Kansas City Restaurant Week (January 13-22), presented by US Foods, features more than 180 participating restaurants that showcase the dynamic eating scene around and in KC. These restaurants offer multi-course, customized lunch and dinner menus at two pricing tiers ($15 and $33).
In this guide to dining downtown, we stopped by Brown & Loe, The Sundry, and Cleaver & Cork to get a peek at three unique KCRW menus.
Brown & Loe (429 Walnut), 816-472-0622
Owners Harry Murphy and Kate McGlaughlin opened Brown & Loe in August 2016 near their popular Harry’s Country Club restaurant and bar in the City Market. This year marks the first time Brown & Loe has participated in Restaurant Week. Not surprisingly, it is a prime destination for new diners to explore.
Located near several Kansas City Streetcar stops in the River Market, Brown & Loe brings a classic American grill and “big city” bistro atmosphere to the thriving downtown neighborhood. Famed jazz artist Chet Baker’s silky voice croons in the background one afternoon.
“Designer John O’Brien understood the look and feel we wanted, a new classic similar to a timeless New York restaurant like Odeon,” McGlaughlin says.
Housed in a former Merchant’s Bank constructed in 1920, the restaurant retains architectural details such as verde marble floors, a marble staircase, and bank vaults downstairs. The decor and dark wood interior furnishings create a cozy sense of familiarity.
Chef James Paul produces a bistro-meets-grill menu to match the space. Paul describes the Restaurant Week menu and daily menu as “approachable comfort food with upscale presentation.” For the two-course lunch, starter options include a choice among two salads, potato soup with goat cheese and leek, or the popular pierogi with sharp cheddar, apple butter, crispy shallot, and sour cream. Lunch entrees include a cheeseburger and fries, hearty buttermilk chicken with fennel apple slaw, ancho tomato jam and house pickles; meatloaf with mashed potatoes, green beans and rosemary au jus; spinach ricotta dumplings with tomato-based ragout and sauteed mushrooms, or Wild Isle salmon with savory farmers cheese arancini, crispy leeks, English peas, and roasted tomato in a light coconut milk broth. Dinner starters remain the same. Pan-roasted chicken is swapped in for buttermilk chicken and ancho chile-rubbed short ribs replace the meatloaf as two of the four entree options. Ice cream, sorbet, or irresistible S’mores pot de creme are your dessert options.
“Way too many people don’t know yet that we’re here. I look forward to seeing what Restaurant Week brings,” McGlaughlin says.
The Sundry (1706 Baltimore), 816.844.7878
Located in the heart of the Crossroads Arts District, The Sundry was created as a local grocery store to serve the community of downtown residents, workers, and visitors. But the store isn’t a traditional suburban supermarket by any means. It offers an array of regional produce and meats, fresh-baked breads, spices and seasonings, prepared foods, and handcrafted products from local food companies in a convenient neighborhood market setting.
“Our food from the kitchen and market is super seasonal,” owner Ryan Wing says.
Further, The Sundry serves a selection of freshly prepared food from its kitchen menu with signature staple sandwiches, such as Greek chickpea wrap and a Cuban sandwich. Daily specials range from tamales to panini to pastrami on rye, plus seasonal features like vegetable curry, hearty winter salad, and Korean beef. Eclectic possibilities abound.
“Our food is approachable and locally sourced,” general manager Lilly Long says. “It’s a casual setting. You know where your food comes from and much of it is made here.”
For Restaurant Week, Lamb & Beef Gyro with housemade tzatziki, red onions & lettuce on fresh pita, and vegetable curry, are two lunch selections with either lemon rosemary polenta or chocolate chunk cookie as dessert. The $15 meal includes homemade soda, tea, or coffee. Some house fountain soda flavors are basil mint ginger ale, lemon elderflower, and gin fizz.
The Sundry chose to emphasize its kitchen and market with its menu. For its value-priced dinner (2 people for $33), starter choices are flatbread or a charcuterie plate that gathers an array of local meats (several of the cured meats are made in-house by The Sundry’s butcher) and cheeses with crackers and pickles made in house. Dinner entrees are pad thai and a Cuban sandwich on housemade bread. The meal includes two drinks: beer, wine, house soda, tea, or coffee.
Look for The Sundry’s new bar in early January that will feature local beer and wine on tap along with a small plate bar menu and charcuterie. Another addition to come is a charcuterie case, or curing cabinet, that displays cured meats as they age.
Cleaver & Cork (1333 Walnut St., Power and Light District), 816.541.3484
Billed as a gourmet butcher-driven gastropub, Cleaver & Cork puts a spotlight on premium meat and seafood in its upscale Midwestern-influenced dishes. The restaurant sources meat and produce as available from local and regional farms and ranches. The list includes Parker Natural Meats, Bell Farms, Circle P Ranch, Campo Lindo, Goode Acres, Simply Food, Prairie Birthday Farm, and Crum’s Heirlooms.
For Restaurant Week, the menu is a reflection of Cleaver & Cork’s popular items on its regular menu.
“We want people to experience what we do here. We’re farm to table, upscale yet rustic. It feels more warm and homey versus fine dining,” sous chef Jon Prange says.
First-course options include a spring green salad, butter lettuce salad, sweet potato soup, or sausage soup that features sausage from the Local Pig butcher shop. Morita salt is used in the sweet potato soup.
“Morita salt is a blend of roasted and ground dry chili with sugar and salt. It’s similar to chipotle,” Prange says.
Entrees include maple wood-smoked pork shoulder with BBQ aioli, braised cabbage and cornbread pudding; market fish with butternut squash succotash and miso beurre blanc; four-oz. filet with roasted fingerling potatoes and oyster mushrooms; and vegetarian lasagna made with marinara, zucchini, oyster mushrooms, Swiss chard, and ricotta.
The dessert choices are smoked creme brulee — using a hint of maple wood-smoked sugar for smokiness “that isn’t too overpowering,” — and gooey butter cake with salted caramel and whiskey ice cream.
February 2017 marks the second anniversary of the restaurant. For guests that haven’t dined at Cleaver & Cork yet, it’s time to take advantage of the Restaurant Week deal and book a reservation.
Kansas City Restaurant Week is sponsoring a series of posts about the menus and food of restaurant week, which runs from January 13 through January 22, 2017. In this week’s post, Pete Dulin covered downtown. Stay tuned for future installments in neighborhoods across the metro. The Recommended Daily is a Bronze Fork Sponsor of KCRW. The culinary showcase also serves as a fundraiser with 10 percent of KCRW sales going to BoysGrow, Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired, Cultivate Kansas City, Kansas City Regional Development Foundation, and the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.