Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue

most popular restaurant in Kansas City

3 Ways to enjoy

lunch, happy hour or dinner

highest rated barbecue restaurant

in the country by the Zagat Survey

cooked to perfection over hickory wood

in an authentic brick oven pit.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A la Carte, Tasting, or Prix Fixe by Chris Becicka

Bluestem tasting menu items
Restaurant Week in January got me thinking about the variety of menu options available year round.  There is much more to eating out than “à la carte” – literally, “according to the menu,” with pricing for each item – available in Kansas City.

Both tasting and prix-fixe menus can be found in cosmopolitan KC.  They are different; for starters, most people here can pronounce “tasting.”   Not so for prix fixe – which is enunciated as pre (pause) fix.  And all it means is a fixed price for typically three courses.  It’s normally a few to several dollars cheaper than ordering à la carte.

Prix fixe has been a staple in Europe for years, especially France, where they don’t need pronunciation lessons and are pretty horrified to discover it sometimes is even written here as pre-fix.  (Not anywhere really good, however.) It has advantages:  for the restaurant, the choices are more limited so there’s less cooking, less chance for left-over ingredients; and for the diner, it’s less expensive and often consists of what the restaurant does best. But most restaurants offer this selection in addition to their à la carte items so the advantages are less pronounced to the restaurant anyway.

We’re especially used to seeing prix fixe on holidays – Thanksgiving, New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day.  Because such events usually include something special, and because they occur on a holiday, they are usually not a terrific bargain.  Or a bargain at all.

Prix fixe is a good thing for those of us who don’t want to worry about all the choices and prefer limiting ourselves to the chef’s choice or maybe a couple of different choices (particularly for the main course).   But several Kansas City restaurants do have a prix fixe menu selection year round, sometimes only on specific days of the week. For instance, Julian offers one on Monday and Tuesdays, Webster House has their 2 for $20 on Wednesdays, Café Provence offers one on Tuesdays, and 801 Chophouse has a yummy one for Sunday dinner.

Restaurant Week has spawned the re-emergence of prix fixe; some cities' dates are on-line at Chris' Corner. There are probably additional cities offering more than one Restaurant Week; you may want to take advantage of these in your travels.  Most cities try to do them at the approximate same time each year; the prices vary somewhat; and despite the carping you might see on the internet, they are a pretty good way of tasting a restaurant’s offerings that you might not otherwise try.

Dinner for Two at Hereford House
But to me, a tasting menu is even more fun – you get to sample many items all in the same meal.  Tastings can vary from four to even 20 different “courses.” Portions are small; their size depends on the number of items you’ve ordered; all typically involve wait-staff explanation.  Chef Erik Hyre, Corporate Chef for Hereford House and Pierpont’s, points out that a tasting menu is, “like Restaurant Week all year long.  The smaller portions allow you to have more variety.”  They also allow more chef creativity and invention.   Executive Chef Bobby Stearns at Ophelia’s says their tasting menu “permits people to try many more items on the menu without making a commitment for one dish for an entire meal.”

Whether you choose à la carte, prix fixe, or a tasting menu, isn’t it nice to know that the choice can be yours?  

Prix Fixe, Tasting, Dinner for 2 or Continuous Courses Price per Person Lunch or Dinner When Offered
801 Chophouse Prix Fixe 3 $33 D Sunday
Bluestem Tasting  3, 5, 10 $65-$100 D Tues - Sat
Café Provence Prix Fixe 4 $38 D Tuesday
Chez Elle Prix Fixe 3 $25 D Friday & Saturday
Em Chamas Continuous Multi $34.95 D Nightly
Fogo de Chao Continuous Multi $19.50-$44.50 L,D Mon - Fri; Nightly
Gaslight Grill Prix Fixe  3-4 $22.25-$23.95 D Sunday
Hereford House Dinner for 2 4 $65 (for two) D Nightly
Julian Prix Fixe  3-4 $30-$35 D Sun - Tues
Le Fou Frog Tasting 5 $65-$85 D with 24 hour notice
M & S Grill Prix Fixe 3 $28.99 D Sun - Thurs






Ophelia's Tasting 3 $29 D Mon - Sat
Pachamama's Prix Fixe 3,5 $23, $55 L,D Tues - Sat
Pierpont's Tasting  3-4 $34.95-$39.95 D Nightly
Piropos Prix Fixe 2,3 $16, $38 L,D Seasonally
Room 39 Tasting 4 $39 D Mon - Sat
Sullivan's Prix Fixe 3 $39 D Nightly
Tannin Tasting 4 $38 D Nightly
Tasso's Greek Prix Fixe 5 $32 D First Thursday
The American Tasting  5-12 $65-$120 D Mon - Sat
The Melting Pot Prix Fixe  3-4 $19.95-$48.95  L,D Fri - Sun; Nightly
Webster House Prix Fixe 2 $20 D Wednesday

