Kansas City Restaurant Recommendations

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.

Kato Sushi Takeout.

Kato Sushi Takeout.

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.

Duck Breast - part of my tasting menu at The American.

Duck Breast – part of my tasting menu at The American.

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).

And also…

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.

Power & Light's nightlife scene during the day is much less exciting, but you can see what it offers.

Power & Light’s nightlife scene during the day is much less exciting, but you can see what it offers.

I'm not sure what this was supposed to be, but the rest of the Nelson-Atkin's Museum is more awesome.

I’m not sure what this was supposed to be, but the rest of the Nelson-Atkin’s Museum is much more awesome.

Cocktails, week of 10 December 2012

Cachaça Sour

Cachaça Sour

3 oz. Pitú Cachaça
1 oz. lime juice
1 oz. simple syrup
1 egg white

Shook everything but the cachaça without ice.  Added the ice and cachaça and shook, then strained.  Nice and smooth.

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Strawberry's Revivial

Strawberry’s Revivial

1  1/2 oz. Bulleit Rye
3/4 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. strawberry simple syrup
1/2 oz. Lucid Absinthe
2 dash Angostura bitters

Shook all but the bitters with ice.  Double strained into a glass.  I think I’d like this better with a little less absinthe, although it grew on me…anise taste at the front, finishes with the strawberry.

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Fresa Catrina

Fresa Catrina

2 oz. Grand Patron Platinum Tequila (this is overdoing it, but it was the only silver I had)
1/2 oz. lemon juice
3/4 oz strawberry simple syrup
10 black peppercorns

Muddled the strawberry simple syrup and the peppercorns, then added the rest of the ingredients and shook over ice.  The Fresa Catrina was tasty…the pepper and the sweetness went really well together.

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King Vittorio's Cobbler

King Vittorio’s Cobbler

2 oz. Averna Amaro
3/4 oz. lemon juice
3/4 oz. strawberry simple syrup

Shook all over ice, double strained into a glass.  The strawberries mellowed out the bitterness of the Averna (which is already relatively mellow as far as Italian bitter liqueurs go).  I liked this one.  Simple and tasty.

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Lion's Tail

Lion’s Tail

2 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
3/4 oz. St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
1/2 oz. lime juice
1/2 spoonful of simple syrup
2 dash Angostura bitters

Shook all ingredients over ice, double strained into a glass.

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These cocktails were based on the recipes found at Cocktail Virgin:

Pisco Sour

Strawberry’s Revival

Fresa Catrina

King Vittorio’s Cobbler

The Lion’s Tail recipe was posted by Derek Brown of The Passenger and Columbia Room over at The Atlantic.

Fuego, 3 November 2012

Fuego Cocina y Tequileria is a new Mexican restaurant located where Harry’s Tap Room used to reside in Clarendon.  I dropped by there the other night to meet some folks for a birthday party, but after checking out their menu, I thought I should get some dinner there first.

First off, they’ve got some flavorful guacamole.

Some good, flavorful guac.

I went for three orders of soft corn tortilla tacos each ($7 / order of two).  The tacos at Fuego come with three salsas – rojo, habanero, and salsa verde – which went well with all the tacos I tried.

I got orders of the Lengua (slow braised beef tongue), Al Pastor (spit roasted marinated pork and pineapple serrano salsa), Birria (Jalisco-style roasted goat), and Pollo (chicken tinga, shredded lettuce, queso fresco).  The vegetarian I was eating with got the Calabaza version (Yucatán-style roasted squash and spicy pickled red onions).

Beef Tongue Tacos…so good.

Goat Tacos…

Round three – pork and chicken tacos.

To not overdo the taco theme of the evening (although they were all quite tasty – especially the beef tongue), I next ordered the Ceviche de Pescado (Tilapia, habanero, red onion, fresh lime).

Closing it out with a good ceviche.

Fuego offers three-glass flights from their extensive menu of over 110 tequilas.  This time around, I went with a flight of blanco, reposado, and añejo Chinaco.

Substantial amount of tequila options…according to a tweet I received from @FuegoCocina, they’ve got over 110 of them.

Also, great specialty tequila cocktails.  Try the Mala Suerte (habanero infused tequila, triple sec, grapefruit juice, lime juice) or the Gherkin Fresca (Sauza Blue Silver, Hendricks, jalapeño simple syrup, cucumber-lime agua fresca – has a great, fresh, cucumber-y taste).

