KC Restaurant Week Menu Awards 2016

The only thing that rivals the time and energy that goes into planning and executing Kansas City Restaurant Week every year is the time and energy that goes into nobody shutting up about it for the entire goddamn month of January.  I generally avoid it completely and write a check directly to one of the charities in order to avoid supporting, even indirectly, the labor-despising  National Restaurant Association and its puppet organization here in KC.  Plus, the crowds are just brutal…it’s like the last night of Groupon during every service, but people are flying high on the fact that they are eating for CHARITY, so you can only talk so much shit without looking like you hate children.  So my contribution this year is to award various restaurants based on their menus for the week.

For your reading pleasure:

 

Best “Someone Is Getting Straight Up Fucking Murdered” Award

CAFÉ SEBASTIENNE

LUNCH MENU

First Course  Choice of:

Soup de jour

Seasonal Greens – Shaved fennel, dried apricots, Israeli feta, smoked almonds, grapefruit vinaigrette

Main Course  Choice of:

Braised Beef Short Rib – Vox Vinyards Norton wine, roasted garlic, celery root, potato puree

Creamy Polenta – Wild mushroom ragu, gorgonzola

Assessment

  •  Someone is going to either get murdered, or be forced to murder someone in self-defense.  The catalyst will be one of two scenarios, but the path of escalation and the result will be identical.

Scenario 1:  “I knew the lack of dessert had to be a misprint on the website, ha!  So what is the included dessert?”

Scenario 2: “What about dessert?”

Result: “You know WHAT?  Rozelle COURT, right across the STREET, gives you your choice of ANY dessert!  So WHERE IS MY FUCKING DESSERT?!?!?”  Then someone gets stabbed.  Way to go.  I hope it was worth hording your desserts.

 

Best “So Fuck Me Every Other Week of the Year, Right?” Award

THE CAPITAL GRILLE

DINNER MENU

Choice Of

Wedge with Bleu Cheese and Applewood Smoked Bacon

Caesar Salad

Clam Chowder

Entrée Choice

Filet Mignon 8oz

All-Natural Herb Grilled Chicken

Bone-In Dry Aged KC Strip 14oz

Seared Citrus Glazed Salmon

Porcini Rubbed Sliced Tenderloin

Chef’s Suggestions (Add $10)

Filet Mignon and Grilled Jumbo Shrimp with Herb Butter

Bone-In Kona Crusted Dry Aged KC Strip with Shallot Butter 18oz

Accompaniment

Sam’s Mashed Potatoes

French Beans with Heirloom Tomatoes

Dessert Choice

Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake

Classic Crème Brûlée

Assessment

  • I don’t know. You just can’t advertise your normal markup this blatantly.
  • And who eats the chicken? I would never have dinner with that person.
  • Classic Crème Brulee?  (see notes on Cooper’s Hawk)

 

Best “Housewive’s Favorite Build-Your-Own Menu” Award

COOPER’S HAWK

DINNER MENU

Enjoy a glass of Cooper’s Hawk Red or White Wine

FIRST COURSE Choose One

Chopped Wedge Salad – Applewood Smoke Bacon, Bleu Cheese, Red Onion, Sweet Grape Tomatoes, Italian Vinaigrette, Bleu Cheese Vinaigrette

Chicken Potstickers – Sweet and Spicy Mustard, Ginger Soy Sauce

Cup of Soup – Crab & Lobster Bisque, Tortilla Soup or Artisan Soup of the Day

SECOND COURSE Choose One

Maple, Mustard & Pretzel-Crusted Boneless Pork Chop – Mary’s Potatoes, Roasted Vegetables

Gnocchi Carbonara – Pancetta, Chicken, Sage, Peas, Parmesan Garlic Cream Sauce

Dana’s Parmesan-Crusted Chicken – Tomato Basil Relish, Lemon Butter, Mary’s Potatoes, Garlic Green Beans

Soy Ginger Salmon – Wasabi-Buttered Potatoes, Asian Slaw

THIRD COURSE Choose One

Cheesecake with fresh strawberries

Cooper’s Hawk chocolate cake

Classic crème brûlée

Assessment

  • I don’t know if I understand this strategy. Give them a glass of wine and then turn them loose on a control freak’s fake allergy substitution dream?  “Soy gives me the shits! I’m going to re-engineer ALL of this!” You may as well just list everything out with a little checkbox next to each ingredient and present the menu that way. I hope you’ve got some NON-wasabi buttered potatoes onhand, or else you are fucked.
  • These “Classic” Crème Brulees….I have a feeling the custard is suspiciously ice cold under a blanket of that burnt sugar. Oh, I could just be an asshole and totally wrong….but I’m not. I’m at least giving the benefit of the doubt that the sugar isn’t all gooey.

