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

Exciting things going on...

There are a lot of exciting things going on at Grimaldi’s in March! They have just updated their wine list with 13 new wines, carefully selected to be a part of what is already an extensive wine list. On the sweeter side, two new seasonal cheesecakes are being offered through the month of March. The Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake is a creamy vanilla cheesecake sprinkled with chunks of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups & topped with whipped cream. You can also go with the Caramel Coconut Cheesecake, a caramel cheesecake topped with caramel glaze and toasted coconut on top of an Oreo cookie crust and finished with a chocolate drizzle and whipped cream. Complete cheesecake heaven! 

Also, don’t forget about the Stoking Social Hour. This deal is too good to pass up! It’s every week day, Monday – Friday, from 3:30PM - 6PM where you can enjoy $2 off draft beers, $2 off glasses of wine (house wines excluded), and $2 off Bruschetta Trio and Antipasto platters. The popular Coalition ($30) is a pairing of a Bruschetta Trio or a small Antipasto platter with a bottle of wine. Through March, they are offering two Coalition wines - guests have their choice of a white or red option: Terra D’Oro Moscato or 19 Crimes Red Blend.

5601 West 135th Street, Suite 2240 
Overland Park, KS 66223 
Ph. (913) 851-5062 

Culinary Customs

We sat there, waiting. And waiting. Talking a bit but clearly just waiting. Our server must have passed by us five times and never stopped. It was soooo annoying. Finally, I stood up and walked towards him, caught his eye, and used the universal sign language to get the check. And so, finally, he brought it.”

My friend was talking about dining in Paris, where she ran into this phenomenon several times. “What is it with them?” she asked.

“Ahh,” say I, “I do happen to know about this. That is the custom there. They think Americans are hugely rude, not to mention crass, with our delivering the check with the dessert or at the end of the meal with a ‘No rush’ comment. They believe in a leisurely meal over an appropriate amount of time. They’re not really being rude or neglecting you. It’s their custom.”

Ok, so French. But every country, every part of the world, has its own customs and traditions that you may not know, and may not glean, from the guide books. Those customs may not be so obvious in Kansas City’s international or ethnic restaurants, or even those who have a dish or three based on another country’s taste buds and habits. We thought we’d gather a few of the ones you may not be so familiar with. 

I See France
We’ll begin with the French, since we already started there. First, we spoke with Patrick Quillec, owner of  Café Provence in Prairie Village, who mentioned that of all the bêtes noires (thorn in the side, dislike, something especially hated or dreaded – there, now you speak the language) the French typically mention, he thinks asking for the salt and pepper shakers is about the worst sin you can commit.

There are others of course. For instance, in restaurants, we keep looking at the menu often while we’re waiting.  In France, put your menu down when you are ready to order which signals the server. The tip is generally included on the bill – you can add a bit to it but to add 15% or 20% just ranks you as pure amateur.  Servers are professionals there and get paid a living wage.  If you’ve been invited to lunch or dinner by a French person, don’t try to split the bill. The expectation is that you will return the favor soon. The subject of money is quite personal in France, so don’t talk about it.

The influence and popularity of French food and culture is everywhere, even in Kansas City. For instance, we have authentic French Restaurants like Le Fou Frog in the City Market area and the afore-mentioned Café Provence (which has gone on to spawn French carry-out and retail items in its French Market). Quillec remembers when he first came to the U.S. (at 18 years old) and was totally amazed by fast food – there was no such thing then in Brittany. He got off the plane and went straight to his first burger (at Burger King) – and thought it was just inedible. Now, of course, American fast food abounds everywhere, including France – and the global fast food market is worth nearly 617 billion dollars – to the sorrow of many gourmands. 

There’s also Tatsu’s French Restaurant, owned and cheffed by Tatsu Arai, and here in Prairie Village since the 80s. It began as a pastry and luncheon shop in 1980 and a few years later, expanded into a complete dining destination for lunch and dinner with white tablecloths and elegant French cuisine, sometimes with an additional Asian influence. 

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention an easy way to learn about the various customs is go on a tour and let the guide handle all matters. I say that because recently I went on such a trip with Global Culinary Escapades and not only did we get a thorough grounding in what to say and do in restaurants and bars all over Bordeaux, we learned a lot about wine. These annual trips are so much fun despite being educational – and this fall GCE has partnered with Louie’s Wine Dive to do a trip centered even more on wine. The French make some really great wines, in case you’ve not heard. 

Go to their websites to learn more about this trip: or

Visit Nearby Italy
When in Italy, do as the Italians do. Drink coffee (espresso that means) but remember that cappuccino is for breakfast or an afternoon break but not a drink to have with lunch or dinner. Don’t try to drink it as a “to-go” item – even though there are now Starbucks in Italy. If you’re looking for an American, he’s the one walking and drinking.