Mala Suerte…

…and the Gherkin Fresca

I’ll be trying out some of the rest of the menu next time I drop by…I expect it’ll be good.

AGAINN Closing…

I was sorry to read this morning that AGAINN will be closing.  I’m always sad to hear of good places shutting their doors.

I wrote a post about AGAINN a couple of months ago, and since then I had been there for another dinner and a scotch tasting with a selection of their food, both of which were great.

Here’s a few more recent photos from the restaurant.

The Warehouse No. 1, with blood orange and basil-infused Stoli Premyr, Aperol, agave nectar, celery, and Maraschino liqueur. Great cocktail.

 

I wish I remembered what this was….I’m remembering it as ceviche-like. It was recently added to their menu when I last went there, and it was good.

 

The Corned Beef Sliders on super buttery buns. These were excellent.

 

AGAINN had changed the menu up and removed the Pork Belly and Cracklin, which was excellent, but had a new pork belly dish, which came with (I believe) crispy kale. It was good, although I missed that apple mash and black pudding in the previous version.

Another new addition to the menu whose name escapes me. Was a sort of pudding drenched in a scotch sauce (I think). Also good stuff. Couldn’t decide whether I liked this or the Sticky Toffee Pudding more.

 

Lightfoot, 21 October 2012

I’d been to the Lightfoot Restaurant once before about a year ago, and had been meaning to get back there for more.  It’s a little bit of a hike to get out there – they’re located in downtown Leesburg – but well worth the trip.  I took the Ducati up Rt. 7 and parked a couple blocks away in the convieniently free parking garage (which DC and VA should get more of).  I couldn’t get a reservation on OpenTable, so I called to see if they had anything available.  They did, and mentioned their systems were down (a good to-know – always call a restaurant if you can’t get reservations online).  I showed up around 5 PM on a Sunday, and they had plenty of space available.  The restaurant is in the old Peoples National Bank of Leesburg, and some of the bank vaults play into their decor (there’s one in the bathroom, and the dials still work…I may or may not have been trying out the combo lock).

The outside of the restaurant.

Yep, really used to be a bank.

I got three of the same things I had ordered a year prior…I wanted to get a baseline for whether they were still as good as I remembered.

  • Chef Ingrid’s French Onion & Field Mushroom Soup – Best French Onion soup I’ve had.  Comes with croustade, Gruyère, goat cheese, Pecorino Romano, and truffle oil.
  • Fried Green Tomatoes – One of the restaurant’s signature dishes.  These are delicious…jalapeño cheddar cheese, sautéed shrimp, Szechwan chili cream.
  • Slow Braised Pork Shank – Lots of restaurants say their meat falls off the bone.  This literally did.  While Lightfoot provided me with what appeared to be a pretty sturdy knife for this entrée, it was entirely not needed.  The meat was served in a brandy glaze with broccolini and a delicious bread pudding filled with aged cheddar, apple wood smoked bacon, and fresh thyme.

Even if French Onion soup isn’t your thing, you should try this…it’s delicious.

Fried Green Tomatoes is one of the restaurant’s signature dishes, and for good reason. It has not at all changed a year later, and is just as good as the first time I tried it.

Gives Tommy Floramo’s a run for their money…this is the Pork Shank that falls off the bone. I had this the first time I went to Lightfoot, and when I asked for a recommendation, my server came right back to this one. Glad I did the repeat.

The first time I stopped in to Lightfoot, my dining companions and I also got the Peking Duck Quesadillas, Meatballs with Butternut Squash, Coconut Cream Cake with Chocolate Ganache, Pumpkin Brownie, Apple Raisin Cranberry Crisp, and the Yukon Potato Encrusted Halibut.  I’m not sure which of those were seasonal or no longer on the menu.  All of those dishes were great, though, and I’d expect that most of the offerings on the menu when you go would be as well.  Make the trip out to Leesburg and try them out…you won’t be disappointed.

 

 

Lightfoot Restaurant
11 North King Street
Leesburg, VA 20176
(703) 771-2233
lightfootrestaurant.com

Book on OpenTable – Diners’ Choice Winner (American)

New Additions…

I’ll be having one of these tonight while I see how many restaurant posts I’m behind on writing up.  The Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen appears to be a top-notch brew.  I had the Schlenkerla Weizen at LivingSocial for the Churchkey beer tasting back in July, and it was great…tasted of delicious bacon.  I picked up this brew, and a few others, over at Norm’s Beer and Wine in Vienna…good selection over there.

 

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen