Kansas City’s traditional,

hickory-smoked barbeque

Barbeque favorites can be

catered or delivered

Dine at any of the three Smokehouse locations

in Gladstone, Kansas City or Overland Park

Private banquet rooms

are also available at each location

Friday, January 25, 2008

Moby's - Harrah Casino

Last Friday I was invited to attend a boxing/mixed martial arts event at Harrah's casino in North Kansas City. Now when I think of casino food, the sneeze-guard hog trough buffets come to mind, yet I found this interesting little seafood place hiding around the corner from the front door. I sat down at the bar and asked about half-bottles of wine. They didn't have any. Nonplussed, I pressed onward, requesting a by-the-glass list. I then asked which of the wines had been opened that day, as more often than not, 'by the glass' means 'crappy oxidized vinegar'. None of the reds and only a couple of the whites fit the bill, so I picked a martini.
Like James Bond, I like my martinis a very specific way, with the only variable being the brand of Gin. “Sapphire Martini very dry, shaken, up, with a twist.” I got a warm, stirred martini with too much vermouth and 2 olives.
Ok, for those unused to my reviews, I have very high standards for my restaurant service. I like it classical and correct, and I certainly did not expect that at a casino restaurant, but I did expect to have a martini made correctly.
That said, the problems with the martini follow:
1: Very dry means the drink should contain only the slightest breath of vermouth. When I make them at home, I put the vermouth in the shaker with the ice, shake it, then I pour it out before adding the Gin.
2. Shaking is done in order to make the drink very cold and to slightly dilute the alcohol, making the flavor of the gin more pronounced. A martini should be so cold your tongue tingles.
3. A twist means a tiny twist of lemon, preferably twisted above the glass and rubbed around the rim. If olives are desired, and this is a big one in the ‘know what you’re doing’ school of drink-mixing, then one uses one or three olives. NEVER two. Look it up in any drink manual and it will confirm what I’m saying. On to the food: I ordered a mixed fish plate with sea bass, salmon, and skewered shrimp, with mixed vegetables, and the ‘lobster sauce’ dressing.
The fish was quite good. It was flavorful, not terribly prepared (the salmon was a bit overdone, but that is a common problem). I think I liked the light, flaky, sea bass. The dip tasted like milky lobster bisque, which is not a bad thing at all. I then requested the ‘lemon butter sauce’ to try as well. I was given the soy-ginger (a good thing considering that it gave me a chance to try all three, but that’s strike 2 for the inattentive bartender.) I finally flagged him down for the lemon butter, which turned out to be decent. The soy/ginger, however, was toxic. This horrid mush was the stuff of nightmares.
All in all, I give the fish three stars. I finished the dinner with the bananas foster, one of my favorite deserts of all time. It was magnificent and enormous.
The atmosphere of the place was fairly standard for an upper end Kansas City casino restaurant, meaning it looked like a cross between red lobster and a Houlihan’s.
So, here’s the rundown:
1. Food (cooks): Good quality, good flavor. 3 stars.
2. Service (wait staff): Incompetent (wrong way to make a martini), and Bad (wrong sauce, inattentive despite light customer load). 1 Star.
3. Atmosphere (ownership and management): Lousy wine list, vinegar by the glass, cutlery rolled in a napkin, 2 stars

Friday, January 4, 2008

Ruth Chris

My boyfriend of three years had never made a dinner reservation in all the time I have known him until two weeks before Christmas. He said he wanted to go someplace nice for dinner. I showed him KC Restaurant Guide online and told him to let me know where he wanted to go. About 30 mins later he comes out of the bedroom and tells me we have 7:15 reservations for Friday night. I was a little shocked. We arrived about 2 hours early for dinner and had planned to walk around the plaza but it was so cold. The staff at Ruth's Chris was able to seat us immediately. We had the shrimp cocktail to start and they had to be the biggest we had ever seen. The salad and the drinks were also good...but not half as good as the steaks! The service could not have been better! Aside from the fabulous food, spectacular service, and wonderful view of the plaza from our table, my boyfriend asked me to marry him following dinner. Our server, who was aware of the occasion, gave us ample time to enjoy the moment. As we walked out, even the hosts at the front of the restaurant congrautalted us. So glad to have had such wonderful service on such an amazing night! I am very thankful to all who made the evening possible!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Cafe Des Amis

Nice concept but upon entering the second floor establishment the first thing that caught our eyes was the two dirty ceiling vents ajar and hanging down, as well as an empty hole above the entrance. As diner service started the lobster bisque was an enjoyable starter. However the entrees were less exciting. When the entrées arrived, pheasant breast pink peppercorn and chablis sauce served with the usual potato and veggie. Presentation was fair, but the pheasant was not seasoned and the sauce was not reduced and did not meld together and began to separate, which created pockets of different bitter flavors. Tur other entrée was duck breast in a fig port reduction. Presentation was nice and the duck was seasoned and cooked properly, but the port sauce was slightly overpowering. Service was a bit off as I only received one full glass of iced tea during dinner and our waiter visited the table a half dozen times throughout the evening. One other concern is the menu pricing which we felt was a bit high as compared to other French Restaurants in the area due to service and food issues. Considering a salad is not included with the entrée and costs an additional $9+ dollars for the house salad. Overall the atmosphere was nice, small, and quaint. But the ceiling vents and a gapping hole above the entry door need immediate attention.

www.kcrestaurantguide.com/cafe_des_amis.htm