Kansas City Restaurant Week returns January 18-27 for the fourth year in a row and with more than 120 restaurants enrolled, this is sure the best restaurant week so far. Each participating restaurant features a prix fix menu with various courses for lunch and dinner at $15 and $30, respectively. Helping out never tasted so good as ten percent of each Restaurant Week menu meal ordered will be used right here in KC and support Harvesters, The greater Kansas City Restaurant Educational Foundation and The Kansas City Regional Destination Development Foundation.
The amazing staff over at Page Communications hooked me up with some participating restaurants to get a sneak peak (and taste) at some of the dishes. From what I can tell, trying to decide where to go is going to be one of the toughest decision you will ever have to make. In addition to the tasty dishes, each place had a little hidden gem quality I discovered.
OP 1906: This was my first visit to OP 1906 Bar and Grille and the hidden gem here is the place itself. Located in the Overland Park Sheraton, it is overlooked by most locals as an actual restaurant to dine at even if you are not guest of the hotel. OP 1906 offers an eclectic menu, a beautiful three-season patio with fire pit and friendly staff. Make sure and ask for Hisham he will take excellent care of you.
The 3-Course Dinner Menu:
Choice of Appetizer:
Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo
Pan Seared Sea Scallops
New Orleans Style BBQ Shrimp
Choice of Entrée:
Pan Seared French Cut Chicken
Veal Osso Bucco
Choice of Dessert:
Cinnamon and Sugar Dusted Beignets
Apple Cranberry Crisp
For the appetizers, we had the pleasure of trying the Gumbo and Scallops. The Gumbo was spicy and yummy and perfect for a cold January day. The scallops were nicely seared with a caramelized crust and had a smokey flavor. The accompanying carrots added a touch of sweetness.
The Chicken and Osso Busso were the entrees of choice and both delicious. The chicken was tender and juicy with a crispy skin and the chive gnocchi accompaniment was so good! The Osso Busso was fall of the bone tender and asparagus risotto perfectly cooked.
Dessert was one of each. The Cinnamon and Sugar Dusted Beignets came with a sea salt caramel dipping sauce and a “hot” chocolate dipping sauce that literally had a kick of heat to it. It teased the taste buds with a sweet cocoa flavor at first with a spicy finish that was unique and delicious! The Apple-Cranberry Crisp featured an Almond Granola Streusel and was full of sweet apples and real cranberries.
Coal Vines: I was thrilled to have Coal Vines on my list as I have been trying to make it in since they opened a couple years ago. (So many places, so little time has become the story of my life but I am certainly not complaining as I have never had so much fun trying new places.) All though Coal Vines is known mostly for their pizza, Restaurant Week gives them the opportunity to highlight some other dishes that do not appear on the menu very often or are part of their specialty and banquet menus.
Speaking of banquet menus brings me to the hidden gem of Coal Vines, which is The Wine Vault Room. This space is available to book for private events and parties. The space is rustic with a beautiful bar are and décor featuring dark wood, stone, and brick.
Coal Vines Award Winning Meatballs
Prosciutto Wrapped Figs
Tomato Basil Soup with Goat Cheese Crostini
Italian Meatball Wedding Soup
Choice of Salad:
Coal Vines Award Winning Caesar Salad
Mesclun Greens with Bacon Dijon Vinaigrette
Choice of Entrée:
Fennel Crusted Salmon Crab Crusted Rainbow Trout
Caramelized Onion Chicken Marsala
One Glass of House Wine
The appetizers we tried were the Prosciutto Wrapped Figs, Meatballs and Tomato Basil Soup with Goat Cheese Crostini. The figs were salty and sweet, the meatballs rustic and comforting. The soup had ribbons of fresh basil and the goat cheese crostini is one of the best things I have ever ate.
The Mesclun Salad is full of cranberries, green apple, goat cheese and a house made bacon Dijon vinaigrette. The smokiness of the dressing paired with the sweetness of the cranberries made this salad a new favorite in my books.
The Caramelized Onion Chicken Marsala was the entrée of choice. The tender chicken covered in the Marsala cream sauce was tasty and the side of mashed potatoes completed the dish.
Last on the list is La Bodegaand the hidden gem here that really is not so hidden is that there are two locations in the metro to enjoy the unique Tapas and menu items they offer. The original location is located on Southwest Boulevard and the other is in Leawood in the One-Nineteen Shopping Center. La Bodega is always a favorite and I love the quote on their website about how the art of sharing dishes just brings people together. The Restaurant Week menu includes a number of Tapas choices. Our server surprised us with a variety of various Tapas to try.
Papas Fritas Con Ajo – Refried-roated potatoes with garlic, parsely and garlic-cumin aioli
Vieras Con Jamon Serrano – Scallops wrapped with Spanish ham, served with red pepper aioli
Costillas Cortas – Spanish short ribs spiced with smoked paprika and a chipolte-apricot wine reduction
Crespelle de Feta Puerros – Thin crepes layered with feta cheese, leeks and basil
Queso Flameado – Fried Cotija cheese in tomato fresco, lit tableside with Bacardi
Solomillo con Cabrales – Grilled beef tenderloin crusted with Spanish bleu cheese
Brotxeta – Grilled shrimp wrapped with pancetta, served with horseradish cream sauce
The potatoes were garlicy, the fried cheese gooey and melty, the tenderloin with bleu cheese outstanding. I could honestly go on and on, all were so good. The one reason I love La Bodega so much is you get to try so many little bites of everything. The Churros dessert featured for Restaurant Week is not available on the regular menu but if you find yourself at La Bodega some other time other than restaurant week, another hidden gem about La Bodega is that you can request to have them make the Churros dessert for you. This raspberry filled fried pastry is dusted with cinnamon and sugar and topped with whip cream and caramel sauce trust me, ask for it!
All the restaurants I visited and have visited in previous years past have all been great and had excellent service. With over 120 restaurants participating there is really no wrong choice. Close the kitchen at home next week and treat yourself to some great meals January 18-27 and help a good cause at the same time! For more information on Restaurant Week, participating restaurants, menus and charity recipients visit the Kansas City Restaurant Week website.
Happy Eating! Sharm