 

Best “We Really Hate Our Servers” Award

THE AMERICAN

DINNER MENU

First  Choice of:

apple salad . celery . mustard seed . frisèe

2014 dr. weins-prum estate riesling mosel

cauliflower soup . curry . coconut . pickled pear

2013 au bon climat chardonnay santa barbara

slow poached egg . sunchoke . preserved lemon . grains & seeds

2014 inama soave classico veneto

Second  Choice of:

agnolotti . parsnip . smoked maitake . romanesco . black walnut

2012 acrobat pinot noir oregon

octopus . jalapeno . cilantro . orange yogurt . quinoa & benne seeds

2010 joullian zinfandel carmel

beef short rib . fried broccolini . smoked béarnaise*

2012 amavi cabernet sauvignon walla walla valley

Third  Choice of:

pumpkin . gingerbread . oatmeal . garam masala

2013 m. chapoutier banyuls

pineapple . caramel . coconut . white chocolate

2012 elk cove ultima willamette valley

chocolate . sesame . honey . orange flower

renardate fache cerdon bugey

three course 33

beverage pairing 33

Assessment

  • First of all I admire the engineering that goes into guiding a diner’s decisions. That’s just smart. They’ll start with that soup or salad, both easier to plate…apple is normal, cauliflower is normal, egg is…normal I guess…but then what’s all that weird shit with it?  Just give me the salad. PLUS, riesling I get, chardonnay I get, but that weird one with the weird egg…you’re making me nervous. Then I’m guessing the agnolotti is some kind of pasta, but it’s got a bunch of weird shit with it AND not a great return on investment for a main course.  No butter hummus with the octopus, plus that’s just weird, so fuck that.  Ah, short rib!  That just plates itself and it’s delicious with no blatantly weird shit on there.  It looks like Wesemann is running a pretty honest game.  Showing his ass a little with that garama masala, but not a dealbreaker.
  • The biggest issue is the laryngitis the servers are going to have for the next two weeks. Do you let them sip from a water bottle while they are at the tables?  You probably need to, there’s going to be serious cottonmouth from talking about: What KIND of apples?  Can I leave curry and/or coconut out of the soup?  Sunchoke….preserved lemon….grains and seeds….man, that is just spiteful.  The smoked maitake and romanesco is pretty dickish, but everyone is getting the short ribs…plus “I don’t know if I can trust that a walnut didn’t touch something on the plate, and I will die”.  Can you give me the shorter, thousand word explanation of benne seeds from an anthropological perspective?  That would be great because I’m buzzed and super chatty.  If I’m vegan, can I just have a really big apple salad for the first 2 courses?  Damn, be ready to talk about those dessert wines….after RW is over, I’ll be expecting a tally of how many times each server had to say “renardate fache cerdon bugey”.
  • Goldman laughs at the pain of his co-workers.

 

Best “I Seriously Don’t Know What I’m Reading” Award 

 BLUESTEM

DINNER MENU

First Course:

Parsnip veloute, maple, cherry, celery, bourbon or marinated beets, goat cheese, watercress, sherry viniagrette

Second Course:

Roasted salmon, bacon, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, caper, currant or braised beef short ribs or cheeks, glazed farro, carrots and spinach

Third Course:

Buttered rum, ginger streusel, spiced pear or chocolate ganache, pistachio, cranberry

Assessment

  • People can sense the weakness of commas. Did you see how The American lists out their single ingredients?  They are running a pretty mean game, but at least they use a period. The guest is prompted to stop and think.  Your goddamn commas lack commitment and make me think this is some kind of shopping list that I’m going to have to cook myself.
  • One word: Phrasing…those “or’s” make it a damn minefield. Example: “I’ll have the parsnip veloute with marinated beets instead of bourbon and then the beef CHEEKS with bacon, brussels sprouts, carrots and capers.  For dessert I’ll have the ganache instead of pear with the buttered rum and streusel. What?  Didn’t you hear what I did over at Café Sebastienne?  Do not FUCK with me here!”

