Wednesday, January 30, 2013

First Weekends in the West Bottoms? Lunch at Genessee Royale Bistro

Strangers to the West Bottoms can be forgiven for wondering whether this part of Kansas City is in its ascent or descent. A hulking, mostly idle Kemper Arena and block after block of seemingly empty warehouses and former stockyard buildings suggest the area is well past its prime. The closing of R Bar last year was a tough blow to those of us that liked to eat there and were rooting for the neighborhood.

There is life here however. Fortunately for you and me the West Bottoms has become an outpost for a small but growing number of pioneering artists, entrepreneurs and restauranteurs. My favorite among them is the Genessee Royale Bistro.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

New York Times Features Alex Pope of Local Pig

Hot on the heels of a front page article in the Wall Street Journal, local chef and butcher Alex Pope is featured in a New York Times piece on butchers who are eager to teach the public their craft.

Alex is the owner of Local Pig, an amazing little butcher shop in the East Bottoms. I'll provide more details on my experiences there in a future post.

Both recent articles reminded me that I was lucky enough to attend one of Alex's early classes where he taught the art of butchering a hog's head.

Photos from that class follow but some are not for the faint of heart...

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Drink This: Prohibition Presidente at The Drum Room

Wandered into The Drum Room bar (in the President Hotel) after a dinner at nearby Webster House Saturday night. Our group of four needed a spot to have a drink or two and finish an evening of stories and laughs. The ladies ordered wine from a respectable list while the gents opted for cocktails. Like so many bars with handcrafted cocktails the list is populated with riffs on old standards tricked up with fresh ingredients and clever names. Befitting a bar in The President Hotel, many of their drinks have names that nod to former American Presidents. We started with Ford's Bramble Tonic ($8.50)  Billed as "President's Ford's Favorite" this was a mix of Pinckney Gin, Lemon Juice, Tonic, Homemade Tonic Syrup and Fresh Blackberries. Solid drink. No complaints.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Café Sebastienne - Restaurant Week

Just a quick look at what Café Sebastienne was offering for Restaurant Week lunch.

Two Courses for $15. Can't go wrong.

Tomato Bisque 
Roasted Butternut Squash Carbonara 
Smoked Crimini Mushrooms, Peas, 
Sun-dried Tomatoes, Pecorino 
Salad with Apples, Roquefort, 
Candied Pecans, Buttermilk Dressing 

Braised Beef Ragu Creamy Polenta, 
Fried Shallots, Red Wine Rosemary 

Kansas City Restaurant Week - So Many Tables

Just a quick update... with four days left in Kansas City Restaurant Week there are an amazing number of reservations available at some very good local establishments.

A quick Open Table search for a table for four at 7:30 PM tomorrow (Friday) night turned up dozens of available seatings between 7:00 PM and 8:00 PM.

Three courses for $30 at every participating restaurant.

Get it!

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Second Best Reason to Eat (Soon) at Room 39

If you're at all like me you have a  list of area restaurants you keep meaning to visit but every time you go out they slip your mind and you wind up elsewhere. For me Room 39 fits squarely in that category. There's certainly no good reason to not eat here. There are many, many reasons to do so. So what motivated Shelly and I to brave the wind, the cold, and the (mis)forecast snow last night for a quiet meal at Room 39 in Midtown? A coupon. Now I'm not what anyone would consider a coupon guy, but when a $60 for $30 Google Offer from Room 39 landed in my inbox it became a string around my finger, the reminder to eat well. 

You can still get yours if you act soon. You'll need to buy it from Google by end of day Tuesday January 15th and use it before March 28th. Follow this link...

Friday, January 11, 2013

(Still) Crushing on Cafe Provence

I have a crush on Cafe Provence. I wanted to get that out of the way lest my readers start developing their own theories about my relationship with this Prairie Village gem.

It started several years ago when my wife and I wandered into this relatively obscure little French restaurant for lunch. Shelly and I have always been fans of eating out but we never (honestly, never) made any single restaurant a habit. So we certainly weren't looking for anything like that when we ventured out for lunch that day. A lot has happened between then and now, not the least of which is the fact that we eat at Cafe Provence almost once a week.  Usually for lunch but also for an occasional dinner.

So, generally I have a lot of great things to say about this place.  But know this... I don't love it because I eat there every week.  I eat there every week because it is an exceptional restaurant.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Kansas City Restaurant Week is Just Around the Corner

Here's your chance to fight hunger and dine at a lot of great Kansas City restaurants for not a lot of money. During Kansas City Restaurant Week (January 18 - 27, 2013) participating restaurants will be offering special multi-course prix fixe menus. Lunches are $15 and Dinners are $30. Hard to beat that.

Kansas City Restaurant Week was created by the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association and the Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association in an effort to support the local restaurant community spanning both sides of the Missouri and Kansas border. 2010 marked the inaugural year for the 10-day event, designed to spotlight Kansas City as one of the country's premier dining destinations and in partnership with Harvesters – The Community Food Network, to fight hunger in the Kansas City area. The event also benefits The Kansas City Regional Destination Development Foundation and The Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association Education Foundation, both nonprofit organizations helping to advance culinary education and the restaurant and tourism industries in Kansas City. Kansas City Restaurant Week featured 127 area restaurants in 2012 and raised $143,000 for Harvesters, translating to 700,000 meals served to the hungry in the Kansas City metro area.

Conveniently Open Table has a special reservation page just for this event.

Need some suggestions? Just short-listing here, but these are a few participating places I've been liking recently:
  • Affäre
  • Louie's Wine Dive (No Open Table)
  • Rye
Seriously, check out the full list.  There's some great ones!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

First Impressions - Bier Station Opens in Waldo

Billed as the Midwest's first craft beer tasting bar/bottle shop Bier Station recently opened in Waldo. The idea here is to have a combination tasting bar/bottle shop in a blended pub/retail environment.

First impressions: Clever concept for real beer lovers. Feels a little weird waiting in line at the bar to pay for a can of beer.

As its name implies this is a place for beer lovers. They maintain 21 beers on tap and many, many more are available in cans and bottles. Bottles and cans can be purchased to go as well. Prices are typical of what you'd find at a good beer store. Tap selection is varied and will please all but the tamest (read: Bud Light lovers) beer tastes. 

The setup is very different than what you're likely used to. Upon entering Bier Station you have two basic choices:

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

First Impressions - Rye Opens in Leawood

Rye's open kitchen. The copper-topped table in the
foreground will eventually host Chef's Table seating.
Colby and Megan Garrelts' much anticipated Rye opened last week. Opening week (or month) is arguably the worst time to visit a restaurant. More often than not the menus aren't fixed, the servers are confused and everyone is still bumping into each other in the kitchen. So we arrived Saturday night full of anticipation tempered with realistic expectations.

It was a Saturday night and at 7:00 PM the place was pleasantly packed, full of energy and bustle. It's a handsome space - exuding a subtle masculinity that feels warm and timeless.

It's always fun to watch pro's in action.  Throughout the evening Colby and Megan could variously be seen greeting old friends, gently guiding the staff, or whispering to each other in the corners always keeping an eye on the place like protective parents watching a child at the playground from afar.

First impression: It was the best opening week meal I can remember. Don't wait to visit.

A few more details and photos...