Restaurant Week Kansas City, January 21-30

January 19, 2011 at 12:50 pm Leave a comment

Kansas City’s second annual Restaurant Week starts on Friday and continues through the end of the month. More than 100 restaurants are participating for lunch and/or dinner. At lunch two courses will be served for $15 and at dinner 3 for $30. Diners will have a choice of several appetizers, entrees and desserts, but be forewarned that it will be a limited menu. Check out Restaurant Week’s website where most restaurants have posted the menu they will be serving. Restaurants typically offer a combination of dishes that are normally featured and some that have been created just for this event.

Restaurant Week was originally devised during  the 1992 Democratic Convention in New York City. For an interesting account of what its goals are and what has been accomplished in NYC, click here. As the story suggests, it’s a terrific way for restaurants to promote themselves and for diners to try a restaurant that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford (or several, judging from the way in which some diners attack the Week, trying one or two a day to take advantage of the great offers).

But I found out this week that it’s also a way for restaurants to kick it up a notch and showcase their chefs’ talents.  As a promotion for Restaurant Week, I did a dine-around of three restaurants in one evening (yes, I’m still full). I would have expected the Melting Pot to highlight their traditional fondues, and they will. Cheese, meat and chocolate fondues will all be featured on their Restaurant Week menu. By the way, if you haven’t been recently, the service there is outstanding, and what could be better than a bottle of wine and some cheese fondue in the dead of winter?

I was astonished though, by what we ate at the Blue Moose Grill in Prairie Village and the 75th St. Brewery. Originally disappointed in my assignment, I was thinking that a trip to one of our city’s  upscale restaurants would be more up my alley. I love nachos or burger as much as the next girl, but I was hoping to sample dishes that were more creative. And boy, did I.  Ryan Sneed, Executive Chef for the KC Hopps restaurants, knows a thing or two about cooking and it was anything but typical bar food.

At Blue Moose we split lump crab cakes that had very little filler (they are always on the menu), and Hangar Steak with horseradish mashed potatoes and chimmichurri sauce ( a special entrée for RW). The steak was  incredibly tender and flavorful, with the vibrant green sauce as a lovely complement. We finished with warm apple pie, topped with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with caramel sauce. Not bad at all…..

75th St. Brewery was just as enlightening. We started with a Duck Brioche topped with foie gras (!), and finished off with whipped cauliflower and a marionberry reduction. Sounds more like the American or Michael Smith, doesn’t it? Had I had this dish at either of those restaurants I would have been impressed. And the Rosemary Roasted Chicken with crispy Yukon potatoes was better than a similar dish I had last week at a fancy restaurant in Aspen.

Before we waddled out, we took a few bites of a very dense chocolate tort, just the way I love it. (The rest is now sitting in my freezer, I couldn’t bare to leave it behind.)

Chef Ryan says their patrons don’t expect this kind of food at his restaurants and he likes to surprise them. He certainly succeeded.

The takeaway from my evening was that in your quest to sample the fare that RW offers, don’t overlook the more casual spots. If my experience was any indication, you won’t be disappointed.

Reservations can be made directly at each restaurant or through Open Table.

Ten percent of the proceeds will go to Harvesters, to help fight hunger, so you’ll be doing good while eating well.

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Entry filed under: food, restaurants.

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