Restaurant Week returns with (almost) too many choices

Now in its eighth year, KC Restaurant Week this time presents diners with more variety than ever before — 180 restaurants — giving them just 10 days (January 13-22) to research, explore and indulge. It’s a lot, but hunger finds a way.

Mine does, anyway. Below, then, are the 15 menus I found myself circling as I looked over every last address and dish. Not that I won’t fit others into my queue at the last minute. But you gotta start somewhere.

You may be familiar with the loose rules of Restaurant Week: You’re ordering coursed meals, with lunch prices set at $15 and dinners at $33. In choosing this list, I looked most closely at restaurants offering impressive deals or unique items, with bonus points given to menus designed to draw both vegetarians and carnivores to the table.

Ultimately, though, you can’t go wrong — 10 percent of the proceeds from every meal goes to charity. (In its first seven years, KC Restaurant Week raised more than $1.4 million for its beneficiaries.) This year’s recipients include Boys Grow, the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired, