I'll confess right now, I am not a gambler. Not when it comes to my money, at least. Maybe, when I am in Vegas, I may drop a few bucks playing slots, poker or roulette, but my life savings in never in jeopardy when I play. I ALWAYS expect to lose my money, and usually do.
No, I go to casinos for the restaurants, and I go looking for quality, not quantity. (No, buffets for me, please.) I don't prefer to be herded like cattle through my dinner, and I don't want something that feels like a corporately scripted dining experience either. I want to be relaxed, engaged and entertained, just like the people playing the games of chance out on the floor. Casinos in local towns across the country should reflect the food of the city they are located within, and in Kansas City that means steak.
'37 Steak, named after the year the first Harrah's opened in Reno, NV, is located inside of Harrah's North Kansas City Casino. This new restaurant opened over the summer after a complete make-over of Mike & Charlie's Italian restaurant and another smaller cafe that was located next door. By combining these two spaces into 37 Steak, they were able to add a separate dining room and bar experience each with their own soundtrack and mood, and they were able to add three additional private party rooms, each of them a little bigger than the next. (Think about hosting your holiday parties here, people. This place would be perfect, and with a hotel located on-site no one would need to drink and drive.)
Local GM, Bibi Jorjadze, was brought in by Harrah's, from outside the world of casinos to keep fresh thinking at the forefront of the restaurant operations here. He, along with local craft cocktail bartender, Michael Strohm, (seen at work in the video above) are working diligently to create the feeling of warm, relaxed hospitality with added table side touches that are educational and just plain fun. From craft cocktails made table side by Michael, himself, to the pacing of the meal and recommendations from our excellent server Victor, the experience and decor was top notch all the way. Victor kept track of every part of our meal once we had placed our order, we were just able to sit back and relax.
(As a side note, you might not realize the challenges of being a bartender or server in a casino in Missouri. The Missouri Gaming Commission does not allow employees to have even one drop of alcohol while they are on the clock. This means that Micheal cannot straw test his drinks before serving them, and it means that all wine training with the wait staff has to be done after hours and off-site, usually at a local wine distributors conference room. Michael says he simply makes his cocktails enough times to KNOW that they taste right when he makes them right in front of you. Practice makes perfect, you know.)
Finally the food at 37 Steak was the closest I have come to having an excellent steak & seafood house experience in Kansas City in a long, long time. Entrees all come a la carte and you can then add shareable sides to dress up your meal. The prices are all in line with the better steak & seafood restaurants around town, but it is the personal touches that make dining here really sparkle. An example would be, we did not order any of the sauces or butters to go with or on our steak or lobster, and yet Victor thoughtfully brought out small ramekins of 3 different ones of us to try. Nice touch.
The wine list at 37 Steak is, at the moment, corporately mandated, with the typical suspects and mass marketed bottles, but THAT, Victor tells me, is something else this local band of entrepreneurial restauranteurs are trying to change inside the machine. Victor, who is also a Sommelier, steered us in the direction of the best red he had for steak and the best white for lobster, and both pairings were excellent.
The nice thing about the menu here is that you can eat as conservatively or as extravagantly as you like. Come in and get a glass of wine and order the lobster bisque and a salad, or go ahead and get the 18 oz. lobster tail and a bottle of wine. Bring a friends and share appetizers before a show at the VooDoo Lounge, or bring your Mom or Dad here for their birthday before you give them a little gambling money and turn them loose into the casino. Play it anyway you want.
So, if you are looking for a wonderful steak and seafood dinner in Kansas City, I highly recommend making reservations at 37 Steak . . .and be sure to order a cocktail from Michael and ask for Victor to be your server. This is a winning combination that can't be beat. Enjoy!
(NEWSFLASH: I am excited to see that local Chef Nick Estell has been named the new Executive Chef at '37 Steak. He was formerly at The Final Cut Steakhouse at the Hollywood Casino.)
Located inside of Harrah's North Kansas City Casino
1 Riverboat Drive
North Kansas City, MO 64116