Kansas City Restaurant Week (January 13-22), presented by US Foods, features more than 180 participating restaurants in order to showcase the dynamic eating scene in KC. These restaurants offer multi-course, customized lunch and dinner menus at two pricing tiers ($15 and $33).
In this guide to the Plaza, Brookside, and Waldo neighborhoods, we stopped by Jax Fish House, Cooper’s Hawk Winery, and Osteria Il Centro to get a peek at three unique KCRW menus.
Jax Fish House (4814 Roanoke Pkwy), 816.437.7940
Chef de cuisine Theresia Ota steams clam, mussels, fish, shrimp, and calamari in a saffron tomato broth. As the broth and seafood heats, the aroma of fennel, garlic, saffron, and Pernod (an anise-flavored spirit), emanates from the sauté pan. Ota assembles the cioppino, a bountiful seafood stew, in a bowl with slices of toast topped with rouille, a savory Provençal sauce. Light yet layered with rich flavor, the cioppino is an ideal antidote for brisk winter weather.
Along with cioppino, blackened catfish, buttermilk fried chicken breast, and a shrimp roll topped with bacon and served with house made russet potato chips, round out the second-course options for the KCRW menu at Jax. First course selections include the Thai-influenced panang curry mussels, baby iceberg wedge salad, or a golden beet soup. Save room for a dessert: key lime tart or S’mores whoopie pie.
“KC Restaurant Week gives people a good idea of what it’s like to eat here,” says Ota. “You get to create your own adventure. It’s a comfortable environment with a friendly bar staff and servers, and good food.”
Whether attending for Restaurant Week or another time of year, guests “can come eat on a budget or celebrate an occasion,” says Ota. “We have a huge menu for anything you want. Seafood is not for everyone. We have fried chicken with smoked potatoes, earthy braised roots, greens, and pickled mustard seed vinaigrette. It’s great to drink with wine.”
For guests that want to start the evening early, Jax also offers a happy hour food sampler as an add-on to the meal. The fried calamari rings, made with bread crumbs shipped in from a Colorado bakery, is a must-try starter.
Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant (4686 Broadway Blvd.), 816.531.1500
For the third year in a row, Cooper’s Hawk will participate in Restaurant Week. First-time guests will find that the restaurant’s casual menu is designed with wine in mind.
“Each dish is listed with a bin number to guide guests to their selection’s perfect wine match,” says Ami Vanderhoof of Cooper’s Hawk. “It’s a wine-driven dining experience inspired by Napa Valley’s wine country.”
The restaurant’s spacious tasting room offers guests a space to sample a variety of wines and engage in discussion with wine club members and Cooper’s Hawk wine experts.
The pre-fixe three-course menu begins with appetizer choices of crab and lobster bisque, tortilla soup, or the soup of the day. Signature dishes for lunch and dinner include maple-mustard pretzel-crusted pork, which comes with Mary’s potatoes and roasted vegetables, or a guest favorite, Dana’s parmesan-crusted chicken. Other lunch options include the gnocchi carbonara with pancetta, chicken, sage, peas, and Parmesan garlic cream sauce, or spaghetti with meatballs. The dessert for lunch is a choice of three truffle selections.
Dinner appetizers range from roasted beets and goat cheese to caprese flatbread to chicken potstickers or savory jambalaya. Salted caramel crème brûlée is a highlight of the dessert course, but carefully consider the chocolate cake and S’more budino made with caramel custard, Valrhona chocolate mousse, and brown-butter toasted graham cracker.
“We hope that guests are able to have a wonderful experience with friends and family, as well as have a chance to explore and expand their palates with new dishes they may not normally try,” Vanderhoof says.
Osteria Il Centro (5101 Main St.), 816.561.2369,
Celebrating its 21st anniversary at its location just south of the Country Club Plaza, Osteria Il Centro remains one of the most romantic and cozy spots in town. The restaurant has 17 tables and seven bar stools and accepts no reservations for Restaurant Week. Be prepared, it is first-come, first-serve, but the wait is worthwhile.
“We like to see new faces. We’re a small, neighborhood restaurant,” says general manager Brent Wittrock. “We’re priced fairly and won’t break the bank.”
Regular customers often choose northern Italian dishes, seafood, and steak entrees. The Restaurant Week menu honors the best that Osteria Il Centro offers year-round.
“We feature what we do well. It’s hard to bring in a special menu for ten days,” Wittrock says.
Chef Jaime Saldago, who has been with the restaurant since it opened in 1999, brings out a best-selling dish of marinated and grilled five New Zealand lamb chops with steamed vegetables, rosemary garlic mashed potatoes, and rosemary brandy sauce. The chops — cooked to perfection with savory flavor – are an uncommon menu item across KCRW menus.
The first course begins with a choice of mixed green or Caesar salad. Other entrees are chicken spiedini (popular with regulars), veal piccata, Atlantic salmon, and chicken walnut penne served with a gorgonzola cream sauce. Dolce (dessert) selections include gelato, chocolate crème brûlée, New York-style cheesecake, chocolate cake, spumoni, and tiramisu.
Oenophiles take note. Osteria IL Centro was awarded its 19th consecutive Wine Spectator “Best of Award of Excellence” accolade. The restaurant has more than 1,000 wine selections, including 40 wines served by the glass, and a bar well-stocked with Scotch and whiskey.
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 the Plaza. 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.