Believe it or not, 185 area restaurants are participating in Kansas City Restaurant Week, presented by US Foods, which runs through Sunday, January 24. If someone ate each lunch and dinner at a different venue for all 10 days of the event, he or she would barely make a dent. Since the week cannot be extended, the other option is to make careful choices about where to go and what to eat. So many possibilities.
Michael Forbes Bar & Grill (128 W 63rd Street), 816-333-4355
Owner Michael Forbes Cross and his eponymous restaurant have been a presence in the Kansas City restaurant scene since 1985, when his restaurant first opened at 75th and Wornall. The neighborhood eatery has been based in Brookside for the past four years. The restaurant closed temporarily in spring 2015 as the result of a fire. Customers from Brookside, Waldo, and other parts of the city have returned for the comfortable setting and long-time favorites on the menu.
“We remodeled to create a brighter, more sophisticated atmosphere,” says Forbes Cross. “We appreciate the local support.”
Restaurant Week specials will put a spotlight on classic dishes from the regular menu. For example, the steak demi-glace is prepared with a juicy, tender cut of teres major grilled to taste. Sliced, sauteed portobello mushrooms, mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus and a demi-glace complete the dish.
Other selections include steak gorgonzola rigatoni with mushrooms, red onion, tomato, and a garlic cream sauce. The chicken marsala with orzo or shrimp etouffee provide hearty alternatives.
The promotional dining week is a fine opportunity to discover what neighborhood patrons already know – classic dishes and friendly service never go out of style.
The Well, (7421 Broadway Street), 816-361-1700
Since The Well opened in Waldo nearly six years ago, the food prepared by Chef Eric Quisenberry and his kitchen team have been a key part of the restaurant’s draw. The menu is loaded with familiar comfort food prepared well and priced at a good value. That formula hasn’t changed with The Well’s Restaurant Week menu offerings.
“We use fresh ingredients and make our food in-house,” says Chef Quisenberry. “It’s at an affordable price point. We have a varied menu from pasta to Mexican to hot wings.”
No matter what a guest might be hungry for, no one feels left out, Quisenberry states.
The Restaurant Week lunch menu includes a first-course selection of soup, salad (house or Caesar), or trio of dips (guacamole, Boursin cheese-and-bacon, and roasted garlic ricotta) with tortilla chips and pita. Second-course possibilities range from roasted pork banh mi to grilled portobello panini to the popular metro chicken sandwich with barbecue sauce, caramelized onion, bacon, and cheddar on a Farm to Market egg bun. Dessert is a tossup between sweet potato maple cheesecake or dark chocolate flourless torte (gluten-free).
For dinner, the starters and desserts remain the same. One entree is a trio of carne asada street tacos. Gluten-free corn tortillas are filled with tender beef, jalapeno slaw, pico de gallo, queso cotija, and avocado. Or, perhaps a platter of beer-battered fish (cod) and chips with celery seed coleslaw, fries, and tartar sauce will hit the spot. Two other options include New Orleans jambalaya and the fresh catch of the day.
“The fresh catch will vary,” Quisenberry says. “We have fresh fish flown in and it might be scallops, grouper, mahi mahi, or something else.”
Summit Grill & Bar (4835 NE Lakewood Way, Lee’s Summit), 816-795-1299, (500 W 75th St., Waldo), 816 361 9788
Co-owners Andy Lock and Domhnall Molloy created a warm, friendly gathering place at both of Summit Grill & Bar’s locations. The decor is simple and classic with soft lighting and dark wood throughout both spaces. Whether celebrating a special occasion, meeting friends for a glass of wine, or venturing out for date night, Summit Grill manages to make guests feel at home.
Chef Po Wang has worked at the Waldo location for the past year and formerly worked at the Lee’s Summit location for three years. He brings out a sample dish featured on both the lunch and dinner menu. Grilled Gerber Amish chicken breast and wing with herbs and lemon holds court among roasted carrots, turnips, fingerling potatoes and Brussels sprouts with a touch of pan jus. The dish is light, healthy and filling comfort food, proving that particular combination doesn’t have to be an oxymoron.
Other alternatives for lunch and dinner entrees include Kansas City strip, frites (fries), and Bordelaise sauce, or grilled shrimp, butternut squash risotto, and lardons. First course options include a chopped salad, Caesar salad or pork and green chili soup. For the dinner deal, dessert choices range between chocolate gooey butter cake with vanilla bean ice cream or creme brulee and fresh berries.
“Last year we had a good turnout for Restaurant Week,” says Chef Wang. “It’s a good time for people to try something new. We received good feedback about serving entrees for our meals instead of just a sandwich or something.”
If inclined, enjoy the meal with a glass of the featured wine, Estancia Chardonnay or Estancia Cabernet Sauvignon. Another option is the Bruce E. Lee, made with Union Horse rye whiskey, five spice syrup and muddled orange, one of the many specialty cocktails on the regular menu.
Gram & Dun (600 Ward Parkway), 816-389-2900
Since it opened and commanded a prime spot on the Country Club Plaza, Gram & Dun has remained a popular destination for weekend brunch, evening cocktails and dinner, lunch and happy hour. Cold winter weather may discourage guests from dining on the patio lined with fire pits, outdoor bar and ample seating. Not to fret. The spacious dining room and indoor lounge offers ample space for those savvy enough to reserve a spot during Restaurant Week. For first-time visitors, Gram & Dun’s cuisine is a wide selection of upscale, hearty gastropub fare with Southern influences.
The Restaurant Week lunch and dinner menus are a showcase of many popular mainstays on the regular menu, but grouped into value-driven courses. Soup of the day, chicken and sausage gumbo, Brussels sprouts and kale, or goat cheese salad comprise the lunch starter options. Dinner starters are largely the same except for a winter salad to replace the goat cheese salad.
Lunch entrees include a Magnus salad where citrus-cured salmon is the star among Napa cabbage, kale, toasted sesame, crunchy ramen and other ingredients. The Local Pig Smoked Ham refers to a roasted pork loin sandwich with Gruyere cheese and cilantro pesto. Corn-fried catfish, chicken roulade, short rib grilled cheese, and the popular burnt end mac-and-cheese round out the main plates.
Dinner entrees include Great Lakes walleye with spaghetti squash, confit fennel puree, fennel chips and young mustard greens; chicken roulade with asparagus persillade, roasted shiitake and oyster mushrooms with bacon jam; carbonara bucatini with guanciale and cured egg yolk, and hanger steak with sweet potato gratin, bordelaise sauce, and lardo green beans.
Manager Justin Whaley confirms that the breaded double pork chop with creamed Brussels sprouts and house-smoked bacon is a best-seller on the dinner menu.
Two dessert choices make the decision tough. PB&J cream pie with peanut butter ice cream or the Gram & Dun bar loaded with chocolate mousse, ganache, peanut nougat, salted caramel, pretzel, and peanut butter ice cream.
Restaurant Week is a good reason to step away from Netflix, get a breath of fresh air, and dine on delicious dishes at local restaurants. Whether trying a new dish or satisfying a specific craving, menus at these restaurants offer plenty of choices to eat healthy or indulge in the New Year just this once.
Kansas City Restaurant Week is sponsoring a series of posts about the menus and food of restaurant week, which runs from January 15 through January 24, 2016. Last week, Pete Dulin covered downtown and the River Market and Westport/39th Street. Stay tuned for future installments in neighborhoods across the metro. The Recommended Daily is a Silver 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.