Sunday, January 15, 2012
Kansas City Restaurant Week Preview 2012
Loosen your belts and prepare to feast! It is time for Kansas City Restaurant Week, a benefit for Harvesters. Giving back has never tasted so good as every lunch purchased will provide 7.5 meals and every dinner purchased from the restaurant week menus will provide 15 meals.
With over 120 restaurants, participating from all over the metro, diners will be able to visit all-time favorites as well as try the many new restaurants that have opened recently in the Kansas City metro area.
I had the chance to get a sneak peak at a few of the restaurants participating in KCRW set up for me by Page Communications, a great PR company here in KC. From the experiences I had, I have to say this will be one week not to be missed. With 3 course lunches for only $15.00 and 3 to 4 course dinners for only $30.00 it is a great way to explore the city and try out different places that have been on your list to get too.
The first place I got to experience was Avenues Bistro in Leawood, which has been on my list to get to for quite some time, so I was thrilled to have that as one of my assigned places.
Avenues Bistro Chef/Owner Joe Birch, voted as one of “America’s Top 25 New Chefs” in 2007 has traveled across, and studied the cuisines of Europe for the past 20 years. These travel experiences and his culinary training were the inspiration behind both the concept and the creation of the dishes at Avenues.
Below are some of the Restaurant Week menu choices available that I tried, and my take on them.
Classic Italian Caprese Salad – Tomato, Fresh Mozzarella and Basil
The combination of the creamy mozzarella and fresh basil is a winning combination. It is light but flavorful.
Butternut Squash Ravioli – Brown Butter, Percorino and Sage
The creamy pumpkin filling in the butter sage sauce is savory, with a hint of sweetness from the crushed Amaretto cookies sprinkled atop of the dish. This dish was special presentation at one of Avenue’s Iron Sommelier Wine Dinners and was so popular it has been added to the menu full time. This dish alone is worth the trip to Avenues Bistro!
Apple Cider Pork Tenderloin – Bacon, Onion Compote, Caramelized Apple
The favorite dish of the evening, tender pork wrapped in bacon with garlic-mashed potatoes.
Eggplant Rosa – Tomato Rosa Sauce and Balsamic Drizzle
All though I like eggplant, I have to admit if given the option between eggplant and something else, I would probably order the latter but not after trying this dish. The eggplant was crispy, the tomato sauce had just a hint of spice and the balsamic added a touch of sweetness.
Scandinavian Beet Salad- Fresh Greens , Beets, Candied Pecans, Goat Cheese
My perfect salad, my sister teases me that I like trail mix in salad and this has all the elements with the candied pecans and dried cranberries.
Rags of Pasta – Fresh Pasta, Lobster Shrimp, Peas, Tomato, Lobster Broth
This pasta dish is full of beautiful colors and the saltiness of the lobster broth pairs nicely with the sweetness of the peas.
Duck al’Orange – Organic Baby Carrots, Organic Baby Squash, Potato, Orange Sherry Reduction
The orange sherry reduction is sweet and the duck tender. Another A+ dish.
Mini Dessert Sampler- Chocolate Gateau, German Apple Cake, Visanto Cake, Bread Pudding
This is my dream dessert to get a little taste of each! All were so good.
I have had quite a few good meals here in KC in the past couple of years since starting this blog and I would have to rate this meal at Avenues Bistro as one of my top ten! If you do not have time to make it by during restaurant week, you can still enjoy the Scandinavian Beet Salad, the Butternut Squash Ravioli and the Apple Cider Pork Tenderloin, which are featured on the regular menu.
Next up was V's Italiano Ristorante. Growing up just northeast of V’s I remember that it felt like one of the fanciest place in town and a must for that first date or celebrating a special occasion.
The V’s Restaurant Week Dishes I tried were:
Garlic Arrosoto Appetizer- A whole roasted garlic clove with cream cheese and butter baguette. A great start to the meal. The garlic is flavorful and the baguette is crunchy.