 

Best “I Cannot Stop Thinking of Dirty Euphemisms” Award 

CHOCOLATE FROG CAFE

DINNER MENU

Course 1  Choice of:

Southwest Shrimp

Calamari

House Salad

Course 2  Choice of:

8oz Ribeye with choice of starch and vegetable

Country Fried Chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans

Course 3:

Molten Lava Cake

Assessment

  • I don’t care what anyone says. The name of this restaurant is The Chocolate Starfish Café. And when I read their menu, this is what I see:

DINNER BENEATH THE BRIDGE MENU

Course 1  Choice of:

Bunch Punch Pit Poke

Crotch Cricket High Flyers

House Salad

Course 2  Choice of:

8oz Burgeoning Truncheon with choice of Cop-a-Doodle and Grass Back

Soft Fisted Easy Meat with Letch Water and Clangers

Course 3:

Buttered Biscuit Adulterine

 

Best “Tribute to Navajo Code Talkers” Award 

LE FOU FROG

DINNER MENU

STARTERS  Choice of:

SOUP DU JOUR

MIXED SALADE WITH CITRUS, DIJON VINAIGRETTE (V, VEG, N, G, D, S)

BEET CARPACCIO WITH GREENS LEMON EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL (V,VEG,N,G,D,S)

BEEF TARTARE (G,N,D,S)

GRATIN WITH POTATOES, SMOKED CHICKEN, LEEKS, GRUYERE CHEESE AND CREAM (G,N,S)

SMOKED DUCK SALADE WITH RASPBERRY VINAIGRETTE (G,N,D,S)

ENTREES  Choice of:

SEAFOOD GNOCCHI WITH SAUCE AMORICAINE (N,S)

CORVINA BASS WITH TOMATO AND EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL (G,S)

QUINOA AND MEDITERRANEAN VEGETABLES RAS EL HANOUT SPICES, 2 COULIS OF PEPPERS AND SAUCE RIATA (VEG, G,S)

CASSOULET GRANDE MERE GARLICKY WHITE BEANS, PORK, BEEF, SAUSAGES, CHICKEN CONFIT (N,D,S)

PORK WRAPPED IN BACON WITH A PORCINI MADEIRA CREAM SAUCE (G,N,S)

DESSERTS  Choice of:

POT DE CREME AU CAFE (VEG,S)

PROFITEROLE (VEG,S)

SORBET (V,VEG,N,G,D,S)

 

CODE: V-VEGAN VEG – VEGETARIAN N – NUT FREE G – GLUTEN FREE, D – DAIRY FREE, S-SOY FREE

Assessment

  • First of all, the lack of crème brulee lets you know the other places offering it are full of shit. If the restaurant with the best version leaves it off of their RW menu, it’s not something that can be executed properly for five million people every night.
  • The list of codes…I feel like I’m watching The Imitation Game…there is a sequence of dishes, that when lined up correctly, will open up a Stargate. I don’t have the patience to build a machine to break the code, but I’m pretty handy with Excel.
  • The codes can definitely save servers some time as far as explaining the contents of the dishes, but if you have too many OCD guests dining at once, there is a significant risk that they are going to put together a list of codes and then peruse the menu with a very specific purpose. It’s a dangerous game, but a dangerous game that I respect.
  • If someone has their heart set on something WITH soy, you’re going to have to think on the fly. Be ready.

 

Best “Are they RW Virgins?” Award

(Edit 1/20/16- the RW website is not clear on this, but I am getting reports that this is a 2 for $33 deal, in which case Manny’s  would tie for Best Menu 2016.)

MANNY’S

DINNER MENU

Appetizers

Moneterrey Cheese Dip

Manny’s Burrito Dip – Pork Chile, beans and your choice of cheese

Entrees

Burrito Plate (One per person) – Pork, ground beef or chicken and your choice of cheese. Served with rice or beans.

Steak or Chicken Fajitas (One order to share)

Dessert & Drinks

Your choice of one dessert & one drink

Cakes – Your choice of Rumchata Cake or Pumpkin Spice Cake

Sopapillas – Drizzled with honey or chocolate. Served with Cinnamon Ice cream.

Manny’s Mini Pitcher of Margaritas or 2 soft beverages

Assessment

  • Charity aside, you’re either 1) a restaurant that packs the house with people who are only going to eat there once every year and you know going in you lose money all week, and your staff is destroyed and tips are worse than normal 2) $33 is pretty close to the average price of a dinner, you come close to breaking even after the RW cut, and your staff is destroyed and tips are worse than normal or 3) People who don’t eat out regularly or waited too long to book RW reservations are the only ones who aren’t wondering aloud “how in the hell do you spend $33 on dinner THERE?”…but if you play your cards right and inundate people with a lot of choices, you too can have a destroyed staff and worse tips than normal.
  • Manny’s is always packed and they’ll do just fine, but man, they seriously need to pay attention to this year’s Best Restaurant Week Menu 2016 Award winner when it comes to knowing your audience. Odd numbered parties and the shared fajitas entrée choice will haunt you.
  • Is this the only Mexican restaurant that doesn’t give free soda refills? What does “or 2 soft beverages” mean?  And honey OR chocolate on the sopapillas?  What in the hell, Manny’s?  Your forced decisions seemed punitive and draw unnecessary attention.

