Restaurant Guide of KC™ - Kansas City Food + Travel Blog

  • Porto do Sul

    Brazilian Steakhouse

  • Harvest Table

    with an array of hot and cold items

  • Traditional Brazilian Steakhouse fare

    full Churrascaria experience

  • Offers a menu in the bar area

    for those in the mood for a lighter meal

  • Newly renovated second private dining room

    for your groups of up to 140 guests

Happy Hour II: Jax Fish House and Oyster Bar

The BigRedF Restaurant Group (their spelling) headquartered in Boulder recently has provided me two great happy hours.  We started at 4 p.m. when they opened . . . and just kept eating.  I think this is more than worth going to the Plaza for – and the fact there is plentiful parking through the Hotel Sorella entrance or off Belleview just makes it even more perfect.

Now, I don’t eat raw oysters any time of day, happy hour or not. Companions have told me they’re excellent.  At Happy Hour, there are 11 other items, ranging from $5 to $7 plus some oysters at $1.25 each.  The steamed mussels come in two versions and I loved the coconut milk with panang curry version, somewhat to my surprise.  The fried calamari with a lime aioli and even the tuna melt are delish as well – but every single thing we tried there, including the lump blue crab cake on the regular menu, spoke beautifully to us.

As befitting an excellent Happy Hour, there are five cheaper drinks, not all vodka, and their martinis are $7, well cocktails are $5, drafts are a dollar off and there’s a white and a red wine for $6.  Great bar atmosphere and friendly (and talented) bartenders should you want something more creative.

I was really happy at Jax.  I think you will be, too – if good food and drink do it for you from 4-6 p.m.  They do for me.

4814 Roanoke Pkwy 
Kansas City, MO 64112 
Ph. (816) 437-7940 

Jax Fish House on Urbanspoon

Life is Short: Eat Dessert First - Best Desserts in KC!

For those of us who consider pie (and ice cream) the perfect breakfast, dessert is more than just the end of the meal.  It is celebration, it is the best reason to linger, it is the ultimate fireworks to the sit-down portion of the evening.

It is compulsory.

Thankfully, many Kansas City restaurants agree.  They make the grand effort to satisfy the sweet desires of their patrons, whether they outsource, leave it to the chef and kitchen to create, or have a professional pastry chef at the helm.

Some restaurants recognize the time and creativity involved in presenting a great dessert and decide to simply leave the work to someone else.  Sometimes they tell you this; sometimes not.  But what most do is to find the very best dessert that reflects who they are and what their customers want.  And if, apparently, it’s the Costco double chocolate cake that people want, I’m not telling you where that was.

Waldo Pizza, a place you might not think about for desserts, has many, there because of owner Phil Bourne’s love of them.  Their menu proudly proclaims they serve Ted Drewe’s custard (in keeping with his St. Louis roots) and notes their tiramisu is imported from Italy, their cupcakes are from Babycakes, and their white chocolate cheesecake is made locally by Phil’s Italian barber’s wife.   They also make their own.

Some people have created such a special dessert that restaurants are eager to serve it and thus contract specifically for that one item.  Such is Jude’s rum cake, known for its consistent high quality and local ingredients.  The business is owned by catering entrepreneur (Belly Up BBQ) Craig Adcock who came up with the cake because his clients wanted a dessert.  It is served at restaurants such as JJ’s, Tannin, West Side Local, the Farmhouse, and others in and out of town as well – some 35 and counting.  His mother-in-law, whose recipe serves as the base, would be proud.

The second way restaurants do desserts is that someone in house, often the chef, creates them and then they are made either by the chef or by one or two individuals on the staff.  This is probably the most common.  Ophelia’s in Independence, Café Provence in Prairie Village, Room 39, Hollywood Casino and many others rely on their chefs’ mastery of dessert art.  Joseph Jackson at Affäre does both traditional and seasonal desserts and his painted desserts at your table are well worth foregoing your diet.  

A slightly different approach is personified by Liz Miller at Pierpont’s who has been “extremely lucky” as she puts it. She started out as a server and bartender, helped prep and liked it (and did) so well that she started working on desserts.  Now she’s in charge of them under the guidance of the executive chef, Matt Barnes.  Her goal is simple – the complete and total expertise as demanded of a premier dessert chef.  

That is the culminating step: the pastry chef.  That designation can be achieved through both schooling and practice. Chef Patrick Parmentier, program director at L’École Culinaire, points out that programs like his, Johnson County Community College, and the Art Institutes offer a specialty and various degrees in pastry (and desserts).   Every dessert chef, he says, must know the basics of the kitchen and management of a restaurant if s/he is to be successful. And more women than men are pastry chefs, he adds – the reverse, still, of head chefs.

