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

  • Smokehouse BBQ

    Brazilian Steakhouse

  • Kansas City’s traditional,

    hickory-smoked barbeque

  • Family atmosphere. Barbeque favorites

    can be catered or delivered

  • Offers a menu in the bar area

    for those in the mood for a lighter meal

  • Smokehouse Bar-B-Que’s pit experts h

    fave been preparing authentic barbeque for 30 years

Showing posts with label Restaurant Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Restaurant Review. Show all posts

Porto do Sul

Re-Discovering Reason

The other day, despite not being all that hungry, I stopped by Porto do Sul in sunny southern Overland Park. No real reason – just hadn’t been in for a while.  I was so pleasantly surprised I thought I’d tell you about it.

First, I’m not sure I really knew I didn’t have to eat a whole bunch!  You know the feeling . . . if you’re buying dinner for 49 bucks for 17 cuts of meat and a huge harvest table of all kinds of assorted side (and main) dishes, you feel like you gotta eat lots.  Buffet fever I call it. 

But I learned I could also try some Brazilian favorites starting at just $12.50 for lunch or dinner.  Things like the picanha house special which is a sirloin sandwich on their famous cheese bread and their special Porto sauce for $13. Or their churrasco plate with sirloin slices, bacon-wrapped chicken, sausage and pork loin grilled with parmesan cheese and two slides for $17.  Ok, that’s a lot – but my friend and I split it.  They have a quinoa salad with either grilled shrimp or chicken for $12.50 – honestly, where’s a similar lunch for that little?  And it’s not heavy – I could really justify it as summertime eating.  There are many more choices, too.

Something else I didn’t know: they also have take-out at various price and quantity levels.  They’re being very creative in recognizing who their customers are and what they want.

My final discovery is what they’ve done with the space.  They turned the huge bar into a huge private dining room for parties of up to 140 happy diners, called the Rotunda Room.  The Cellar Room seats 65.  I really liked their bar before, the new bar area is to the right when enter and it’s just as cool. And they have a very affordable and hugely tasty bar menu.  And any time of year, try their scotch old-fashioned.  Oh my.

I’m glad I accidentally learned so much.  If you haven't been to Porto do Sul lately, you need to go. Now.

Porto do Sul
11900 Metcalf Avenue 
Overland Park, KS 66213 
Ph. (913) 283-9180 

Porto Do Sul Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hereford House Review

Hereford House’s quite excellent lunch menu!

As a long-time resident of K.C. and its burbs, I thought I knew everything about Hereford House I needed to know.  Hand-cut steaks, four locations (east, west, north, and south) plus Pierpont’s in Union Station, great burgers (hand ground from their steak meat every day), good happy hours, and this year, sixty years old.  What I didn’t know about especially was their great lunch specials every day of week, like a 12 oz. ribeye for just $25 on Mondays or what turns out to be a pretty famous meatloaf on Thursdays. 

On a recent lunch date with publisher Kathy Denis last week, we were treated to their newest steak – the Hereford special strip steak.  What makes this different is the fact that it’s “marinated” overnight – dried porcini mushrooms, salt, black and crushed red pepper, and a couple of other ingredients.  The result is the juiciest and most flavorful strip I’ve ever had – and I’m a ribeye girl.  This steak is the result of extensive testing – which means steaks being eaten day after day.  After day. Before they went on the lunch and dinner menus.  We also tried their oysters Rockefeller (normally on the dinner menu) which were perfectly roasted with enough butter, lemon, spinach and parmesan to make me forget I’m eating oysters.  With the short rib sandwich we ordered extra crispy sweet potato waffle fries which were perfect – and it’s hard to get sweet potatoes crispy.    

I have to admit that one of their eight desserts pretty much did me in, it was that good.  Their carrot cake riff is something I’m going to go order all by itself and call it lunch. As it was, I managed all of the above and said happy anniversary, Hereford House.  No wonder you’ve been around so long! 

Hereford HouseLeawood
5001 Town Center Dr.
Leawood, KS 66211


Happy Hour VI: I’m Happy When I’m North

Make that when I’m at North Italia Restaurant. (Which, as you probably know, is really south in Leawood at 119th and Roe.)  This Italian bistro is always upbeat and bustling but the other evening, make that late afternoon, I went for their happy hour, which I haven’t done for a while.  Their happy hour ends at 6 p.m. so going at three when it starts or a bit later makes sense.  At least to confirmed happy hour devotees like me. 

