Posts tagged ‘cocktails’

Tavern in the Village

After two pleasant visits to Tavern in the Village, the new hot spot in Prairie Village, it would seem that owner Kelly Manning has a winning formula.  He’s worked in the PB& J restaurants, at Houston’s and Morton’s, so he has a solid pedigree. The Tavern is a comfortable place, with well-spaced tables, spacious booths and nice lighting. It’s family friendly, and on both occasions the service was competent. The menu, which is the same at both lunch and dinner, has a broad range of options, including chicken tacos, creole pasta,fresh fish, grilled pork chops and steaks, as well as a dozen salads and sandwiches. And, in keeping with Manning’s plan to attract repeat business, prices are reasonable.

I enjoyed both the Santa Fe chicken salad and the Asian tuna salad.  However, each of them, as well as the soup and salad combo, come with a very average roll on the edge of the bowl. There’s something about the rationing and presentation that rubs me the wrong way. A bread basket is much more gracious.

The chicken nachos were an interesting appetizer, displayed as individual nacho pizzas with black beans, charred corn, pico de gallo and a goat cheese sauce on saucer-sized tortillas. Pretty as well as tasty, and certainly not an appetite-killer as some nacho platters tend to be. The upscale chicken tacos are also a bundle of flavor, served with a bowl of black beans to make it a complete meal.

I have yet to try the entrees, but I did get a look at their presentation during a recent tasting event. All of the dishes looked quite substantial and are accompanied by whipped potatoes and green beans or asparagus.

And head bartender David Smuckler knows what he’s doing–he was the Greater Kansas City Bartending Competition Champion of 2007. The cocktails are creative, employ many ingredients I’ve never heard of,  and have some fun names, like Thai Tavern Julep, Rosemary Monk, and Peach New Fashion. Being more of a wine snob than a cocktail maven, I was delighted to see Orin Swift’s The Prisoner on the wine list. Did I order it at $78 a bottle? No, but it’s an indication that wine is not an afterthought.

Judging from the crowds, it would appear that the Tavern achieves its goal of being a neighborhood restaurant with broad appeal. The concept is safe which, in this economy, is probably smart.  And it’s been packed since day one, with families and couples young and old, most of whom are probably from the surrounding area, delighted that Prairie Village finally has an upscale  restaurant that still manages to fall in the “something for everyone” category.

Tavern In The Village on Urbanspoon


April 11, 2011 at 8:24 pm Leave a comment

The R Bar

I made my first visit to the R Bar Saturday night, and it won’t be my last. I loved the ambiance. While the exterior of the building is nondescript, a gorgeRBar-WestBottomsous, 37 foot bar runs the length of the narrow dining room, and piped-in 1940’s music  sets the tone from the moment you walk in the door.  Though Sean Moriarty, bartender-extraordinaire (previously of City Tavern) is in residence here, there’s more to the experience than a well-mixed cocktail. Alex Pope, former sous-chef at the American Restaurant, is in the kitchen, turning out creative and reasonably priced cuisine. All dinner entrees except the hangar steak are under $20.

We tried two appetizers, the most successful of which was the grilled octopus with fingeRBar-Octopus-WestBottomsrling potatoes and apple curry sauce. The other was a cassoulet slaw with chicken confit-I enjoyed the textures, but the color was one-dimensional.

Scallops atop a sweet potato tart and bacon lardons were outstanding, and the pork belly with smoked collards and crisp polenta was also a winner. Scallops-sweetpotatotart-RBar-KansasCityMy one beef with the menu is that it doesn’t offer many choices for vegetarians or non-meat eaters. No fish,  and the one pasta was tossed in a rich cream sauce, which may not be to everyone’s liking.  A funky little funnel cake is brought to the table after the server takes your order, but that’s the closest thing they have to bread service, which makes it difficult to mop up some of the chef’s savory sauces.

The R Bar is so named because owner Joy Jacobs found the Rexall Drug logo in a nearby salvage yard and decided it would be a perfect name and icon for the restaurant. It’s in the West Bottoms across from the Golden Ox, so it may not be top of mind when contemplating an evening out. But don’t let the location deter you, this is an area in the midst of a revival, and the R Bar is working hard to make its mark.

R Bar and Restaurant on Urbanspoon

October 20, 2009 at 1:26 pm Leave a comment