The highly anticipated restaurant Story opened its doors today in the Shops at Prairie Village. Carl and Susan Thorne-Thomsen own this contemporary American restaurant. Carl is the former chef de cuisine of Michael Smith and Extra Virgin restaurants and Susan is a former gourmet food store/cafe owner.

Steve and I had the privilege of attending a preview event last night and I have to say Story is one of my new favorite places. The space is beautiful, the service outstanding and the food is exquisite. I had the chance a few weeks ago to visit while the space was still being renovated and the transformation is amazing. You can read more about my earlier visit here.

Although the décor and clean lines of this space make it an ideal location to celebrate almost any occasion or just share a nice dinner with family or friends, it is the cuisine that will keep you coming back.

I started with the smoked duck empanadas. Earlier this month when I was chatting with Carl about some of the dishes, I remember him mentioning the empanadas so I was excited to try them. The empanadas were served with black beans, avocado puree, shaved jicama, and were delicious. The outside of the empanadas were crispy, the filling tender and flavorful and the jicama added a nice crunch to the dish.

Steve loves morel mushrooms and will spend hours in the woods hunting for them so when he saw the ravioli was served with morels, he was sold. The ravioli was rich, delicious and according to Steve, one of the best things he has ever eaten!

For our entrees, I was torn between the braised beef cheeks and the lamb. I love lamb, but the beef was served with a smoked gnocchi and well if you know me, you know gnocchi is one of my favorites, and adding in this smoky element, I knew this was something I was not going to be unable to pass up. Well thanks to the impeccable service, I was able to order the lamb and get a side of the gnocchi. It was the best of both worlds and one of the best dinners, I have ever eaten.

Steve ordered the roasted strip steak, it was cooked perfectly and very tender. Sautéed Swiss chard and potato croquettes accompanied it. The potato croquettes made the dish and I am going to have a hard time eating a potato prepared any other way now that I know they can taste like that!

I cannot forget to mention the bread. In addition to being a magnificent chef, Carl is an avid bread maker and makes all the bread in house. The bread is crusty on the outside, tender on the inside and the aroma is intoxicating. What a treat!

Both Susan and Carl took the chance to greet and welcome guests. Susan invited me into the kitchen for a sneak peak and wow, I must say it was quite impressive. I noticed all the kitchen staff working hard to execute flawless and tasty dishes. While in the kitchen, I saw a lemon bar being plated and decided that is what I would be ordering for dessert.

When it did come time to order dessert, our server suggested the doughnuts that are served over a pastry cream and salted caramel. Oh, man! That sounded so good, but I had my heart set on the lemon bar. Lucky for me Steve got the doughnuts. It was great to share the desserts and get a little taste of each and although the doughnuts were good, I would have to say the lemon bar was my favorite. I loved the tartness of the lemon against the sweet shortbread crust. With dessert must come coffee and Story proudly serves Kansas City’s own Roasterie, which of course is great but what made it so special for me is the old fashion sugar cubes and cream it was served with. I loved the nostalgia of the cubes replacing those rainbow colored packets that normally accompany that cup of after dinner coffee.

Make plans to visit Story soon, it will become one of your favorites and make you happily ever after!

Story is located at 3931 W. 69th Terrace in The Village Shopping Center. The 3000 square feet restaurant seats 66 in the dining room, 20 in the bar and 30 on the patio. Story features local, seasonal creative American cuisine, with Spanish, French and Italian influences. Story’s name refers to the fact that Thorne-Thomsen is an ingredient-driven chef who searches for the best possible ingredients for his dishes and learns their story – how they were grown, where they were fished or where they were pastured. Story serves lunch Monday – Friday, brunch Saturday and Sunday and dinner 7 days a week. For dinner, appetizers run from $7-14, entrees are around $25 a piece, and desserts range from $6-10. Story offers reservations on their website and by calling 913.236.9955.

If you have a great food find, restaurant or event in KC, you think I am missing, email me.

In Good Taste,