House Salad- Crisp lettuce tossed in V’s signature dressing
Pasta Trio – This dish comes with a combination of manicotti, beef ravioli and spaghetti topped with a thick rich meat sauce. The red sauce is sweet and full of tomato flavor and great dish to try to get a little taste of everything.
Fettuccini con Polo- this dish includes a deep fried boneless chicken breast served over a bed of Fettuccini Alfredo with fresh broccoli. Though this dish is not exactly light, it is delicious and worth the splurge. Fried chicken and Alfredo are two of my favorite things so to have them combined in the dish made it a winner!
Italian Rum Cake- V’s very own signature rum cake topped with a fluffy frosting. Homemade, sweet and delicious.
V's KCRW menu also includes a glass of wine.
Family owned for over 45 years, V’s has over ten family members holding some type of job at the restaurant including 80 year old Grandma V. You can find her back in the kitchen slicing their famous Italian Rum Cake or working the lunch buffet and chatting with guests in the dining room.
Even though I still live fairly close to V’s it has been years since I have been. I had a fun trip down memory lane trying it again. I have been so busy scoping out other parts of city on this blog journey of mine, I have forgotten to look right in my own back yard. The food is great; the dark wood and garlic aroma give V’s a real Italian feel and the service is top notch. Look around your neighborhood and see what family favorite you have been passing by. KCRW is the perfect time to visit an old family favorite or try something new.
Lastly was EBT, which has been on my list to try as well so I was thrilled when this opportunity arose and it did not disappoint.
Located on the ground floor of the UMB building at 435 and Stateline Rd, EBT is named after the Emery Bird Thayer department store, which was once one of the biggest retailers in Missouri. The elegant dining room is adorned with many artifacts from the original department store including two, rod iron elevator cages that have been made into private seating areas.
Below are the Restaurant Week offerings from EBT.
Course one, choice of:
Iceberg Wedge – This salad is always a favorite in my book and EBT’s is a winner with a crisp iceberg lettuce wedge topped with gorgonzola cheese, fresh creamy bleu cheese dressing and sweet red onion.
Classic Caesar Salad- This salad can be prepared tableside and includes: crisp chopped romaine, fresh shaved parmesan and crunchy croutons.
New England Clam Chowder- Warm, hearty and creamy with chunks of real potatoes and tender sweet clams.
Kobe Beef Pot Roast- This was not my mother’s pot roast (and that is a good thing). The beef is Slow cooked for six hours and is incredibly tender. It is finished with a touch of red curry paste, sesame oil and ginger, which gives it a little kick. The snow peas and sweet potatoes served alongside the dish are the perfect accompaniment. This was my favorite dish of the evening and is the perfect comfort food prepared with a touch of class.
Grilled Atlantic Salmon- Perfectly grilled tender salmon served with wild rice, a crisp tender vegetable melody finished with a beurre blanc sauce.
Truffle, Balsamic and Honey Glazed Pork Chop- this is one of EBT’s most popular dishes and is available year around on their menu. The local pork chop is hand cut in house and grilled to perfection. The combination of the sweet glaze and the whipped butter mashed potatoes that came with it made this my second favorite dish of the evening.
New York Style Cheesecake – Classic and satisfying topped with fresh berries.
Chocolate Mousse Cake- Delightfully rich, moist and chocolaty.
For over 30 years EBT has been serving excellent fare including a tableside preparation of their signature Caesar Salad and Bananas Foster.
With EBT being on the KC restaurant scene for so long, it may tend to get overlooked. If you have not had the chance to try it, or if it has been awhile since you have, EBT is worth the trip.The unique atmosphere, with the elegant lighting and artifacts is like non other. Executive Chef Tate Roberts who has won many cooking competitions has created a timeless upscale menu that can rival some of the best places around.
Needless to say I had an amazing week wining and dining around town. KCRW is a great way to experience all the wonderful fare this city has to offer, so don't miss out. Kansas City Restaurant Week runs January 20 - 29.
For a list of participating restaurants or to get more information visit, www.kansascityrestaurantweek.com.
In Good Taste,