very good.

Spanish for “three,” “TRES” opened in February next to the Hilton Garden Inn and Home2 Suites on Elliot and Loop 101, a half-mile south of Guadalupe Road at 7192 S. Price Road.

Mediterranean/Southwestern fusion with an emphasis on combined textures, TRES Tempe isn’t a traditional hotel restaurant.

The one-off venue is conveniently adjacent to upscale accommodations but already has become a destination for residents as well as workers from the Discovery Center business park next to it. The hotel crowd represents just part of their expanding clientele.

The decor is crisp contemporary industrial, with exposed trusses, concrete and stone, and white and black finishes for elegance and warmth.

The concept began with the ownership company, Syracuse, New York-based Widewaters Group, a vertically integrated real estate company that manages hotels and restaurants nationwide.

The plan is fulfilled locally by the team led by general manager Jason Pohlman, who crafted the specialty cocktails menu, and Chef Steven Zimmerman, who created the menus for the food, including desserts.

“The TRES concept was developed internally a few years back,” said Daniel Ambron, company vice president. “Through the collaborative efforts of our TRES Tempe team and our team in Syracuse, we were able to bring those ideas to life in a truly outstanding fashion.”

This is the company’s first theme restaurant in Arizona but not its first restaurant.

“We manage all of our hotel restaurants as if they were stand-alone operations and manage another restaurant in Frederick, Maryland, a sports bar adjacent to our Hampton Inn, The Beacon,” Ambron said.

TRES is structured with three kinds of plates: small, medium and large.

“Enjoy an item alone or share it with friends and family,” said Pohlman, noting that the artisan meats and cheeses are similarly arranged.

“I got my hospitality roots through the ‘Aloha spirit,’ which is a true and genuine care for people,” he said. He often will go table to table, checking on guests in addition to ensuring that the food is coming out from the kitchen fresh, hot and correctly prepared.

The tasting plates offer great variety. Two of the everyday salads have varying ingredients: the Mediterranean Salad, with feta, Qcom olives, toasted almonds and oregano vinaigrette, and the South of the Border Caesar, including pepitas, cotija and pico de gallo.

And, there’s a daily market salad, which changes based on chef’s choice of the ingredients he finds most fresh and flavorful in the marketplace.

The Southwestern-inspired tomato masa soup combines grilled chicken, pico de gallo, jack cheese, tortilla strips and cilantro. Italian inspired, the Brussels sprouts carbonara has bacon, prosciutto, cream and fried onion streusel.

Also for starters are four flatbreads. One, the Pork Trifecta includes three cheeses, Fontina, mozzarella and Parmesan, and a Moroccan spice, ‘nduja, Spanish chorizo and fig marmalade.

The medium entrée plates offer an opportunity for sharing. “After all, that is what TRES is all about: bringing people together and taking care of our customers,” Pohlman said. “We want to be ‘Cheers’ and ‘Everyone knows your name.’”

After working for different Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion restaurants for 12 years, Pohlman was the general manager at SumoMaya in Scottsdale for three years. “I just love making people happy, and that is the real reason I am in the restaurant business.”

Middle plates range from the Arizona Harvest Salad, including Willcox apples, Valley citrus and raisins, to a bone-in ribeye with a dry spice rub and charred asparagus.

The most popular dishes are the crunchy shrimp lettuce cups, with the many textures and tastes of jicama slaw, pico de gallo, cotija, pickled jalapeños and a chipotle aioli. And, the Moroccan spiced pork wings, with honey harissa, goat horn chilis and Point Reyes blue cheese is marquee.

The large sharing plates are a Paella Valenciana, Canoe Bone Beef Osso Buco and a Double Bone Pork Tomahawk, sage rubbed. Zimmerman also creates a Daily Market Feast to his inspiration.

A St. Louis native with 27 years in the industry, Zimmerman joined Widewaters Hotels in 2017 after working at several top restaurants and resorts across the country, including as executive chef at the Valley’s Sheraton Crescent and Wyndham Phoenix Hotel and, prior to that, the Lodge of Four Seasons in Lake Ozark, Missouri.

“I’ve always loved ethnic foods, farm-to-table cooking and seasonal ingredients,” said Zimmerman, who moved to the Valley 18 years ago.

Mediterranean and Southwestern share ingredients such as chiles and tomatoes, herbs and spices for zesty, intense flavors, chef explained. He gained his love for the Southwest living here.

“My mentor at the Lodge of Four Seasons was Andre Torres, a chef from Algeria with an international resume. I participated in the Culinary Olympics with him back in 1988,” he said. “And, my sister has a house in Spain. I love that region of the world.”

TRES is open for lunch and dinner, Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to midnight; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for a sit-down brunch and until 9 p.m. for dinner.

Special to the San Tan Sun News

TRES Tempe chef Steven Zimmerman created the menus, including desserts, and has joined the Chandler restaurant after nearly three decades at other high-end resorts and eateries across the country.

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