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Affäre: An Affäre to Remember
"Affäre" is a Berlin-ish restaurant in the Crossroads District, located in the space formerly occupied by the fabulous Bar Natasha. I recently lunched there with several dear friends on a quiet Black Friday. We had a great time getting caught up, and liked the food quite a bit as well. It's a very welcoming space, a good addition to the neighborhood. It's interesting that there should be two German-themed restaurants so close to one another - the Austrian "Grunuaer" in the Freight House being the other. I hope they both can "make it"!
Generally I have a rule never to eat at a restaurant with an umlaut in its name, but this place merits making an exception. My trout was quite well prepared, though maybe it was a tad too buttery. And I love the purple potatoes that came with the dish.
Their signature cocktail is well worth a sip - or two. The "Affäre" has Pinckney Bend gin, Bitter Truth Violet, and Thatcher's Cucumber. Fantastic!
- Food and Dining
Cafe Trio: Was Papagallos, Then Cafe Trio, Now Moved
I retired for good on 1 September 2010 and no longer go to Kansas City. In May 2012 I was looking for a hotel for a colleague and noticed that the Cafe Trio had moved to the east side of the Country Club Plaza. I put the new address and web page here. I think a restaurant called the Graffiti Cafe had opened in the historic Congress Building location but is already out of business. Since I have not been to the new location, these are still the old pictures.
I go to Kansas City a few times a year on business but usually stay in Overland Park (south KC). There are many good restaurants there. Occasionally I stay near the Country Club Plaza. One of the good restaurants in that area was Papagallos in the Midtown area north of Country Club Plaza, located in the historic Congress Building at Broadway and Knickerbocker Place.
It had been a while (obviously like three years) since I had been to Papagallos. I convinced my colleagues to try it but when we got there it was now the Cafe Trio (and had been for ~2.5 years...how time flies). Of course, we decided to try the new restaurant and we were very glad we did. Although it was slow in coming, the food was outstanding and definitely worth the wait. If you have time for a leisurely meal, I highly recommend this restaurant. There is also a bar and entertainment on the weekends. Don't forget that there is free indoor parking too. Outdoor dining is available in the summer.
Favorite Dish: The roasted rack of lamb encrusted with a blend of spices and stone ground mustard was excellent. My Chicken Fontina was outstanding. However, you could get the Seafood Trio (salmon, prawns and scallops) with a side of delicious grilled vegetables and two people could have a feast for the price of one.
The Melting Pot: Let's Do Fondue!!!
How about some fondue? I heard many wonderful things about The Melting Pot, so my husband and I went here to celebrate our 5 year wedding anniversary and it was great! We called ahead for reservations, so we had our own private dining experience in a booth where no other patrons could see us, unless they were walking by, and if we wanted to we could have pulled the curtains so no one could have seen us.
We ordered the meal for two which comes with salads, a cheese fondue (we substitued the chocolate desert fondue instead) and a main course. You get to select the flavor of fondue for each of the courses. Each table has it's own cooking top, so you basically cook your own food.
Favorite Dish: We had teryaki sirloin, marinated chicken, and another marinated beef, since neither of us like seafood much. I think the meal usually comes with shrimp and fish. They were very accomodating when we asked for substitutions. Vegetables and mushrooms also come with the main course.
The dessert fondue was to die for! We chose the Yen Yang chocolate fondue. It was white chocolate and dark chocolate together in one pot, but the more you dip the more it mixes together. It came with fresh strawberries, pineapple, brownies, pound cake, cheesecake, and marshmallows for dipping.
The Grand Street Cafe: Fine dining in a casual setting
New Year's Eve's eve, we have a restaurant gift certificate that expires the next day, and Nancy and I would like to try a new eatery. So it's off to the Plaza area for dinner at the Grand Street Cafe.
Not having reservations, we are offered the opportunity to sit at a bar-like table overlooking the kitchen. It was fascinating watching these guys at work - they were absolutely flying about, but completely organized. We kept waiting for a collision that never happened. To add to the enjoyment, we had only to look to our left to see the beautiful Christmas lights of the Country Club Plaza.
What service! The amiable lady serving us was extremely knowledgable regarding the menu and the wine list, and other members of the wait staff were willing to come to our aid when needed.
