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Chef Spotlight – Martin Heuser

Chef Spotlight – Martin Heuser

So born in Austria as the 9th generation of chefs in a family restaurant, beginning at 16 where he served an apprenticeship away from home, earning a master’s degree, emigrating to Vancouver in 1994 where he worked in a French restaurant, working his way up to exec chef in Quebec, moving to the Sheraton in Vancouver, then serving as the Westin’s Executive Chef who moved him to K.C.

That’s a long, incomplete sentence.  But lucky us.  In Kansas City, he decided to stop, stay and open his own restaurant:  Affäre.

I’m talking about chef/co-owner (with wife Katrin) Martin Heuser. 
I spoke with him recently and learned some interesting stuff about him, his life, and his new German flair restaurant.  It’s not traditional German at all – their website does say it correctly, “local fresh cuisine with a German twist.” There are a few famous dishes tweaked, like jägerschnitzel or his fabulous home-made brats, but the menu is extensive, and creative, deliciousness.  Once I had a seven or so course meal there in which there was bison in every course.  Amazing.

We talked about transitioning from employee to owner and he said there was much less to worry about as a hotel chef.  “Now I have more issues, including accounting and training.  It’s more challenging.  And also more interesting.”  Open since 2012, his menu, approach, and presentation has changed quite a bit from when they opened, as he began with more of a “tapas” approach. 
He’s thrilled about the streetcar line completion, after months (years?) of tribulation, for there is definitely more traffic.  As his restaurant is on Main, right on the line, he endured months of no parking, construction blocking his entrance, and much confusion.  Now that’s cleared up, business has rebounded, and he is serving a terrific brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays.  “People seem to be more willing to brunch here, rather than lunch here,” he laughs, noting that he is no longer open for lunch.

Chef Heuser has always been about local, hunting, and using every part of the animal.  He makes his own sausage; his meats are always fresh. He buys bison near Manhattan at Big D Bison Ranch. He barbequed over a thousand lobsters in six weeks this last year.  His white asparagus special is Kansas City famous in May.  In September, look for his wagyu beef (from Nebraska and Australia) party.  He’s going to do barbeque.  In August, it’s oysters.  In October, it’s venison or game meat.  Whatever it is, it’s always inventive.  And I can say honestly, it’s delicious.    
Bison tenderloin, morel crust, sweet corn emulsion 

I’ve had lunches here, dinners, a great happy hour, but never had brunch.  That’s next.  I am hoping to have it on their very secluded, greeny patio which so few know about. It’s a little, quiet enclave back there. And I love the fact there’s two parking lots just north of the restaurant which, if I don’t take the streetcar, still keep it simple.

Citizen/chef Heuser is a definite addition to Kansas City.  If you haven’t been here yet, go now.  If you have, go again.  I may see you there.

1911 Main street 
Kansas City, MO 64108 
Ph. 816-298-6182 

Affäre Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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