Treo3, a locally owned new restaurant in Rancho Santa Fe’s Del Rayo Village, is serving up a fresh and creative dining experience.
After many delays, Treo3 opened on Nov. 28 — admittedly a “weird” time to open a restaurant, in the midst of the holidays — but owner Budy Kubursi said business has grown through word of mouth. Last weekend, their tables were happily full on a Saturday night.
Kubursi moved to Rancho Santa Fe a year ago. An entrepreneur, he has invested in several restaurants around the world, but jumped at the chance to take over the space in Del Rayo Village.
“We want to become a part of the community,” said Kubursi, whose wife, Cynthia, handles the marketing and design.
Treo3, as the name hints, focuses on three areas: the restaurant, the bar and lounge, and their prepared foods section. The prepared foods section, starting in mid-January, will allow people to grab a high-quality meal to enjoy at home.
“We definitely think that the prepared foods will be a bonus for us and we’re looking forward to getting that going,” Kubursi said.
Treo3 has opened with a solid team in the kitchen, including Executive Chef Nicholas Garcia and Chef de Cuisine Justin Snyder.
Snyder started working in fine dining at George’s at the Cove before he attended the Ecole Nationale de Superieure de la Patisserie in France. He has been the lead pastry chef for “Top Chef” winner Michael Voltaggio’s restaurant Ink in Hollywood, and in Singapore was a pastry sous-chef for André Chiang’s André restaurant, named one of the top 50 restaurants in the world this year.
“Basically, we’re lucky to have him,” said Kubursi after listening to Snyder’s resume.
Garcia, who studied at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco has worked at restaurants in La Jolla and Alpine and met Snyder in the kitchen, forging a friendship and keeping in touch over the years. When this opportunity arose, he knew his friend Snyder would be a perfect fit.
“I’m very comfort food and classic, he’s more modern and different, so it works well; we complement each other,” Garcia said.
The result is real American cuisine — the flavors that diners are used to, but presented in a slightly different way.
“We want it to be a dining experience in which people leave here having learned something,” Snyder said.
The Treo3 mac and cheese stars bacon, scallion, cheddar Mornay sauce and truffle essence; the surf and turf features blackened pork belly, crispy octopus with Chino Farm corn and teriyaki mushrooms.
Salads, seafood, steaks and meat dishes can be paired either with familiar sides like mashed potatoes or the unique caramelized Brussels sprouts with an anchovy vinagrette and Parmesan cheese, the Treo3 spin on a Caesar salad.
The port-braised short ribs have been declared “amazing.” Kubursi loves the spicy Catalan shrimp.
On the dessert side, Snyder serves up some true treats such as a S’more with smoked ice cream, graham cracker tuile, 66 percent chocolate ice cream, marshmallow “ash,” chocolate “soil” and brûléed meringue. He makes all his own ice cream on site, resulting in confections such as Cherry Coke ice cream, Butterfinger banana, prickly pear and guava.
The chefs plan to mix up the menu frequently, as they believe strongly in the seasonality of the food — keeping things from being dull and boring, but keeping customer favorites around.
“We give the chefs a lot of flexibility to be creative and to come up with new ideas, to develop themselves, the concept and the ambiance,” Kubursi said.
The ambiance of Treo3 is modern and cool, and they are still adding finishing details. The build-out has been a lengthy process, originally set to finish in September. The former restaurant space was smaller and the Kubursis have opened it up to include a dining area, bar and lounge and a back area they will reserve for the prepared foods, wine dinners and tastings, and a possible oyster bar.
Touches of their signature orange are played up throughout the space and picked up in modern art on the walls. Furniture is still being brought in to create the comfortable, neighborhood spot where Kubursi hopes people will enjoy plates of unique tastes and feel like home.
Treo3 is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday. Visit treo3.com.