The pastry chefs in town all exemplify a true breadth of expertise.  Adding a pastry chef to one’s retail kitchen is a substantial commitment of space, expense, and devotion to the philosophical concept of the importance of dessert.  The 801 Restaurants exemplify that commitment – all their restaurants have its own pastry chef and each member of the 801 Group  (Chophouses, Fish, and Pig and Finch) serves different desserts.   At Bluestem and now Rye, Megan Garrelts has vastly affected the local as well as the national dessert scene with her and husband Colby’s cookbook, eponymously named bluestem, the cookbook.   

The American Restaurant’s famed pastry chef and now James Beard nominee, Nick Wesemann, mentions that what is best about being a pastry chef is the creativity involved – taking raw ingredients like sugar, flour, butter and devising something that is special.   He also touts the independence, pace, and setting one’s own standards and then meeting them in a fine restaurant.  He likens the job, somewhat, to a scientist’s – one must know ingredients, chemical reactions, formulas – but he is able to tinker until it is simply perfect. Pastry chef Joseph Jackson at Affäre agrees with Nick, whom he credits with a great part of his educational training.  It was there, too, he became more familiar with molecular gastronomy, a style of cooking which relies on scientific principles for its innovation.  He and colleague Clinton Smith were watching “A Matter of Taste,” a documentary about Paul Liebrandt and something they saw fired (literally) them up – and thus, the famous painted dessert you can order for two to forty at the downtown Affäre.

Several chefs mentioned that (too) many people skip desserts, due to calories, expense, being full, or a misbegotten sense of superiority.  (Well, they didn’t say that last part, I did.) Perhaps one should forego that last couple bites of the beef bourguignon or the extra slice of bread and instead, truly satisfy the palate, sparkling the end of the evening with a fabulous dessert. 

A Few Signature - Don’t Miss These Desserts
Gaslight Grill – Any seasonal cobbler
McCormicks and Schmick's – Chocolate Bag
Melting Pot – Chocolate fondue
Jack Stack - Carrot Cake
Pierpont’s – Chocolate mousse w/dark chocolate coffee ganache
Rye – Any pie
Waldo Pizza – St. Louis gooey butter cake

Go International
Bo Lings –Crèmes Caramel and Brule
Drunken Fish – Strawberry Cheesecake Makimono
Nara – Tempura fried ice cream
Saki – Tropical Lover (tempura fried bananas)
Thai Place – Sticky mango rice
Tatsu's - Grand Marnier Soufflé
Grunauer - Viennese Apple Strudel
Le Fou Frog - Créme Brulée
Piropos - Flan de Vainilla

 Can you recognize the desserts from the pictures?  Tell us! 

I’m Still Sweet on You

I’m going to be doing several more blogs about the sweeter side of life – it’s just so cheerful to think about desserts!  A wonderful dessert is a really great way to extend an evening, even if you have to have it with decaf.  Or more wine.
Ra Sushi  - Sweet Mochi Trio

My last blog here was about the new monthly desserts now occurring at Harvey’s in Union Station (see below).  It’s nice to know you can count on something different each month and what a fabulous excuse to hang out a while in wonderful Union Station. 

And in our spring issue of The Restaurant Guide, I talk about pastry and all things dessert.  One thing I learned is how few true pastry chefs there are out there (and why) and that many “regular” chefs fulfill that function, too, extremely well in their busy kitchens.  I also get to talk to talented pastry chefs like Nick Wesemann at the American and Joseph Jackson at Affäre – look for more on them later.

Shasha's Lemon


Asado Urban Grill

So you're by the airport . . .

Think about going to the Hilton hotel, where I've never been until recently.  It's only been there for oh, 16 or 17 years.  It's been redone. 

Importantly, from my standpoint as I'm probably not going to stay there:  try their newly re-imagined restaurant.

It's quite, quite good.  NOT hotel food, whatever that used to mean.  It doesn't look so much like a hotel, either.  Not the bar, the restaurant.  It is, in fact, a place you could hang out.

They have a nice happy hour from 4 - 7 pm.  $3 draft beers, $5 house wines, a $7 specialty cocktail, and small plates, very cheap, ranging from home made chips at $3 to crab cakes at $7.  Not a huge selection, but plenty enough.  Their lunch and dinner selections are reasonably priced as well and the menu is pretty extensive.  The hamburger that walked by us (not on its own) looked just great.

Since I don't live close, I'm definitely putting this on my list for where to go when coming home from the airport.  Pleasegod, sooner than later.

Asado Urban Grill
801 NW 112th St
Kansas City, MO 64153
Ph. (816) 801-4006



Join us for Valentine's Day & Mardi Gras

- Featured Specials -


emersum oyster, lemon crème fraiche, champagne pearls, osetra caviar, chive

celery, fennel, mustard seeds, pickled red onion, house saltine

coquillo pappardelle, pearl onion, chicories, gremolata

crab, lobster, shrimp, oysters, etc.

