If Kansas City is a meat town, Dario Cecchini could make a strong bid for mayor. The butcher of Panzano, forever tied to Bill Buford’s Heat, Cecchini will return to KC, just under five years after his first visit to cook at chef Michael Smith’s namesake restaurant (1900 Main).
“We took him to Bichelmeyer and he loved the family. The idea that they grew their own stuff really connected him,” Smith says. “He loved the hospitality here and we kept in contact over the years.”
This time, Smith is hosting the Tuscan butcher for three dinners and a lunch spanning between Tuesday, June 3, and Thursday, June 5. The dinners are a sonnet to carnivores with garlic sausage, roast pork, tomato stew and enough beef to rebuild a cow indoors. [All four menus are here.]
“He’ll do porcetta — pork cooked slowly in oil — and his version of tartare, which is seared on the bottom and served on a skewer,” Smith says.
At dinner the first night (which is sold out), Cecchini and the Local Pig’s Alex Pope will be breaking down a goat and a pig. Pope and Smith will be cooking the dinner and then Cecchini will step back into the kitchen for the meals on Wednesday and Thursday. But he’ll also be in the dining room plenty because he’s bringing a pair of cooks with him from Italy.
“He’ll be singing opera and going from table to table, telling stories and talking about his philosophy,” Smith says. “It’s a meet and greet because I want people to get to know him.”
The dinners begin at 6:30 p.m. and cost $185. Lunch ($60) on Thursday, June 4, is with chef Jasper J. Mirabile Jr. and features a series of Tuscan-inspired dishes: Campo Lindo chicken livers crostini, Tuscan bread and tomato salad, hand-rolled pasta and slow-simmered meat sauce, and a pork roast and Tuscan beans. You can make reservations by calling 816-842-2202 or e-mailing Nancy Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org
“As Dario says in his way, ‘People must eat until they die.'” Smith says.