Of Course Kitchen & Company curry our favor but current crunch distracts from the flavor
Of Course Kitchen & Company, located in southern Overland Park as part of the Bluhawk Shopping District, gives off quite the first impression. Former private chef Swetha Newcomb has brought South Asian and Indian influence to a number of elevated dishes, and the beautiful interior and inviting dining space all point to a well-thought-out and designed concept, especially considering it is her first restaurant opening.
On top of that, a bar program designed by Jay Sanders (of Wild Child and James Beard-nominated Drastic Measures) lends some serious industry credibility. Of Course has only been open for a few weeks, so there are some growing pains to get past, but it seems to be in good shape to clear those hurdles. If it does, the team here will be in a prime position to deliver a top-notch experience.
An early evening visit on a Tuesday meant that we were one of only two parties in the restaurant when we arrived. The bar area is extremely inviting, with plenty of comfy seats, warm wood tones on the ceiling, and a strong selection of spirits—flanking a large, zoological illustration of a leopard.
It’s a welcoming aura as soon as you step inside, and it extends to the main space of the restaurant. The décor features a variety of natural materials, there’s plenty of space between tables, and the music and art all lend a hip, laid-back feel to the space. Even as Of Course started to fill, a table for two always maintained an intimate atmosphere.
On the cocktail front, Sanders’ influence is easy to spot. Everything we ordered was full of interesting nuance—and easy to identify as a riff on a popular classic cocktail. The Have a Cigar ($16) was essentially indistinguishable from a high-end Old Fashioned, with a bit of an extra kick from the spice-infused bitters used. The 7 Summers ($14) was a much lighter affair: an Aperol Spritz with a peach-and-extra-boozy punch added from the gin—after a few sips, we declared that drinking it was “like sitting by the sea.”
The most interesting cocktail we ordered was the Lemon Chill ($14). The cardamom and poppy-infused vodka and blanc vermouth gave it an intense and deep flavor profile with a big acidity and a strong, zingy finish. On the tail-end of the finish, an extra tang came through from the yogurt, which also helped give the Lemon Chill its unique texture.
As we started hitting our first round of drinks, we pored over the menu. Every dish at Of Course is designed to be shareable, and you order everything at once so the kitchen and your server can parse things out over multiple courses. On our server’s recommendation, we ordered six items to split between two people.
It was just the right amount of food: we probably could have finished it all and left with overstuffed bellies, but I wound up putting a few things together in a to-go box that made for a perfect work lunch the next day.
Our meal kicked off with an Endive Salad ($15), which was shockingly good and turned out to be the perfect starter plate. It had just the right amount of different ingredients, textures, and flavors to make every bite unique but still cohesive, and the lemon-parmesan dressing was to die for. Inject it straight into my veins.
Our other “starter” plates were the Lamb Keema Samosa Croquettes ($16) and the Shrimp Toast ($18). The croquettes were packed with flavor and, like the salad, featured a mouthwatering sauce: whipped feta and roasted red pepper. The filling inside each croquette was a bit uneven, however. Some were packed with meat, while others were mostly veggies. The Shrimp Toast had a great combination of textures, but it was the only dish we ordered the entire evening that packed any heat—so much so that it almost crushed our palettes. We were expecting spice due to the Indian and South Asian influence, but this one caught us off guard since it was so much hotter than anything else we partook in.
With each of our more entrée-style plates, each had its own hits and misses. The most successful was the Palak Paneer Mac & Cheese ($20). The dukkah was a great choice to add a little crunch as a substitute for bread crumbs, and the large, golden-brown chunks of paneer were the star of the show. Overall, the pasta was cooked well, but nothing about it stood out.
The Korean Short Ribs ($30) had a really strong flavor, and the grits they were served over were impeccable—but the meat itself was not even close to tender enough.
The Masala Duck Pappardelle ($26) featured some really tasty duck, cooked perfectly, and delicious dollops of sweet potato. However, the curry it was served in was severely lacking in salt and acid, so the dish as a whole fell a bit flat.
The biggest issue of our visit, which seems likely to be figured out as Of Course comes into its own, was the timing. At multiple points during our meal, we felt rushed by the plates that were coming out to our table. With a coursed meal, especially one with prices and an atmosphere like this, I expect to be able to take my time with each dish and really dissect what makes things work.
We had to tell our server to slow down at one point, as they added a third dish to our table that already had two sitting to the side, waiting to be eaten. Our next course took a little longer to arrive, but it was a bit lukewarm. We took that to mean that it was ready to speed out to our table, but they let it sit in the kitchen, per our request. Again, timing is a tricky beast to nail down, and it seems likely Of Course will iron this out.
Still, we definitely felt the crunch, and it affected our experience.
That said, there isn’t too much like Of Course in the area it’s located. If it was in an area like the Crossroads, it might struggle to compete with high-end established restaurants that have already found their stride and audience. At 159th Street and 69 Highway, you’re looking at many more chains and fast-casual options. If they can fix their timing issues and get their dishes a little more consistent, Of Course Kitchen & Company could see themselves becoming a significant player in the KC food scene.
Of Course Kitchen & Company is located at 7753 W 159th Street, Overland Park, KS, 66223. It is open Tuesday through Friday from 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., and Saturday from 4:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. It is closed Sunday and Monday.