Drinks, at least wine and sangria, are cheap – five bucks for a glass and $16 for a bottle and beer is four dollars or the same $16 for a pitcher.  So I can start out pretty pleasantly. 

My favorite things are on the HH menu, short as it is.  First, the zucca chips which are light, crispy, and salty.  You get a big bowlful for three tiny dollars and I think only about the healthy zucchini I’m eating, not the oil and salt.

Their chef’s board is $10 instead of $16 and the assortment fluctuates.  Various meats, cheeses, and whatever is on the chef’s mind like roasted peppers or olives or almonds.  Always interesting and you can ask for more grilled bread.

The third choice is either their tomato or prosciutto bruschetta which is always tasty and filling.  I’m sure North hopes you’ll stay for dinner: Tuscan chicken or spaghetti and meatballs, or a traditional Bolognese or grilled branzino anyone? But then, I’ve been known to make an entire meal before 6:00 p.m.
Happy hour also goes all day Sunday and on those days and Wednesdays, you can get half off on any of their bottles of wine – and there are enough to choose from, about 30, all available by the glass as well.

North says their food is “handmade with love . . . from scratch daily.”  That seems true, even at their happy hour, which you should definitely try.  My opinion.

NoRTH Italia
4579 West 119th Street 
Leawood, KS 66209 
Ph. 913.232.5191 


North Italia North Italia Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

#HH #HappyHour #KC #KansasCity 

Cacao Restaurante

Today I tried Cacao Restaurante for lunch! 

Cacao Restaurante is a partnership between Marquez and long-time restaurateur Victor Esqueda, owner of Ixtapa Mexican restaurant in the Northland, and his nephew, Alfonso Esqueda. Cacao name comes from the bean that gives us chocolate. It is simply a catchy name that ties the blue decor, with a nice bar area, a private dining room and seating for 200 people.

We're seating on a booth and our service was delightful. I like particularly the option "Two for you" You can have soup or salad with a choice for entrees for $9.

I had the house salad and I asked our waiter his recommendation for the Tortas. I had barbacoa: barbacoa chicken with refried beans, avocado and red onions, served with roasted potatoes. Delicious!

Coconut panna cotta with passion fruit.
I can wait to try their dinner menu!

5200 W. 95th Street 
Prairie Village, KS 66209 
Ph. (913) 296-7485 


Cacao Restaurante Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bourgeoisie Pizza

I ventured to 135th Street recently to Prairiefire and the two plus month old Grimaldi’s Coal Fired Pizza place.  I’d call it upscale pizza (as do the managers) – not just because of the price  which in pretty much in line with non-chain gourmet pizzas – but the environment. It’s brick, spacious, big bar, great large pictures of famous people who’ve eaten at the mothership Grimaldi’s, inventive chandeliers, cloth napkins and highly attentive service.  These were all good things, but not as important as the bottom line, pizza.   

And the pizza is really, really good.  Two primary reasons for this (besides the hand-tossed dough).  One, that coal fired oven, which is huge and very, very hot.  The coal is the best quality anthracite and heats that brick oven up to 1200 degrees – leaving the front areas for the pizzas at around 530 degrees.  What this does is somehow create a crust that is thin, somehow crispy, yet still foldable – vital for a New York pizza. 

Two, and this one I sorta have to take with the proverbial salt grain but Manager Louie Izurita was adamant this makes a difference and who am I to disagree? They purify their water down to (up to?) New York standards (15 particles/1 million in NYC compared to our 300/1 mil.  . They use the same reverse osmosis distilling system and the purer water helps make a difference.   I’m not going to mention the 25 different fresh topping possibilities including meatballs which were hugely good, and what is a remarkably nice wine selection. There are about 50 bottles ranging from $15 to $70.  Currently 24 of them cost less than $30 and they vary some of them monthly. 

Two bonuses caught my attention:  an unusually good house salad that was crunchy and cold and wonderful homemade desserts including a variety of cheesecakes.  All yummy.

We left with a to-go-home box.   Everybody does, said Mr. Izurita. It, the pizza, not the box, tasted great the next day, too.

