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

Banquet Dinner - May 12

Six local chefs have teamed up with the Sunrise Project to hold a dinner at the Lied Center on May 12th. The Sunrise Project aims to connect the community with local and healthy food options. They have many projects working with children to instill the value of healthy eating. The ultimate goal is to build a thriving, self-sustaining community that works together to construct a better environment for future generations. Maybe someday down the road our children's school lunches will consist of locally sourced food. Sorry for rambling, here are the stars of the dinner:

Jay Tovar-Ballagh of Hank & Limestone
Ken Baker of Pachamamas
Rick Martin of LiMESTONE - 
Vaughn Good of Hank Charcuterie 
Zach Thompson of 715 
TK Peterson of Merchants Pub & Plate

Tickets are $125 per person and include wine and beer (vegetarian options will also be available). Please RSVP by May 1st to, and send payment to:

Sunrise Project
P.O. Box 1454
Lawrence, KS 66044

Or online: (Click "Donate Now") 

One Great Dish #2: A Speedy, Relaxing, and Delicious Meal

A recent conversation with Chef Matt Arnold of WebsterHouse was just fun because I got him to talk about making something I’m pretty sure even I can do: skillet steak with sautéed garlic spinach.  I’m going to talk you through this, just about the way he told me.

Get rib-eye, because the fat keeps it moist.  One to 1½ inches thick, at room temperature (say at least ½ hour out of the refrigerator).  Salt and pepper it – Chef Matt uses a rough grind on that pepper so it has lots of chunks.  Olive oil to coat the cast iron skillet, heated to just before smoking.  Sear the steak on one side, enough to create a crust, then flip it.  He takes it out at medium rare, about 3-4 minutes per side – high heat the whole time. 

In a separate fry pan over medium heat, more olive oil into which, once heated, you dump 2 or 3 decent sized garlic gloves, sliced as thinly as you can. Don’t let the garlic burn; you’re looking for golden here; throw in a nice pinch of chili flakes.  Also, if you’d like to experiment a bit, add some butter and a cut up anchovy stirred until it basically dissolves.  Throw in a couple handfuls of spinach, flash sauté it – the darker green it gets, the more you’ve cooked it – so don’t let it get too dark green.  It needs to retain its crunch and heft.

When he’s tired, hungry and really doesn’t want to cook for himself, this is what he enjoys at home.  And of course, he pairs it with a glass of Spanish or Italian very red.  Sure beats a TV dinner!

P.S. On an entirely different note, Matt and I started out talking about grits and how he likes to make those – and they serve a fabulous shrimp and grits at Webster House.  He says to buy them from Anson Mills, on-line at, because the quality is so discernably different from other brands.  I’ve already ordered pencil cob grits, among others, despite not knowing what that means.

#Recipe #KansasCity #Restaurant

Spotlight: Chef Matthew Arnold

There are many reasons to visit Webster House, as more and more Kansas Citians are discovering.  There’s its historical background as a grade school, impeccably restored and improved.  There’s its fabulous bar and happy hour.  There are its too inviting internal “shops” where I can always find something I “need.”  There’s its great proximity to the Kauffman Center (no accident, that) and the fact you can eat there, park there (free) and walk a few steps to a performance.  There’s its lovely patio and Sunday brunch menu. 

And then there’s Chef Matthew Arnold.  And, he would very quickly add, his talented and loyal staff.  This executive chef, “discovered” after a nationwide search, turned out to be a Lee’s Summit native – as these things go, he didn’t even know he was being interviewed for a job in Kansas City.  So by mid-2011, he packed his bags in North Carolina (The Dunes Restaurant) and took on the position.  Challenges included a soon to be skyrocketing volume (serve 200+ people the regular menu in the same 1.5 hours before a performance?  A burgeoning outside catering capability,(500 people, your place)?  Immediate and increasing demand, which he helped create of course, for on-premises dining and groups (party on-premises for 350?)  Nothing is a problem to this guy.  Challenge, maybe.  Fun, definitely.

Probably all chefs love food, but Matt’s enthusiasm is truly contagious.  Unlike some, he cooks at home, when he’s home, all the time, often spending his time perfecting or tweaking a dish he loves.  Pancakes, for instance, were a recent in-depth Sundays study. His favorite and continuous reading addiction is, you guessed it, cookbooks.  He loves to try all kinds of cuisine and still likes the food he grew up on – his granma’s fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, and the meat and potatoes of the Midwest – all of which he now does, with a twist.

Matt’s favorite thing about cheffing?  Well, there’s food of course.  But he also says it’s the people he’s come in contact with over his nearly 30 years in the business (yes, he started very young), friends and memories from all over the country.  He also mentions how hard working and persistent everyone he works with is and the passion for food and service they all share.

