Table Hopping - July 2007
Summer is a time when eating with your hands becomes the rule rather than the exception. Traditional formal dining with silverware and fine china is replaced with a more casual, convenient and communal way to eat. This month Table Hopping recommends terrific restaurants that feature dishes you’ll want to get your hands on.
Blue Nile Café
20 E. 5th Street
Kansas City, MO 64106
It’s okay to use your hands, as Ethiopian food is traditionally eaten using only your digits and sponge-like bread called injera. Try the Blue Nile Café in the River Market owned by a friendly couple, Daniel and Selam Fikru. Take your injera and sop up any of the perfectly spiced 8 vegetarian and 6 meat dishes prepared fresh daily. Order the Combination Plate and get plenty for two people to taste the entire menu for under $20. END: With the Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony and order a piece of carrot pie to go with it.
7th Street and Walnut
Kansas City, MO 64106
This sexy supper club brings NYC to KC while serving traditional Northern Italian cuisine. The creation of Bill George and Victor Fontana, (who brought us Veco’s on 39th Street) Seven is supposed to be named after the street it lives on or the seven deadly sins. Experience them all by drinking your way through the themed martini menu. With food from the country that speaks with its hands, you get the opportunity to eat with yours. Order the dreamy Stuffed Artichoke with Crab and Lemon Butter for $11. Try a pizza with unusual and tempting toppings big enough to share for $12. Cotton candy is your palate cleanser before dessert. CALL: To make a reservation and ask to sit the large communal table for social dining and pick your time to dine.
The Mango Room
1111 Main Street
Kansas City, MO 64105
Wrapping around the corner of 12th and Main, the Mango Room serves bright dishes that are part island paradise and part southern home cooking. Owned and managed by couple Thelma Oliver and Executive Chef Ian Hockenberger, the two met while working at Grand Street Café. Pick up Jamaican Meat Patties or Fried Green Tomatoes to start. Enjoy finger-licking good Jerk Chicken, Catfish, and Brown Sugar Brined Pork Chop. Entrees are priced around $20 and include your choice two homey soul food sides. PARK: In the Town Pavilion lot at 1201 Walnut and bring ticket for validation. After 5 pm, street parking is also free.
Ask Jerry Naster, a former butcher turned owner of Woodsweather Café, what he thinks his place does best and he’ll say heaping-huge breakfast plates. Go to this little hole in the wall, in the West Bottoms, for lunch too and get your hands around one of the biggest and tastiest cheeseburgers in the city for only $4. A Frisbee-sized soft bun cradles the juicy beef patty (not too thick and not too thin) served with melted American cheese and loaded with fresh toppings. Order a side of hand-cut homemade fries. A note on the menu board says it all: “If you don’t see it, just ask us, anything is possible.” FIND: This place by looking for the colorful graffiti-style murals decorating the side of the cinder block building.
One Bite Japanese Grill
8602 West 133rd Street
Overland Park, KS 66213
Take the bullet train to Tokyo with just One Bite. Japanese tapas are made to mix and match, so pick up chopsticks and taste one bite of everything. Don’t expect to find sushi or teppanyaki, but do expect prices per item between $5 -$15. Dumplings are crispy on the outside and flavorful on the inside. The “Lollypop” features the biggest, most succulent scallops in town, perfectly cooked and wrapped in bacon. Imbibe sake or Japanese beer while you drink in the spotless and chic surroundings. KNOW: The two girlfriends that own the place will be unprepared for your appetite for their delicious food and drink, as they think of their place as a “Snack Bar”. Take their advice; start slow. Order at least twice.