#prixfixe #menu #restaurants

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Mardi Gras


The Kansas City Mardi Gras Festival
Saturday, March 1st   |    8pm-11pm


Join the biggest Mardi Gras party in Kansas City at the KC Live!
Block as we bring Bourbon Street to Kansas City! The party features street performers, fire jugglers, stilt walkers, crawfish eating contests, a Cajun  food fair, fortune teller and more! This is a free event!
Must be 21+ to attend
Upgrade your Mardi Gras party to include a 3 hour, all-inclusive
bar package at 15 bars in the KC Live! Block.
2 General Admission tickets for $25  ($15 dollar discount)
2 VIP tickets for $40
  ($30 discount)
Click Here to get your tickets!


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sautéed Shrimp in Horseradish Mustard Sauce

Sautéed Shrimp in Horseradish Mustard Sauce


Serves 4
Total Time: 20 minutes
12 large shrimp, deveined and shells removed
5 zucchini, sliced
4 tablespoons of Café Provence Horseradish mustard
3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese or Comte Cheese
1/2 cup whipping cream Olive oil or vegetable oil for frying

  1. In a saucepan, bring the whipping cream to a boil. When it reaches a boil, add the horseradish mustard, stir together to create the sauce, and set aside.

2. In a sauté pan over medium-low heat, sauté the zucchini in a bit of olive oil. When it is lightly browned, remove from the pan and evenly distribute it in four oven-proof shallow bowls and set aside.

3. In the same pan, sauté the shrimp in olive oil 3 to 5 minutes or until they turn pink (careful not to overcook). Salt and pepper to taste, then set aside.

4. Top the zucchini with the grated cheese, drizzle each serving with sauce and broil until the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and add the shrimp, garnish with frisée, and serve.

  Note: Fresh asparagus is a great substitute for the zucchini.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Hotelling a Good Story by Chris


I
I’m nearly a Kansas City lifer – born in Manhattan (yes, the Kansas one), all my youth in Roeland Park, brief stints in Lawrence, Seattle, and Chicago, and then back “home.”  I tell you this because eating or drinking in Kansas City hotels is not a customary event for me, other than for charity events. 

But last weekend, friends, husband and I went to the downtown Marriott for no reason but to check out their bar, BarCentral, and restaurant, MetropolitanKC.  For a Kansas City lifer, it was a pretty great night, all in all.

First of all, their bar does not look like a hotel bar but a kinda comfy, stylish, relaxing place to meet, greet, drink, and also eat.  There are gathering spots (sofas and chairs surrounding low tables) as well as a long flashy red-backed bar, sleek and inviting.  Despite a conversation with Polly, a most engaging young woman who was sure we’d rather stay with her than walk all the way to the restaurant (a good 50 feet maybe), which wasn’t exactly hopping, we decided to get the full restaurant experience.

And yes, it wasn’t crowded, but it should be.  A delightful waitress was helpful, funny, and cute – but I neglected to get her name.  Our old-fashioneds were quite perfect; the olives were hand-stuffed with blue cheese for the martini – and three more brought happily for the second time (not the martini, just the olives).  We all were quite happy with our meals – the (free range) chicken piccata, tender and juicy, the burnt end salad, the barbeque salmon sitting on a cauliflower mash, and even the ribs.  We ordered those things upon recommendations – always listen to the wait staff is my mantra.  I really like the fact a national chain has localized their menu and bravely includes really good barbeque.  And new items are coming from chef Vince Paredes in February, I’m told, which sound inventive and delicious – more on that, next trip downtown.

Before we left, I did a little market research.  The lobby bar was filling, several groups were enjoying the ambiance and drinks.  So I asked three groups if they were from Kansas City while husband Bill stood at entrance, grimacing.  One person was meeting friends from out of town there.  The rest, travelers all.   A pity thought I, unless you’re looking for a place you can actually get into on a Friday night.  So, selfishly, I hesitate to write this: both BARCENTRAL and MetropolitanKC are definitely places to go when you want a good drink, a good meal, and really nice people helping you.


200 West 12th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105Located just steps inside the Kansas City Marriott Downtown
816-421-6800 x 4640        
Metropolitan KC on Urbanspoon