Favorite Dish: I chose the maple-glazed duck, one of Grand Street Cafe's two signature dishes (the other being a humongous pork chop), a wise choice, indeed. Wonderful. It was served with broccolini and a zesty basmati rice/wild rice mixture. I was disappointed at the arrival of the French onion soup, seeing that it had only a small amount of grated cheese on it, but I quickly warmed up to the slightly sweet flavor.
Nancy had wild (as opposed to farm-raised) rainbow trout, accompanied by broccolini and polenta that included bits of sun-dried tomatoes, preceded by a Caesar salad. She was well satisfied with her selection.
Our server guided us to a cabernet sauvignon from the Russian River area of California, a perfect (for us, non-conoisseurs) accompaniment to the meal.
Avenues Bistro: Save room for desert!
I had a lunch of spinach salad that had strawberries, mandarin oranges and goat cheese. I also had a taste of my sister's sandwich of bacon, sliced apple, grilled onions and cheddar cheese.
Favorite Dish: I loved everything but particularly enjoyed the creme brulee bread pudding.
EXTRA VIRGIN: I’m Not That Kind Of Olive!
When one thinks of food and Kansas City, thoughts immediately go to barbeque. In fact, one of the four major American styles of barbeque originated in Kansas City – tomato and molasses figure heavily in most Kansas City sauces. But Kansas City is more than barbeque. One of the first chefs in Kansas City to win a prestigious James Beard award - for best chef in the Midwest – was Michael Smith. At the time, he was cooking at The American Restaurant atop the Crown Plaza with his ex-wife, Debbie Gold – who also was awarded a James Beard award. Together they opened a restaurant which did not succeed t he break up of their marriage – Ms Gold is back as the Executive Chef at The American. Michael gathered together many of the staff from his old restaurant -40 Sardines – and opened a new restaurant – Michael Smith – in the Crossroads Art District on 19th and Main – just north of the Union Station (and the Crown Plaza). Serving as a more informal sidekick, he and his new wife, Nancy Smith, present their version of an upscale tapas bar. I like the openness of the bar along with an open kitchen and nice outdoor seating when the weather allows. The food is very good - though tapas means small plates – and the selection of wine will keep you amused. The selection of tapas has been said by some to be too adventurous for Kansas City palates, but locals seemed to be appreciating the cuisine when I was there.
Favorite Dish: What I will remember best, however, is watching my beloved Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim knocking down the New York Yankees in one of the 2009 American League Championship Series games. Locals were merely amused by me, I think. The bartender later admitted he was about to turn the channel to a football game when he noticed that I was ‘involved’ with the baseball game;-}
Room 39: Tastey Seasonal and Local
If you are looking for a very good local and seasonal menu this is the place. The chef takes great pains to seek out and use the very finest local produce and the menu reflects this effort. It changes with the season and is always great.
The lunch there is in my opinion consistantly the best in town. While not what I would call inexpensive it is certianly not the most expensive. It is spotlessly clean and the staff is well trained and attentive.
If you seek to support local food eat here. The effort made to buy local is honest and the farm where your dinner came from is often on the menu. They walk the walk.
Favorite Dish: I have had the best salad here for lunch than anywhere else in town. I am an organic farmer and i could not have made a better one from my own garden.
Starker's REserve: Old Time Tradition of Country Club
This is one of my favorite places to eat. They feature quality and class. When I had a business expense account, this was the place to go spend
Favorite Dish: Steaks are fabulous, but they also have a number of other well prepared plates. The lamb and veal are always good and seafood is offered. Prices for entrees range $25-40, ala carte. The restaurant is not that big, so get reservations. It is some of the better prepared plates, and the chef has style and elegant class in presentations. Price may be out of range for a lot of people, but be select; it is worth the visit.
Fine Dining: Top End STuff
JJ's is one of the best restaurants in town for food quality and ambiance. Another is Starkers in Country Club Plaza area. JJ's is located at the Plaza also. The prices are $30-50 and the food is always very excellent. Club 427 is downtown and just another name with standard menu items to bring in the crowd. Food is okay. EBT can bust the budget, being probably the most expensive in town at $50-70. It is off I-435 at south end of town. Then there is the Union Cafe, trying to being people back into the old train station. It feels a bit stale to me, and always noisy. The ceilings are 60 feet and echos around the noise level. Prices are too high for the quality and value is not that good. Lastly, Savoy Grill is still being served by some waiters who have been there, I am sure for over 20 years. Food is pretty good, and you get a decent amount of it. Prices may run $30-40 normally. Try it just for seeing the unchanged decor dating back 40-50 years.