Happy Hour 4pm-6pm • Full Dinner Menu Available

- Featuring -


Catfish • Oyster • Shrimp


with crawfish butter and chipotle



- Live Music By -

TIM WHITMER  5pm-8pm

Happy Hour 4pm-6pm • Full Dinner Menu Available


You Sweet Thing You – Harvey’s in Union Station

Unexpected.  First, it’s in our train station.  Second, it’s actually run by a catering company – Brancato’s.  Third, it’s a new take on a very old tradition – the original Harvey House restaurants that used to grace almost every largish railroad station in the country from Illinois to New Mexico – nearly ninety of them at their peak. Finally, desserts aren’t always key in a breakfast/lunch place (open til 3pm) but Harvey’s is stepping away from the norm, there, too.

For instance, they’ve just introduced a new dessert perfect for a mid-morning or after- Science-City- snack: a chocolate peanut butter torte with marshmallow cream frosting and a sugar cookie crust.  Or, treat yourself at lunch.  Kitchen manager Bob Pinnock created this delish concoction AND, now listen up here, there will be a new one EVERY MONTH!  Dessert nirvana.  Every month.  Life can be oh so sweet!

30 West Pershing Road 
Kansas City, MO 64108 
Ph. 816-460-2274 

Harvey's at Union Station on Urbanspoon

The seventh annual Mardi Gras Bar Crawl is at KC Live! on Saturday, February 14th!

The Bar Crawl caps off an all-day festival featuring live music, “Bourbon Street” entertainers, crazy contests and more. For just $30, the all-inclusive crawl package includes free cover, domestic draft beer, call cocktails and Captain Morgan Hurricanes from 9-midnight. Or upgrade to the VIP package for $40.

Use promo code “KCLIVE1” to save $5 off either package!

Additional Mardi Gras KC weekend festivities include a Masquerade Party benefitting SocialHeart on Friday, Feb. 13th and the Mardi Gras 5K on Saturday, Feb. 14th.

You’re Single. Or Pretending You Are. You’re Smart. Or Pretending You Are

Then we’ve got just the evening planned for you. February 9th, 7:45 p.m. Singles Trivia at Waldo Pizza. Questions are general knowledge with an emphasis on pop-culture. 

It’s just $10 to play, with a prize for the best performing male and best performing female. (They have to say that so the guys can win sometime.) Besides the play, the camaraderie, and the slogan (“It’s kind of like speed dating, but less awkward”), pizza by the slice is available plus the regular Monday special – a large one-topping pizza for $8.95. It’s best make a reservation so you have a spot. If you have questions, you can call Zeb at 816-728-5352  

What a perfect thing to do on a Monday night. If you’re single. Or . . .

Hawg Jaw Fritz

If you love Brazilian BBQ, you should try Em Chamas' New Kansas City BBQ!
Em Chamas is excited to announce their new addition to the Silvio group of Restaurants: Hawg Jaw Fritz.

Featured as the Pitch's 2012 vote for "Best New BBQ," Hawg Jaw Fritz will see some upcoming changes with the new ownership, including an expanded menu. 

Present this post on your next visit to Hawg Jaw Fritz for $2 off your next Working Folks Special! *

To check out our full menu, or for any questions about our dine-in, carry out, or catering,
4403 NW Gateway Ave.
Riverside, MO 64150
Ph. 816.741.4294 


Offer valid until 03/31/2015

Pretty New in Crossroads: Pezzettino's

Pezzettino's Italian Market and Deli 

is as a good place for gifts of all gourmet kinds, among other attributes.  So Portly Companion and I ate dinner there last night -- we were going for light and ate more than we intended.  Whatta surprise.
More surprising was the fact we each had only one glass of wine -- and their wine prices are lovely (a.k.a. very inexpensive).This is a charming not-huge place and one that others have learned to frequent -- in fact the Mayor was there with a large table celebrating someone's birthday.  I'm compelled to add that when they sang, I was glad the song is so short.

But they were having a good time, as were we, sitting at the bar.

I began with an arancini ball, which is  just risotto fried up, in this case to be light and fluffy.  This came with a marinara sauce that was quite good.  I had the broiled veggies and chicken (2 dishes) that paired well together and were more than enough.  Bill had a prosciutto panini with fig jam, whipped taleggio and arugula which he would have liked piled a bit higher, but at least it fit in with our eating a lighter meal.  His pasta "salad" side was excellent.

We blew our lean philosophy with the cannoli, however.  That had the lightest crust/wrapping/roll-about/whatever you want to call it, than I've had in a long, long time.  In fact, I thought it might be fried, even though it wasn't greasy, it was so crisp/tender but I was assured it was properly baked.  Good creamy filling, obviously home-made.

We're going back to get a combo piatti del salumi and piatti del formaggio with that second glass of wine.  Their meats and cheeses in the case looked great, I'm sure a plateful of them with warm bread would be perfect on a winter night.

2101 Broadway Blvd. 
Kansas City, MO 64108 
Ph. 816-612-8333 

Tell us what you think...

Pezzettino Italian Deli & Market on Urbanspoon

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