 

Best “That Must Be Some Fucking Chimichanga” Award 

PORT FONDA

DINNER MENU

SALSA TRIO – guacamole, tomato-serrano & molcajete with choice of chips or chicharrones

CHOICE OF:

CEVICHE DEL DIA – swordfish & shrimp, mango salsa, orange, pickled serrano, coconut

ESQUITE ASADO – grilled sweet corn, epazote, poblano rajas, cotija, habanero mayonnaise

POZOLE VERDE – green chile marinated pork shoulder, spicy tomatillo-poblano broth, hominy, crunchy garnishes

CHOICE OF:

ENCHILADAS SUIZAS – spinach, garlic, chihuahua and swiss cheese, poblano cream, radish salad

DIESMILLO – braised beef chuck roll, cotija, frijoles, chile de arbol salsa, pickled onions, avocado

CHIMICHANGA – roasted chicken, corn, rice, chihuahua

*add a happy hour-sized classic or roselle margarita for $4

*price includes fountain drink, iced tea or coffee

Assessment

  • The death toll from the infamous “Kansas City Chimi Massacre of 2016” began innocently enough when Brookside resident Arthur Fuller enjoyed his Restaurant Week lunch at Port Fonda so much that he booked another seat for later that evening. After he was seated and presented with the evening’s selections, he thought that his server had mistakenly given him the same lunch menu from earlier that day.  Bewildered by the server’s insistence that it was indeed the dinner menu, he asked for a lunch menu for comparison.  That is when things took a dark turn.  The menus were identical.  Except for the addition of the chimichanga at dinnertime.  Nobody could hear Mr. Fuller’s screams of rage over the music, his anger over what he saw as a cruel bait and switch quickly turned to blood lust.  The door from the mezcal locker that he tore loose, while not the perfect edged weapon, was more than adequate against all of that Baldwin covered flesh.  Arthur never did get that chimichanga.
  • Port Fonda has fountain drinks?

 

Best “BRO! THEY CANCELLED RESTAURANT WEEK! BRO! NO!” Award 

THE WELL BAR, GRILL & ROOFTOP

DINNER MENU

First Course Selection

Cup of Soup – Made from scratch

House Side or Caesar Salad

Trio of Dips – Guacamole, Boursin® bacon and roasted garlic ricotta dips served with tortilla chips and pita

Second Course Selection

Carne Asada Street Tacos – Gluten Free – Jalapeño slaw, pico de gallo, queso cotija, avocado on corn tortillas served with chips and salsa

Beer Battered Fish and Chips – Celery seed coleslaw, hand cut fries and tartar sauce

Fresh Catch of the Day – Available Gluten Free – Flown in Daily Ask for Details

New Orleans Jambalaya – Shrimp, andouille sausage and chicken in a spicy Holy Trinity tomato-butter sauce with rice pilaf and warm Farm to Market French bread

Dessert Selection

Sweet Potato Maple Cheesecake – Hazelnut crust, caramel sauce and mint

Dark Chocolate Flourless Torte – Possibly Gluten free. Raspberry sauce and mint

Assessment

  • Nobody is sure if it was said performer’s ex-girlfriend, or the bartender who quit out of anger over all of the “fuckin’ queer” gluten free offerings, but Restaurant Week was abruptly cancelled at The Well when all of the menus were defaced and the print shop could not create new copies in time. Juvenile but effective, the perpetrator made one simple change: Cup of Soup – Made from scratch(ing DJ Ashton Martin’s BALLS!).

 

Best “Arms Corded with Confusion” Award 

NOVEL

DINNER MENU

Hamachi Crudo

-soy pearl, trout roe, yuzu

Beet Salad

-white soy, pear, hazelnut, wasabi

Crispy Egg

-tripe, chipotle, bacon hushpuppies

Seared Diver Scallop

-bone marrow, mushroom, sweet potato, chili

Duroc Pork Chop

-pork belly ragu, rice späetzle, baby bok choy

Apple Cake

-vanilla ice cream, blueberry, oats

Chocolate

-bourbon caramel, peanut

Assessment

  • I don’t really have much to criticize here, I just didn’t want to leave Novel off this list. BUT they are not as perfect as their damn Health Department scores.  Just please have a uniform number of appetizer, entrée and dessert selections next time, 3-2-2 is terrible without at least a nice dotted line between each section to clarify.  Also, either give an extra scallop or a smaller pork chop, or the people you will never see again after Restaurant Week are going to turn it into a pissing contest when the pork chop comes out.  Don’t worry, after Restaurant Week you can go back to the standard serving sizes.  The only people who would notice the difference are never coming back unless you do RW again next year.
  • Good choice not advertising a wine pairing or Richard would be goaded into topping people off for free all night. And you know how he gets.