Tatsu's: Presenting the Fare for 20 years
The presentation and ceremony is better than the food, but on the other hand the food is not bad, just not enough. The place still tries to convey it has class, but is getting stale. A loyal following still does frequent, however.
Favorite Dish: Beef Bourginon was the better plates to purchase. It had more substance and about 5 pieces of meat to eat. The vegetables that came along with it were fine. Fish dishes and veal were like appetizer samples. Just not enough food for the average American glutton. The crab soup had about 1/2 ounce of crab in it, and the rest was like warm milk base.
Side salads cost around $9-12, and all appetizers are in range of $10-18. The main entrees were $25-35. Put it all together with a little wine and the average costs per person is $50-60
The Melting Pot: Fondue for Two!
The Melting Pot is a relaxed multiple-course fine dining experience. The help is attentive and the food is outstanding.
Favorite Dish: The spinach and artichoke cheese fondue is melt-in-your-mouth, scrape-the-bottom good. You get bowls of dippers such as green apples, three types of bread, and vegetables. You can get more and more bowls of dippers to dip until your hear's desire (or you've run out of cheese!). The banana foster's white chocolate fondue is a nice variation from traditional chocolate fondue. You can watch as your waiter sets the bananas on fire and pours blue glowing flames into your white chocolate fondue. You get a plate of desserts to dip such as cheesecake, poundcake, coated marshmallows, and fruit. The dippers are great desserts alone! This fondue is more subtle and less sweet than your traditional dessert fondue. I also had a chocolate martini. They dip the rim of the glass in their chocolate fondue and the rich goodness drips down into your drink. Every time you bring the glass to your mouth for a drink you get a coating of chocolate.
Le Fou Frog: The Crazy Frenchman
Another trip to Kansas City, another decadent lunch at Fou Frog with friends! I met colleagues from my days as a page at the Linda Hall Library (1988-90!) for a leisurely mid-day meal. This is a great place to linger over your meal and with a glass of French wine in front of you. Fou Frog - which has now been open in the burgeoning City Market neighborhood for almost a decade - is far from being stuffy or pretensious. The food is top-notch, but the setting and atmosphere is comfortable and informal. The menu regularly features a number of tradition beef and chicken favorates, but the real "catch" here are the fish and seafood specialties. The wine list is very good, with a number of reasonably priced vintages as well as some more expensive "classics." Think "White Burgundy"!
Favorite Dish: Any of the daily seafood specialities can be recommended - and the bouillabaisse is usually excellent.
Aixois: Straight from Southern France to Brookside
The name "Aixois" comes from the home town of the maitre chef, Aix-en-Provence. He's opened an authentic bistro in the Aix style here, and it's become one of my favorite places in K.C. You'll love the seafood specialties here, prepared in delectable "southern french" manner that will put you in the mood of Provence. They have a full menu - salads, poultry, usually some kind of game dish - but I always eat seafood here, and I've never been disappointed. On a pleasant day, it's quite nice to sit outside on the patio overlooking Brookside Boulevard. Good wine list, too.
Cafe Sebastienne - at the Kemper Museum: The Art of Fine Dining
One of my favorite restaurants in K.C, I love both the food and the ambience. Interesting food well-prepared - with a touch of Alice Waters influence. Good wine list. the decor is delightful even if your are not a big fan of contemporary art. The walls of the main dining room are covered with amusing caricatures of well-known paintings, everything from Mona Lisa to Nighthawks to Andy Warhol's soup can.
- Food and Dining
Rozelle Court: Prettiest Restaurant
Located within Kansas City's world class art museum, the Nelson-Atkins Gallery is the Rozelle Court Restaurant, a local favorite spot for lunch. Lighter fair prevails, but you can always find something interesting and tasty. Well known for unique salads, quiche, that sort of faire. It's a popular destination for Sunday brunch.
Fashioned after an Italian courtyard, the Rozelle has been called "the prettiest restaurant in the midwest" by Travel Holiday * magazine. Live music (usually jazz) on Friday evenings - the only night the restaurant is open, and during the Sunday brunch (usually chamber music.)
Favorite Dish: It's been a long time since I last ate at the Rozelle, so I don't remember the food as much as the ambience.
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