Even though we don’t have a “little Italy” part of town, we do have several Italian restaurants we’re especially fond of. There’s Café Verona in Independence, where traditional dishes flourish.

You may not have known that Pinstripes on 135th has a definite Italian flair, making their own pastas and tomato sauce and they pride themselves on their authenticity – even though most Italian restaurants don’t have bowling alleys. But bocce?  All right, then!  It’s not just a game for old Italian men. Also south is North Italia in Leawood, which specializes in handmade pastas and pizzas. And their zucca chips will make you forget their brother, potato, forever.   

Genovese Italian Restaurant in Lawrence offers faithful northern Italian cuisine with handmade pastas and many classic items on the menu for the last ten years, creating their stellar reputation.  Ricco’s Bistro in south Overland Park, owned by three families since 2003, is another fine example of regional Italian cuisine but served in American size portions. 

Closer to Home: Mexico
What to do if you’re in Mexico?  We’re not going to teach you how to drink tequila shots (though that is an art and you don’t want to look like a sissy – combo in your mouth the salt from your cupped palm, the lime whose juice you’ve squeezed in, and the shot and it’s one gulp only) or that you eat street tacos with your hands, but we do want to mention the time thing. 

“In Mexico, you don’t ask for separate checks.  You just evenly split the entire bill among the number of people at the table.”   
Victor Esqueda, Ixtapa

It is said that instead of eating around work, the Mexican culture works around eating. This means a much more relaxed schedule for many – breakfast can range from 7 to 10 a.m. and can be just coffee to what seems like (or is) a full meal with eggs, meats, veggies, and tortillas or just fruit and sweet rolls. But lunch is the big meal of the day, occurring between 1:30 to 4 p.m. and its heaviness may necessitate that famous siesta afterwards. That custom is going away, however, because work schedules are less forgiving than they used to be.  Nonetheless, dinner typically stays relatively light and people eat fairly late – say, starting no earlier than 8 p.m. and sometimes, just a bowl of soup is adequate. Celebrations of any kind, however, are an entirely different concept – and the concept of punctuality is not especially appreciated, which carries over in Mexico to service. Relax. Enjoy.  

Mexico’s heritage is complex in that there are several influences, the people – from the early Aztecs to the later Spaniards; the African slave trade (among other immigrants); the over 7,000 miles of coast line supplying much seafood, the tropics providing fruits and veggies year-round and the more barren grazing pastures supplying beef, lamb, and goat. There are regional differences so do not think for a second that all Mexican food is all the same. For instance, chiles en nogada (chilies filled with a mixture of meat and dried fruit, covered in walnut (the nogada part) cream sauce and garnished with pomegranate seeds and parsley is from Puebla and seven traditional mole varieties, with up to 30 different spices, are attributed to Oaxaca. If a restaurant here emphasizes a region, you may very well have a much different experience from another Mexican restaurant. 

Most of us are so familiar with Mexican food that we barely consider it ethnic or foreign. It’s both. Kansas City is blessed to have so many Mexican based restaurants because of the strength of our Latino population here. You’re probably familiar with some of our favs. Independence Square offers not just Italian but also Mexican --  El Pico Mexican Restaurant is a local watering hole with many fans. Ixtapa Mexican Cuisine, just south off Barry Road, is well known for their regional dishes which Alejandro will help you choose. There are nine different shrimp and 15 chicken dishes. But try their posole. 

“Goin’ down on the Boulevard” used to be an adventure all on its own, but now Margarita's has been in town nearly forever, leading the way in a crowded field and due to their popularity, now has five locations. If you do want to take a walk on the less flashy side, go to Lawrence for authentic Mexican street food at La Parrilla. A smaller sensation is Los Alamos Market y Cocina west of downtown on Summit, which gives a nod to both English and Spanish in its name, is definitely a little bit of Mexico -- and doesn’t even provide menus. The opposite, perhaps, of Los Alamos is The Lucky Taco in the Argosy Casino which offers a big variety of items plus has a very large salsa bar so you can fix exactly what you want. And finally, give Ted's Café Escondido, now with three locations, a chance even though it really isn’t a “hidden café” so much since its enthusiasts keep helping it grow.

And, by the way, just to re-emphasize, all Mexican food is NOT Tex-Mex, which does have its own identity, though it’s not called that in Mexico where its northern province of meats and cheeses are the likely source of the characteristics.  Kansas Citians seem to be fond of it, no matter its history. 

“We find it so funny that Americans put their noses next to the food or spice to smell it. Let the aroma float up to you and so will the flavor.”  Balkaran Singh, India Palace.

