Aria has Classic Fare and Fancy Digs
Breakfast and lunch staples are set against a beautiful art collection.
Aria, Saint Kate hotel’s all-day café, surprised us with its basic down-to-earth menu. But that was just one note in a recent trip to the hotel and the restaurant. Saint Kate has more than fulfilled the glowing expectations that preceded its opening as an “Arts” hotel. Prior to our brunch at Aria, my companions and I ogled the art on the first floor, where everywhere we looked, there was something to look at. Since we had neglected to make a reservation at Aria, a wise idea if you are coming for Sunday Brunch, we had time to linger, and linger we did. We found ourselves surrounded by a celebration of the arts. The beautiful space was filled with an eclectic collection of thoughtfully placed paintings and sculptures.
Aria, loosely translated as “Air,” has replaced the former Kilowat on the hotel’s second floor. It’s stunning, classy, elegant, and like the rest of the hotel, exuberant with art. Light flows from oversized north-facing windows giving the restaurant a lovely daytime glow, even on a snowy afternoon. We were seated by one of those giant windows. We watched as a February storm left everything coated in white.
The menu, a classic midwestern collection, included Blueberry Granola Pancakes, Eggs Benedict, and the current rage, Avocado Toast, basic breakfast entrees, nothing froufrou, a pared down collection of comfort foods.
My companion found the Eggs Any Style with Usinger’s Bacon, breakfast potatoes, and toast, exactly as the dish should be. Her bacon, thick and crisp, the potatoes crunchy outside, soft inside, and the eggs, once-over-easy, done correctly. The Wisco Omelet, not your average cheese omelet, combined 2-year Cheddar, Gruyere, Smoked Gouda, and griddled Ham. And the Corned Beef Hash, caramelized onions and two poached eggs, with the exception of a couple of small bits of potato, was all chunks of corned beef, tender, juicy, perfect. The hollandaise added a suggestion of mustard, while grill marks on the rye toast hinted of time on the grill. When we asked about the marks, our server said the chef grilled the rye toast for the hash, an extra that gave an unexpected smoky flavor to the dish. As for the sourdough, and English muffins, they were toasted by our server, adding an additional layer to her excellent service.
At brunch, Aria also offered several lunch entrees, Roasted Chicken Cobb Salad, Flaked Salmon Salad, a Reuben, a Turkey BLT, and of course, a leftover from Kilowat, the Classic (Marc’s) Big Boy Burger.
To fill in the rest of the week, they serve dinner nightly, short ribs, steak, salmon, a couple of veggie entrees, and the Big Boy Burger, as well as an abbreviated special Theater Menu where diners choose a Starter, a Main, and Dessert.
Weekdays from 11:00-3:00 you’ll find the Lunch Combo; $12.00 buys soup or salad, plus a Reuben, a Turkey BLT, or Chicken Apple Salad on a croissant. You can also order Fish Tacos or the Daily Taco.
Don’t come to Aria looking expecting fancy food. What you will find is reasonably priced Midwestern food in a beautiful setting where the art, the cuisine, and the service are exceptional, just like the rest of the hotel.
- Location: 139 E. Kilbourn Ave.
- Phone: 414-270-4422
- Hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- Neighborhood:Neighborhood: Downtown, East Town, Juneau Town
- UM Rating: 4.25 stars (average of Yelp, Trip Advisor and Zomato)
The Saint Kate-Arts Hotel
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