I recently had a celebratory dinner at Michael Smith, and it was as enjoyable as I had hoped (it might have had something to do with the company, too). Though not crowded on a Tuesday night, enough tables were occupied that it didn’t feel as though we had the restaurant to ourselves, and we were fortunate to have a truly outstanding waiter.
Michael Smith, the restaurant, has been on the scene for a little more than 2 years, taking over the former Zin location. Michael Smith, the chef, was at The American and co-owned 40 Sardines before striking out on his own. In the transformation of the space, Smith has given it a warmer and more inviting ambiance. The white table cloths and beautiful white china signal special occasion, but the menu is not over the top in price or complexity (though hardly inexpensive either!). His use of the freshest ingredients is evident in every bite and each plate coming out of the kitchen is worth a picture. The sweet diver scallops with fresh corn and romesco sauce, and the eight hour pork roast with green onion risotto are among the highlights at this trendy spot. The only knock would be that some of the food can be too salty, as the scallops were on this visit.
Our waiter helped with the wine selection, a 2007 Penner Ash Rubeo from Oregon (an unusual Pinot Noir/Syrah blend) that went beautifully with all of our dishes. He also recommended to my husband, a pseudo-vegetarian, that he let the chef devise a special entree to suit his preferences. What emerged from the kitchen was beautiful and substantial, combining potato gnocchi with fresh vegetables and a vibrant Swiss chard pesto.
My only real disappointment was the bread. At such a fine restaurant, I think the bread should be out of this world. This was fine, I would guess the ciabatta rolls were from Farm to Market, but by evening they didn’t have that fresh- out- of- the-oven taste. And I can buy Farm to Market at the grocery store, so it wasn’t as special as the rest of the meal.
We ordered a cherry strudel to share, again on our waiter’s very enthusiastic suggestion. He did not lead us astray. The layers of very light pastry had a terrific sweet crunch, the cherries tasted like they had been picked hours ago, and the homemade almond ice cream was the perfect foil.
It’s really no surprise that Michael Smith is a past James Beard Award winner. He’s clearly one of Kansas City’s culinary stars.
1900 Main St.
Entry filed under: restaurants.