Wherever You Go, There You Are
Diner’s interest in other cultures is very much a continuing trend throughout the U.S. and that’s very true in Kansas City as well. By all means, go experiment and try out those cultures with which you’re not so familiar. You’re sure to find something that pleases your palate, expands your culinary tastes, and even truly excites your senses. 

You probably won’t have to worry about the protocol of the clean plate club like in the home countries (in India and Japan, clean plates mean you liked it). In China, it more likely means (to your host, that is) you weren’t fed enough and it’s an insult. In Thailand, you use your fork to push your food into your spoon, then eat from the spoon; in Italy, don’t use your spoon. Eating only with your left hand with knife perched in your right (Italy and France) isn’t necessary if you’re here. 

Life’s an adventure, especially if you’re eating your way through it. Wherever you go, learn first, then eat.  

Tell us about an experience you had in foreign country.


New Restaurant In Kansas City North

I’m not a big gambler, to put it mildly.  But the other night I was invited to the new restaurant, The Lucky Taco, at the Argosy Casino.  So I went and ate – too much!  

It’s a quite large dining space (holds nearly 150 people) fun music was playing, and there were tables for crowds (think after work) and regular seating as well.  It was bright, festive, and most importantly: VERY good. 

One thing I learned was that their chef de cuisine, Juan Zavala, was on the team that created the all new recipes.  Zavala was originally from Guanajuato, Mexico, and has been at the Argosy since 2004 after receiving his degree in culinary arts from Le Cordon Bleu in Mexico City.  It shows.

I do think there’s a serious problem there: they offer you all of these chips and then you can go to their very big salsa bar and create your own mixtures of salsas (from mango habanero to chile de arbol and a great pineapple one were three of my favorites) and toppings like onions and cilantro and a bunch of others – which you tend to overeat and then you’re not hungry for what you ordered.  Wait, maybe that’s just my problem.  And I still did manage to stuff down some excellent chicken mole. 

 I don’t think that many people know this place exists – at least it hasn’t been on my radar.  I was informed they have 17 different margaritas.  Personally, I do know they have beer.  The Lucky Taco is easy to get to, just inside the front doors of the casino, close to downtown and north KC (duh), and you should go before everybody else gets lucky.

The Lucky Taco
777 NW Argosy Parkway 
Kansas City, MO 64150 
Ph. (816) 746-3395 
Located inside the Argosy Casino

The Lucky Taco

Jax declares March Oyster Month

Oyster eaters could win $1,000 at the 3rd annual Jax Fish House oyster eating competition on March 25
Jax declares March as Oyster Month and will offer oyster specials, charitable support, contests, giveaways and more

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Feb. 27, 2017) – Jax Fish House& Oyster Bar has declared March as Oyster Month and plans to celebrate the mollusk all month long. Oyster month kicks off on March 1 and will feature oyster giveaways, oyster specials, drink specials and Jax’s third annual oyster eating competition on March 25. For every Emersum Oyster sold throughout the month, 10 cents will be donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Oyster Month festivities will include:

Oyster Eating Contest
Jax’s third annual oyster eating competition will take place on Saturday, March 25 at 3 p.m. Teams of four will attempt to slurp the most oysters in a two-minute battle. The team that slurps the most oysters in the given time will win $1,000 cash. The entry fee for the oyster eating competition is $400 and all proceeds will benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Those who wish to enter the oyster eating competition can register by calling Jax at (816) 437-7940 and asking for Betsy Shields. The last day to register is March 20. Space is limited.

Ten cents of every Emersum oyster shucked during the month of March will be donated to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Jax will also donate the registration fees from the oyster eating competition to LLS.

A Dozen Dozens
Guests are entered to win free oysters for a year every time they order a dozen oysters throughout the month of March.

Oyster Specials from Different Regions
Each week, Jax Chef de Cuisine Theresia Ota will showcase an oyster specialty from different regions across North America. Regions featured include:
·        March 1-4: Chesapeake Bay
·        March 5-11: Rhode Island and Delaware
·        March 12-18: New Brunswick and Maine
·        March 19-25: British Columbia
·        March 26-31: California and Washington State

Drink Specials
Proceeds from select beverage sales during the Oyster Eating Competition on March 25 will be donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Throughout Oyster Month, the following drink specials will be offered:
·        Tito’s Traditional Oyster Shooter
·        Milagro Mignonette Oyster Shooter
·        Oyster Bay Wines
·        Oyster Stout Car Bomb Shooter

National Oysters on the Half Shell Day
On Friday, March 31 Jax is celebrating National Oysters on the Half Shell Day with happy hour priced Emersum Oysters all day long—$1.50 each or $18 for a dozen.