 

Best Restaurant Week Menu 2016

CHARLIE HOOPER’S

DINNER MENU

$33.00 for 2 People

First Course: Choice of Soup or Shared Appetizer

Soup of the Day

Hummus

Fried Pickles

Potato Skins

Second Course: Choice of Entrée

Pig Butt Mac ‘N’ Cheese – Slow-roasted, smoked BBQ pulled pork with green onion and flash-fried onion strings

Grilled Salmon – Fresh grilled salmon smothered with sautéed spinach and bacon served with seasonal vegetables

Tortilla Chicken – Flash-fried tortilla encrusted chicken accompanied by a tequila jalapeño risotto

Third Course: Choice of Shared Dessert

Snickers Pie
Peanut Butter Stuffed French Toast

Assessment

  • Thirty three motherfucking dollars for two motherfucking people.   RIP salmon, nobody is going to eat you.

 

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12 Comments on “KC Restaurant Week Menu Awards 2016”

  1. El jefe
    January 19, 2016 at 9:40 pm #

    This is just AWESOME!
    Great job!
    I can’t stop convulsioning from laughing.

  2. January 20, 2016 at 8:00 am #

    Thank you. [Slow clap.]

  3. Don KeyBolls
    January 20, 2016 at 8:36 am #

    You are an average writer but the profanities allow for a bit of comic relief. Strip this down and your obvious motivation is to distract from all the good KCRW brings to our community.

    I seriously doubt you write checks to the charities. (That is the funniest line, BTW)

    Please, do everyone in your life a favor and go through with it. Just make sure no kids find you.

    • Jerry
      January 20, 2016 at 10:28 am #

      My motivation is to entertain my friends who work in the industry and live through the shitshow every single year. They like it. If they didn’t, I wouldn’t waste my time. The motivation behind people’s support of RW is partially charity, partially getting a bargain on a meal and pretending it’s only about “the children”. Overall it doesn’t have any impact on my life other than listening to some great stories from restaurant staff. I don’t donate a large sum every year, but I do give $33 to one of the charities….Harvesters up until last year, then it was Boys Grow, and this year CCVI. It isn’t a large sum, but it takes a lot of $33 meals eaten by once-a-year philanthropists for that much to actually make it to one of the organizations.

      • Ashton Martin
        January 20, 2016 at 10:49 am #

        Thanks for the honorable mention!

      • Jerry
        January 20, 2016 at 11:12 am #

        You’re the man!

  4. Megan
    January 20, 2016 at 10:14 am #

    i have not laughed out loud so much in a long time…thanks!!

  5. Paul D Wilson
    January 20, 2016 at 10:34 am #

    I just found this blog when Shay shared it on FB. Its been a long time since Ive read something as funny as this post!! Also, a full time cigar fan. Lets smoke on some time!

  6. JC
    January 20, 2016 at 4:22 pm #

    This was passed on to me through FB, as I read it, I thought, this guy has the spirit of Tommy Macaluso running through his fingers. I just wanted to let you know it kicked up some fun old memories of restaurant days gone by. Thank you

    • Jerry
      January 20, 2016 at 5:26 pm #

      As someone whose fondest memory of Tom was watching him raise the electronic credit card reader high above his head and smash it into one million pieces that flew across a crowded dining room, thank you.

  7. RK
    January 20, 2016 at 7:58 pm #

    As a server, who is is working (what can be) the hell that is RW, I appreciate this and hope you continue for the rest of the week.

  8. January 22, 2016 at 1:15 am #

    Amazing. I have subconsciously always been… Hard to find the right word… Suspicious? Wary? Avoidant? … of this restaurant week you speak of. I Have ZERO background in the retail/food/restaurant industry and I loved this BTS view on it and it still made me laugh out loud. There are just too many grumpies out to dine for a deal, and the RW menus appealed less to me that the regular menus. I always feel sympathetic for servers during things like RW or, as you mentioned, the last-day-of-groupon day! But goddam this was the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while.

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