Matt wanted to be sure I remembered Webster House is not JUST a before-the-theatre event and it’s definitely not a “ladies who lunch” only place.  “Please don’t  pigeonhole us,”  he reminded.  As our conversation continued so easily, at one point we talked about the celebrity chef stuff where the persona sometimes seems stronger than the food. Matt’s philosophy is one that many could, should replicate:  “Stay myself, be simple, come on strong, focus on food.”    

Webster House
1644 Wyandotte
Kansas City, MO 64108
Ph. 816-221-4713            

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

Sullivan''s New Bar Menu

The Sullivan’’s Steakhouse in Leawood offers transport to another time and place, where cares are swept away and secrets are both shared and made. Located across the street from the Town Center Plaza on the southeast corner of 119th and Roe, you’ll be able to unwind after a long day of shopping with delectable food, first-class cocktails and swinging live music in a truly unique Leawood steakhouse atmosphere.

New dishes now include items such as:

  • Steak Flatbread with blue cheese, cherry peppers, mozzarella and balsamic glazed onions 
  • Loaded Potato Tots with bacon, chives, cheddar cheese & truffle aioli 
  • Sesame Chive Salmon with steamed spinach and sherry-soy glaze

4501 119th Street
Leawood, KS 66209
 (913) 345-0800
Web site

Sullivan's Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

You Sweet Thing, You II: When a Dessert Becomes an Experience

Hopefully you’ve read my most recent spread in The Guide about desserts (if not, click here). I do so like talking about spreads and not be referring to my irreparable waistline.

Anyway, one of the pastry chefs I talked about was Joseph Jackson at Affäre, a downtown establishment whose reputation for fine cuisine continues to escalate.  You can finish off your dinner with a blaze – literally.  Chef Jackson has created a fiery way for you to enjoy a sweet concoction, but also ask questions as you learn a little bit about the science supporting interesting effects and tastes.  Jackson, who worked at with American Restaurant’s Nick Wesemann (James Beard nominee for best pastry chef), says his interest in molecular gastronomy increased there – and his presentation really reflects this. So ask for the painted dessert and prepare to interact with artwork.

Here’s how it works:  you choose which desserts you and your companion(s) want. Think apple strudel, a deconstructed German chocolate cake, a mousse , for instance.  BTW, you need at least two people for this but they’ve served many more.  A metal cart is wheeled out with all kinds of bowls, bottles, spoons, and various ingredients, and a flat glass plate is set before you. Your chosen desserts are placed appropriately.  Then the fun begins as the plate is “garnished ” with all kinds of different and beautiful ingredients – from gelées to icings to fruit and ice cream.  And then, voila! final secret ingredients are added, and the entire thing is set ablaze, sparks flying upward for an ending flourish.  It is gorgeous!  And totally delicious.  An experience for sure.  

Affäre on Urbanspoon

The Art of Piropos

Piropos Restaurant in Briarcliff is unique in many ways including the one-of-kind art work that creates a dining environment that’s relaxed, friendly and fun. Just about all of the artwork placed in the bar & dining areas are from the streets, antique shops and galleries of Buenos Aires.

For example, the pictured small three-dimensional “Newsstand” located next to the reception desk is from the weekly Sunday art fair in the San Telmo area (often considered the original home of the Tango). This handmade and detailed art represents the thousands of street corner kiosks where Argentines stop to shop for their news, magazines and candy bars. These kiosks are only outnumbered by the flower stands that also dot BA’s boulevards.

Of course, in addition to enjoying the art work our Argentine style food and service are enhanced by the one-of-a kind views overlooking downtown Kansas City.

During the end of March 2015 and the month of April 2015, mention this blog and receive 20% discount of your favorite Argentinian wine. 

4141 N. Mulberry Drive 
Kansas City, MO 64116 
Ph. 816-741-3600 


Oyster Month JAX

March is oyster month at JaxFish House & Oyster Bar. Oysters are delicious, AND one of the most nutritionally well-balanced foods, containing protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats. 

During Jax KC's first ever oyster month, we celebrate this amazing mollusk by partnering with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Greater Kansas City to raise funds and awareness for this valuable charitable organization.

Our most exciting event occurs at the end of the month when, on Sunday March 29 at 2:00pm we stage an oyster eating competition. Teams of four will square off against each other- and the clock- to determine the most proficient oyster eaters in KC.Entry fee for the competition is $400/team.  The winning team receives a $1,000 cash prize. 

During the entire month, we also feature the "Dozen Dozens" promotion. Every time a Jax guest orders a dozen oysters, they will receive a raffle ticket. At month's end, the winner is drawn and will receive a punch card for 12 free dozen oysters to be enjoyed throughout the year.

The Let It Slide promotion is another fun opportunity for oyster fans to celebrate. Snap a pic of your best oyster-slurping shot and post to instagram. Use #jaxoystermonth and geo-tag your Jax location. Win a $100 gift card if your photo is the best.

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

#‎kansascity‬ ‪#‎jaxoystermonth‬ ‪#‎jaxfishhouse

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


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