Oyster Social Media Giveaways
In honor of Oyster Month, Jax will run contests on social media throughout the month of March. The restaurant will give away a half dozen oysters on Twitter (@Jaxkansascity) approximately twice a week, one dozen oysters once a week on Instagram (@jaxkansascity) and free oysters for a year on Facebook ( once a week. Guests are encouraged to check the respective platforms for contest details during Oyster Month.

Emersum Oyster Stout

For a second consecutive year, Jax will tap the keg of its proprietary Emersum Oyster Stout on Feb. 28 and will pour exclusively through the month of March, or until the kegs run dry. The Oyster Stout is a collaboration beer brewed by Kansas City’s Cinder Block Brewery. The stout is brewed with six dozen of Jax’s proprietary and wholly sustainable Emersum Oysters, which add a natural minerality and rich texture to the beer.

Oyster Stout launches on Mardi Gras at Jax Fish House

Jax Fish House and Cinder Block Brewery collaboration Oyster Stout taps for second consecutive year on Feb. 28 for Mardi Gras celebration
Celebration will also feature 3 special dishes from Chef de Cuisine Theresia Ota with custom drink pairings from Restless Spirits Distilling

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Feb. 20, 2017) – Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar is teaming up with Cinder Block Brewery for the second consecutive year to bring the duo’s collaboration Emersum Oyster Stout back to Kansas City just in time for Mardi Gras celebrations. The stout is brewed with six dozen of Jax’s proprietary and wholly sustainable Emersum Oysters, which add a natural minerality and create a rich texture to the beer. The Emersum Oyster Stout will tap on Mardi Gras, Feb. 28 at Jax and will pour exclusively through the month of March, Jax’s proclaimed Oyster Month, or until the keg runs dry.

In addition to the tapping of the oyster stout, Jax Fish House Chef de Cuisine Theresia Ota will offer three special dish and drink pairings for Mardi Gras on Tuesday, Feb. 28. Dishes include Fat Tuesday classics like beignets and a crawfish boil and are each paired with a full-size drink. Kansas City's own Builders Gin from Restless Spirits Distilling will be featured in one pairing cocktail, and a new Cherry Cider from Cinder Block Brewery as another. Jax will also offer its own 24-ounce Jax Hurricane, served in a Bourbon Street-inspired souvenir yard cup. 

Jax will offer all three specials with drink pairings and the Jax Hurricane all night on Feb. 28 starting at 4 p.m.

Mardi Gras Specials

Lox Bagel paired with Restless Spirits Lemon-Lavender Gin Cocktail - $13
Bagel handmade fresh in house and served with capers and red onion

Crawfish Boil paired with Cinder Block Brewery Emersum Oyster Stout - $20
Six-ounce crawfish boil for one

Beignets paired with Cinder Block Cherry Cider - $13
Beignets handmade fresh in house and topped with powdered sugar

24-ounce Jax Hurricane - $18

Light rum, dark rum, orange juice, passion fruit and lime juice served in souvenir yard cup

Marinara Sauce - Recipe - Pinstripes

One Great Dish - Marinara Sauce

So, which I’m sure you recall, a month or so ago I wrote about a very cool chef, Erik Camacho at Pinstripes. Erik has worked at several different places in his career and is a creative guy. 

 Of course, I asked him about the basics, sauces, which form the underlying taste profile of so many dishes. So what, you’re saying, is all that creative about marinara sauce? Ahh, my friends, so much. He does point out that it’s the right ingredients – and your taste buds – that matter. The basics make something great, so great you might not even recognize the value because it’s sorta at the bottom of the recipe’s elements. Anyway, I got him to share his marinara sauce, and frankly, it’s just delish. Granted, I ate his version, not mine – but I think I could make this. He did say, “Of course, like any recipe, you can make this your own. If you like more garlic, add another teaspoon. If you like it a little chunkier, don't blend the vegetables. There is always the option of substituting dry herbs for fresh herbs, but you will need to use much less if you use dried. Whatever you do, enjoy!” 

Flexibility is important if you’re a chef – which I’m so glad to hear, given MY skill level! 

I’m sharing his recipe (with his permission) posting it to you, here, with the hope you will make it – and then tell me what you think.

Marinara Recipe

#recipe #KansasCity #KC #restaurant

ENTER bd's 25th Anniversary Family Fun Giveaway!

ENTER bd's 25th Anniversary Family Fun Giveaway!

bd's Mongolian Grill 19750 E. Valley View Parkway Independence, MO 64057 Ph. 816-795-5430

bd's Mongolian Grill 11836 W. 95th Street Overland Park, KS 66214 Ph. 913-438-4363

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