The Kimpton’s rooftop venue, The Outsider, was the high-rise hot spot of summer 2016. It’s not difficult to see why: The space sports a sizable bar-lounge, whose retractable glass walls lead to a patio of umbrella-covered cushioned furniture, trellises, twinkling lights and the best design detail of all – the impeccable view. The Outsider’s menu of craft cocktails ($12-$15) is certainly geared to the well-heeled customer. My tangy, vodka-based “C.L.C.” was dominated by cilantro and orange bitters. It was a fine cocktail but it cost as much as one of Tre Rivali’s pizzas, which can be delivered (with 20 minutes notice) from the street-level resto kitchen. Beyond that, The Outsider serves its own snacks/small bites menu of balsamic onion dip with house-made chips ($9), a good seafood ceviche ($12), tuna tartare micro cones ($8 and tasty) and a trio of “jars” – we had chilled mussels in a spread of preserved lemon, pimento and olives served with warm toasted bread ($12). That, too, was a flavorful, spendy nibble. There’s definite style to the space, but is there substance to match?
Ann Christenson has covered dining for Milwaukee Magazine since 1997. She was raised on a diet of casseroles that started with a pound of ground beef and a can of Campbell's soup. Feel free to share any casserole recipes with her.