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

Aw, come on, you sweet thing, you

Sweet, Perfect Desserts at Pierpont’s

As much as I love desserts and writing about them (hence, this series), I have to tell you I seldom get to try three at once.  That is largely due to the malevolence called sharing. My portly companion and I feel too guilty usually to eat an entire dessert by ourselves.  Also generous friends usually know the sharing-with-me-rule but still, since they share usually, too, that reduces the choices. But the other day at beautiful Pierpont’s in Union Station, I tried three delicious desserts all by myself that you will love.
First thing you need to know it that for some of us, it’s hard to bypass the “Death by Chocolate Cocktails,” since they definitely qualify as a dessert with a bonus.  I am going there some day with friends just to try the Double Dutch Chocolatini, the Moondance Martini (Jameson’s, Godiva Dark Chocolate, Bailey’s, and Guiness), and the King Alexander.  My friends will have to give me tasting privileges on the other nine.  Pierpont’s also has an additional category called “Dessert You Can Drink” which is also pretty decadent.  I do want to try the Roasted Walnut (Kahlua, Norcello Walnut liqueur, and ice milk) or the Snickerdoodle (seriously, just go to find out). 

Anyway, back to “Delectable Edibles.”  I started with the spiced rum cake which was a delightful combination of a light, light spice cake topped with lemon sorbet sitting in a passion fruit coulis.  Then I went to a milk chocolate fluffy and smooth mousse torte whose bottom layer was a crunchy shortbread topped with a dark chocolate coffee ganache, with crème anglaise encircling it.  A simple presentation, this was a super chocolatey dessert, designed to satisfy the most aggressive dark chocolate fan.  And finally, I tasted (again and again to be honest) the white chocolate brioche bread pudding.  Now, not only do I think white chocolate is misnamed, never do I order it.  However, this was fabulous.  With thinly sliced caramel apples sliced on top, it is warm and flambéed at your table.  Oh my.  Rich.  Delightful.  Superlative. Chef Matt Barnes who devised this and all five desserts on their menu, told me they serve this as French toast on their yearly Easter and mother’s day brunches. I’m there.

I do hope new pastry chef Trish Minton keeps at least the bread pudding!  Her desserts will start debuting in a month or so and I’ll get back to you about them later.  And I still want to try the Sweet Potato Entremet – pecan sponge cake, Marsala mousse, sweet potato custard and chai tea crème anglaise so I’m going back soon.  I’m thinking it might go well with the Pumpkin Pie Martini. 

If not, I’ll just finish the dessert first and then relax with the martini.  I’m flexible.

30 West Pershing 
Kansas City, MO 64108 
Ph. (816) 221-5111's/738

Pierpont's at Union Station Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Places to Fall in Love - Story Restaurant

Story Restaurant

 is an elegant, upscale neighborhood restaurant serving fresh, local, seasonal creative American cuisine with Spanish, French and Italian influences. 

In August, Story’s wine list won a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, an honor that’s been bestowed upon just 10 Kansas eateries. Story was one of just a handful of the 3,800 restaurants to make this year’s Award of Excellence list to get a feature in the magazine. 

Some meals are just so special you can hardly write about them. Or take pictures. That’s apparently what happened at Story last night. This time we brought good friends, good eaters. The sun was out, and the breeze was light which made for a pleasant evening so we decided to seat outside on their nice patio and our service was delightful. 

Jeff Thrall, manager and sommelier at Story, came to our table and talked about wine. In September 29, they are having a wine dinner that sounds amazing. For more information, go to our calendar events. 

Braised beef short ribs with gnocchi, green beans, bacon and onion rings.

The food is always exceptional: meticulously prepared, flavorful, and pretty – that night even a relatively simple dish like “Ceviche” was executed with flair. Next course consisted of short pork ribs were simply delicious. Finally, a wonderful chocolate torte felt pretty good to our voracious appetites. 

Great wine, great food, great friends. What do we have to ask for more?

3931 West 69th Terrace 
Prairie Village, KS 66208 
Ph. 913-236-9955 

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

Onward (or Outward) to Hayward’s

Review: Hayward’s Pit Bar B Que 

Barbeque is a fairly localized event in Kansas City, due to sheer volume of tasty choices, if nothing else.  I’m told by a reputable source there are at least 100 in the metro area.  So we often stick to a place closer to home and call it our favorite.

But the other day I trekked out to Hayward’s Pit Bar B Que at 110th and Antioch and was very pleasantly surprised.  I’ve not been there since it was at 95th and Antioch and certainly not since Eric Sweeney bought it a little more than a year ago (Hayward Spears, the original owner, still remains the “face” of the restaurant and I assume his original sauce will [and should] never change.)

