SAMA's Hops Building, one of the spaces behind the museum's main building, has seen many a tenant. There was Wild Beast by the Empty Stomach Group, La Boulangerie and most recently Sketch at the Museum, a concept by CommonWealth CoffeeHouse and Bakery, in 2016.
And now there's Tre Trattoria.
The decade-old restaurant moved from its original location at the Boardwalk on Broadway to the Hops Building as of this past weekend. Chef Jason Dady first announced the move after some sales tax sleuthing by the Current.
"After almost a decade at Broadway and Hildebrand, we have found a new home. We are beyond excited to be a part of the River Reach project and also be able to stay close to our very loyal clients that have made Tre Trattoria an amazing place for so long. We do not anticipate much of a break in business and are excited to begin a new chapter in the Tre story. I’ve always said that restaurants have expiration dates and you have to know before it expires to switch it up, freshen it up and stay focused on the future."
The move was fairly swift, and Tre was relocated within two weeks of its closing date at the Boardwalk.
The new space takes the Hops building and pushes its boundaries unlike the other pop-ups ever truly did. There's certainly a lot more capital being funneled into Tre at the Museum — it looks like an actual restaurant. The interior now features a dining bar (or an Aperol spritz bar if you're feeling sassy), and plenty of indoor seating which serves as refuge from the hot Texas summers. But once the sun sets, the patio also offers up a casual and bucolic option with views of the San Antonio Riverwalk Museum Reach and all its flora/fauna. It's comfortable enough to luxuriate in and while away an afternoon over tapas with their Summer in Spain museum menu, or an Italian cheese and salumi board.
On the eats side of things, Tre's former menu is reflected, which means you can still score a variation on gnocchi and the golden beets aren't going anywhere.
During a lunchtime visit this week, we ordered the aforementioned Aperol Spritz, and ordered the tomato Caprese with fresh mozzarella and basil oil as well as the "deviled eggs" to start. The kitchen (yes, there's a full blown kitchen) delivered with a sweet, slow-roasted tomato and plenty of basil and sent out a Tuscan farro salad with fresh mint, a fluffy topping of Parmigiano-Reggiano and walnut vinaigrette. The Parmigiano-Reggiano rained over the softboiled eggs topped with kewpie mayo (a Dady staple), fresh cracked pepper and white truffle oil. Decadent, fun, and extremely flavorful.
The crispy-skin rainbow trout, topped with a zesty salsa verde, made its way to the museum and for good reason. The smoked gouda radiatore, which get their name because they resemble radiators (but also resemble cute, springy squat Koosh balls), featured all the the best ingredients (smoked gouda, white truffle, brown butter cauliflower, charred lemon and hazelnuts) in one comforting dish full of texture and depth of flavor.
Though we chose to spend a languid hour (ish), our starters and entrees came out of the kitchen readily so Downtown office workers or museum visitors can spend their lunch at Tre without worrying about making it back to the office in time.
With Tre at the Museum, Dady and co. are entering catering a new audience (that they're more familiar with at Range), while also hoping their core Boardwalk audience makes the 3-mile hop-skip to the San Antonio Museum of Art. They should, and newcomers to Tre should, too.
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