Eat the East Coast Without Ever Leaving the Crossroads

The Rieger's lobster roll (left) and BLVD Tavern's Beef on Weck (bottom right) are true to their East Coast roots.

The Rieger’s lobster roll (left) and BLVD Tavern’s Beef on Weck (bottom right) are true to their East Coast roots.

You know that vacation you’ve been saving for this summer? It’s time you raided that fund. We’re about to give you an eating tour of New England you can tackle on foot without ever stepping outside the boundaries of one Kansas City neighborhood. We recommend you walk, based on the number of calories you’re going to consume.

Across fine dining spots and dives, there is a delicious East Coast bias running like a sweet and spicy vein just begging to be mined by hungry Crossroads diners. The best part is getting East Coast fare for Midwestern value. So find a plastic lobster bib and let’s get into this. Here are six ways to ‘Eat the East Coast Without Ever Leaving the Crossroads.’

Mini lobster rolls – The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange (1924 Main Street). A little bit of Maine anchors the Happy Hour at The Rieger.  The mini lobster rolls sail through the dining room on a wooden plank until a pair of petite brioche buns arrive bursting with chunks of lobster meat topped with crème fraiche and fresh herbs.

Beef on Weck, Rochester White Hot – BLVD Tavern (320 Southwest Boulevard). Rochester, New York, is like Kansas City’s meat-loving cousin. And chef Derek Nacey, who co-owns the BLVD Tavern wth his wife Meghan, honors his native city with two true-to-style menu items: Beef on Weck and the Rochester White Hot.

The first is a thinly sliced roast beef sandwich served on a salt and caraway bun (Nacey adds the caraway seeds to a Farm to Market roll) alongside creamy horseradish and a cup of au jus. The second is a classic upstate New York frankfurter made entirely in house. Nacey uses an even split of ground Duroc pork and veal that he spices with lemon, white pepper, mace and ginger. That meat mixture is emulsified with heavy cream and water before it’s packed into natural pork casing, poached and grilled to order. Nacey’s dog is then topped with pickled red onion, pickled mustard seed and a bread and butter pickle spear.

Cheese Steak – Grinders (417 E 18th Street). Like bagels in New York City, an authentic cheese steak seems to be a thing that requires the eau de Philadelphia. But the two-hander at Grinders offers a potential local exception to the rule. Chef and owner Jeff ‘STRETCH’ Rumaner is a son of Philadelphia and he puts out a proper hoagie piled high with shaved steak and generous amounts of Cheez Whiz. The tots that you’re going to order are not quite as traditional, but you’ll get over the guilt as you dredge them in DayGlo cheese sauce.

Zim’s Hot Wings, Fluffernutter – The Brick (1727 McGee Street). Owner Sheri Parr has assembled a melting pot of culinary influences from across the country. She’s got Frito Pie and a Chicago-style hot dog, but today, we’re getting into something spicy and something sweet.

Zim’s Hot Wings, liberally bathed in Todd Zimmer’s hot sauce are crispy with a lingering heat. They are the slightly tart, sincerely addictive wings that are inexorably tied to Buffalo, New York (where Zimmer was born).

After wings like these, one must cool down with a Fluffernutter – which combines creamy peanut butter and Marshmallow Fluff (a sweet spread manufactured in Lynn, Massachusetts, which New Englanders have long maintained should replace jelly as PB’s natural counterpart). The salty and sweet components are sealed together on the griddle between two pieces of toasted wheat. It’s lunch and dessert all in one go.

[Images via Facebook: The Rieger, The Brick, BLVD Tavern]

Jonathan Bender

Jonathan Bender is the founder of The Recommended Daily.

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