I can only speak for lunch, where the sandwiches are very large and very tasty.  The burnt ends actually tasted like burnt ends should.  The deep fried okra was crispy.  The beer, on special, was only $3 for a large glass of Boulevard pale ale – they have a decent beer selection in bottles as well.  Their sweet potato fries are waffle cut and they have four great sounding salads and their big platters of meats and sides are definitely filling.  They have barbequed salmon and baby backs, as well as lunch specials, including 5 ribs and a side which is what I’m getting next time.  Prices are reasonable.
We wanted their jalapeño poppers which aren’t on the menu but DO occasionally show up along with, say, cheesy bites or a specially created sandwich, on the “secret menu.”  Regulars there know to ask what owner Eric or manager Kyle have devised that day.  It’s not every day, and according to our waiter, “You come in on the right day and get lucky.”

We felt lucky enough to find traditional barbeque that was done right with an excellent sauce.  If you’re out South and about, try the locally owned Hayward’s, especially if you’ve not been there for a while.  You’ll be happy you did!   

When was the last time you have been to Hayward's BBQ

11051 Antioch Rd 
Overland Park, KS 66210 
Ph. (913) 451-8080 

Click to add a blog post for Hayward's Pit Bar-B-Que on Zomato

Pig & Finch

I just returned from a delightful lunch at Pig & Finch. I was greeted at the door by a friendly young woman and taken to my table. Russ (the wait staff person who comes highly recommended) took time to tell us about the menu options that were "in season" I chose the fish taco's that were delicious and will be off the menu at the end of the week plus the butternut squash and kale salad. The service was excellent, the atmosphere was wonderful and the patio is open for enjoying the weather. 

 Make this your next destination for an unforgettable experience.
Pig & Finch
11570 Ash
Street Leawood, KS 66211
 Ph. (913) 322-7444

Genovese does pizza perfectly — and everything else, too

After a trip to Topeka for soccer, we decided to stop at Genovese Italian in Lawrence. Owned by Subarna Bhattachan and Alejandro Lule — proprietors of Lawrence's popular La Parilla and Zen Zero dining spots — and Mexican-born chef Armando Paniagua. It's located in the three-story building, Genovese features seasonal rustic Italian cuisine from the Liguria region of North West Italy by the Italian Rivieras. The restaurant imported Italian made wood-fired rotisserie and charcoal grill. Additionally, another cooking feature is the gas/wood fired pizza oven. The menu features hot and cold antipastis, soup & salads, crisp thin pizzas, homemade fresh pastas --ravioli, fettuccine, pappardelle and gnoochi, and wood-fired rotisserie meats.

We were seated on the second floor and the dining room was noisy and upbeat, with high ceilings. The people can afford to become regulars here; the prices are modest. Diners can also choose from a wide range of wines from the wine list whether the $20 list, premium or reserve list. It is rare these days to find a bottle of wine for $20.

We started with an appetizer: Grass Fed Local Beef Carpaccio with Arugula, Capers, Parmesan & Extra Virgin Olive Oil - $7.5
The night's special was Sea Scallop with Truffles and Risotto. At $28, it's one of the least costly dishes on the dinner menu, and it's memorably satisfying.

The service at Genovese is low-key but gracious and observant. Over all, not surprising that the restaurant was packed.

941 Massachusetts Street.           
Lawrence, KS 66044
Ph. 785-842-0300
web site        
Genovese on Urbanspoon

Morton's Grille

Maybe the Worst Plaza Location . . . but Food is PRIME!

Ok we stopped for lunch, but it was all good. Oysters on the half-shell* MKT Cilantro Mignonette were eminently scarfable.  You have to walk to Morton's Grille -- it's where M&S Grille was but this new place is worthier of the walk.  I was told by Brad Smith, General Manager, that soon there would be a valet (for 7  bucks) but we just parked behind the place, sorta.

We're seating outside with a beautiful weather and our service was delightful.  If I could remember her name, I'd tell you to ask for her, but all the waitress were nice.  And they actually give recommendations, highly important in my book -- not just the old, "Oh, everything is great" which turns me purple.  Good drinks, too, also necessary to a bar.  Duh.

I think this place will be a worthy entry into the happy hour market in KC -- and for regular hours as well.   Wine and beer $4-5.  Nearly 20 items $8 or less, all off the regular menu could only make you happy, too.  Everything from burgers to steaks to fish on the menu -- it's a big one so there's lots for you (and me) to sample.

