I had a request recently for a few Kansas City, MO restaurant recommendations. In 2010, I spent six months there and was able to eat pretty well, so here’s what I’ve got:
Kato Sushi – I had an absolutely disgusting amount of sushi from this place…it was a once a week (at least) stop for me. Lots of those chef’s special rolls that I’m a fan of. There’s a few of them on their website, and more on their daily board at the restaurant. Also good – KC Sushi, Moonlight Sushi, and Wasahi Sushi, but they were farther away from where I was living.
Bristol Seafood Grill – Something of a chain (four in the area, and two sister restaurants in seven other cities), but they have a huge brunch buffet, which includes a Bloody Mary bar. Dinner there wasn’t bad either…especially their Seared Ahi Tuna.
Blanc Burgers + Bottles – Wow…their burgers are so good (for example, the American Kobe, with port wine onions, truffle butter, mustard aioli, and watercress on a salt and pepper brioche bun). They also have EIGHT different boozy shakes (like the Bananas Foster one – 99 Bananas, sauteed bananas, brown sugar, 151, and vanilla custard), and these excellent locally-made sodas called SodaVie (I was a huge fan of the Citrus Chili and Thai Basic Clove flavors) which they also add into cocktails.
Tannin Wine Bar and Kitchen – This place had a different name when I was there (JP Wine Bar and Bistro), but I get the impression that it’s probably the same place based on the look, the fact that it’s still a wine bar, and because JP’s URL sends me to Tannin’s site. Tasty food and good wine (and scotch).
Oklahoma Joe’s – The award-winning barbeque place that you MUST visit. In a gas station. With what seems to be a never-ending line. Look past both of those facts and order yourself a Z-Man Sandwich (slow-smoked beef brisket, smoked provolone cheese, crispy onion rings, all on a kaiser roll).
Really sad about this one…R Bar and Restaurant was hidden in West Bottoms in an industrial area…live jazz bands and excellent food (Bone Marrow Risotto comes to mind) and cocktails (I think I had my first Moscow Mule here, and they had a bunch of house inventions). Apparently they closed. If I owned a bar, this is what I’d want it to look like.
A few upscale places:
Bluestem – This place was excellent. I got their ten course tasting menu with pairings when I was there (I was a fan of the torchon de foie gras with brandied apple butter, stout ice cream, and pecans, paired with a glass of Heinz Schmitt Riesling Auslese).
The American Restaurant – Top-notch fine dining by Executive Chef Debbie Gold, a James Beard award winner and Top Chef Master. I had some amazing duck breast as a part of their seven-course tasting menu.
Michael Smith Restaurant – Michael Smith and Debbie Gold were the husband-and-wife chef team over at The American Restaurant. In 2002, they left to open 40 Sardines, until they divorced in 2007. Gold went back to The American, while Michael Smith went on to open his own restaurant. This is another great spot if you’re looking to try a top tier tasting menu (best is Smith’s six-course, which was, naturally, the one that I got).
If you haven’t been to KC before, check out the Power & Light District‘s nightlife…it’s like a mall…of bars and clubs. Also, check out the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The building itself is worth going to see.
Thanks, Ben! Will definitely use these on my next trip to KC!
Happy to help!