Table Hopping – August 2010
“New places, new faces, new food.”
813 W. 17th Street
Kansas City, MO 64108
Chef Heidi VanPelt-Belle had already made a name for herself in the raw food world with her line of cashew cheeses called Playfood. While catering, she began looking for a space to open her own restaurant. Located on the Westside, they could not have picked a better neighborhood to open Kansas City’s first 100% all vegan restaurant. You don’t have to call yourself anything to appreciate the fresh and simple dishes that come from Heidi’s kitchen. Vegetables never tasted so good. At brunch, try the Mushroom Medley for $8. You’ll get sautéed portabella mushrooms, local greens, red peppers and onions. It comes with roasted red potatoes and a homemade biscuit. GET: there early for the largest selection of menu items, as the day wears on, menu items get crossed off, a sign that fresh seasonal food is being used.
101 West 22nd Street
Kansas City, MO 64108
After a series of successful Viennese restaurants in New York and Europe, Chef Peter Grunauer has, with the help of his son Nicholas and daughter Elisabeth, opened his next place in the Freight House District. This new restaurant delivers traditional Austrian dishes like Wiener Schnitzel and Hungarian Beef Goulash. Try the Schweinbraten featuring thick slices of fork tender roasted pork and bread dumplings only $18. Don’t miss sampling their wonderful selection of handmade sausages. The food is comforting and the space is really the perfect accompaniment to it. The experience is upscale but the prices are surprisingly easy on the wallet. VISIT: the Wunderbar, inside of Grünauer, serving Austrian beer, wine and hand-crafted cocktails. Wunderbar also serves a late night bar menu until 1:30 am every night.
14861 Metcalf Avenue
Overland Park, KS 66223
Co-owners Ivan Marquez and the absolutely mesmerizing, Victor Esquada, have been educating the dining public for years at their other two Mexican restaurants, Guadalajara Café and Ixtapa, about the evils of Tex-Mex food that is smothered in yellow cheese. With their newest restaurant, Frida’s, it finally feels like their message has found the right venue. Expect flavorful, authentic, lighter dishes that hum with delicate ingredients like squash blossoms, pomegranate seeds and huitlacoche. Get the Pescado al Cilantro, fish of the day marinated in a cilantro pesto then grilled with almonds and Cotija cheese, served with green rice and vegetables for $10 at lunch and $17 for dinner portion. GO: to Frida’s for dinner first, the menu has a much broader selection of dinner-only specialties.
201 Main Street
Independence, MO 64050
Ken and Cindy McClain, have made it their mission to revive and keep vital the heart of old downtown Independence, MO. Ophelia’s is just one of many restaurants that the McClain’s own on the square, but is the more formal of the bunch. A talented new chef is in the kitchen in Chef Nick Jonjevic formerly from Powell Gardens. Ophelia’s is a destination in dining, and not to be missed. Try the Seared Sea Scallops which are day boat scallops served with melted celery, and a granny smith apple potato cake topped with vermouth butter and smoked bacon for $25. STAY: at Ophelia’s Inn, located right above the restaurant, in the heart of Independence Square. You could make a weekend of it.
419 Westport Road
Kansas City, MO 64111
Owner, Aaron Confessori, is a sharp operator. Having managed several restaurants in Kansas City, he went back to culinary school at the French Culinary Institute in New York and graduated in 2009. Aaron came back and transformed the old Blanc Burgers + Bottles space into a lovely French bistro with dark wood paneling and white subway tiles. The WC&B serves simple French bistro food. Aaron developed the menu with classics like Croque Monsieur, Chicken Liver and Foie Gras Mousse and Mussels. Get the Grilled Octopus with roasted potatoes with linguica sausage and lemon for $9. SIT: at the bar, before your meal. You may be waited on by some of the best mixologists in the city, like Beau Williams of soon to be re-opening, Manifesto.