Portabello STEAK Fries 12
Parmesan Breadcrumbs, Blue Cheese-Tomato Fondue, Balsamic Glaze

Right now, there's maybe three places in the Plaza I like besides this one.   I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours . . .

4646 J.C. Nichols Parkway
Kansas City, MO 64112
Ph. 816-531-7799 
Morton's Grille on Urbanspoon

Soccer is driving us..

We have a little bit of chance to work from home because yesterday, we decided to go to Lawrence. The reason? Our son was playing soccer at Lawrence at 6:30pm. Well in France, we normally don't have dinner before 8pm but in this case, I have been dying to dine at Pachamamas.
Amuse Bouche

Pachamamas Restaurant is on the cutting edge of the culinary arts with national acclaim and numerous accolades received by Chef / Proprietor Ken Baker. If you've not been to this shiny restaurant for a while, hike on back.  It’s got a very cool vibe and an expanded Bar and outdoor dining area, should we ever be able to eat outside again.  Their happy hour with specials every night is worth the trip alone. 

To conclude, we didn't choose happy hour because the menu was too appealing! 

Smoked Carrot and Goat’s Milk Feta 

Blistered Peppers, Toasted Barley, Cocoa, Pumpkin Seed and Agave Vinaigrette 9

Cider-Braised Pork Osso Bucco

Smoked Gouda Grits, Warm Collard Slaw, Pickled Peaches, House Fermented “Trinity” Sauce 25

I am glad we had dinner at 5pm! Everything was delicious and our son won his game 5-0, Royals won! 

Great evening! 
Thanks Ken

800 New Hampshire
Lawrence, KS 66044
Ph. 785-841-0990            


When reviewing restaurants, I often find myself becoming something of a curmudgeon. I seem to expect failures, and so they often happen. It is the ultimate fate, I believe, of any critic, to be eternally disappointed. It is this resignation to destiny that makes a surprise so spectacular.
Two Saturdays ago, I received such a surprise at Room39. I had dined there many times before at lunch, and always found it to be a charming little coffee house/bistro, but nothing earth-shattering. If I had any idea what a wonder this place became at night, with white-linen clad tables and low light, I would have dropped everything and come running.
My wife and I had been out to the Auto Show and decided to get something in town, but, with it being a Saturday night, all the usual haunts were booked solid. I knew that Room39 had a dinner menu, so I suggested we stop in. .
All of their tables were booked, but a seat at the bar was kindly suggested. We took it, and found ourselves transported somewhere special. Suddenly the light seemed to dim, the noise faded into the background, and we were there, intimate at the bar, as if we were on vacation in some distant country.
My wife ordered a ‘French martini’, to start, some sort of fruity-flavored girl-drink concoction that I tried and approved. It was nice, and not over-sweet. I ordered a bottle of the Ridge Geyserville Zinfindel blend, an always reliable wine.
The bartender, who is also the manager of the restaurant, was literally perfect. He was present when needed (remarkable in a packed, small restaurant on a Saturday night), but never hovering.
Now on to the food: I started with the chicken livers. My wife ordered the crab cakes.
I hadn’t eaten a chicken liver since I was a child, but I’m fairly certain that these were the best I’d ever had, but the true superlative goes to the crab cakes. My wife grudgingly allowed me a taste, and we agreed that they were, like many things turned out to be that evening, perfect.
Next course consisted of sweetbreads for me and the beef ribeye for the Mrs. I love sweetbreads. They’re nearly impossible to find in Kansas City, and to have been surprised by their presence on an unplanned menu was a boon indeed.
They appeared to have been seared, as they had a delightful little crust, and the sauce was an excellent accompaniment, being dense and almost gravy like in flavor but with a much lighter texture.
The ribeye was also delicious, prepared to proper temperature and served in a traditional red wine preparation. There were these lovely little fried mashed potato thingies as a side dish. Crispy mashed potatoes. What a concept!
Finally, a wonderful crepe fell prey to our voracious appetites.
To really sum up this review, I have to mention that at one point during the dinner, shortly after tasting my sweetbreads for the first time, my eyes actually welled up with tears. I know how hokey that sounds, but it is true.
FOOD: 4 Stars. Cleverly and perfectly prepared.
SERVICE: 4 Stars. EVEN CORRECT CUTLERY SERVICE AT THE BAR! When most restaurants can’t get this right in an empty room on a weeknight, I always had a fresh fork. Now that’s what I call right.
ATMOSPHERE: 4 stars. Transported to a wonderful place is a pretty high assessment, I think.

--John Long

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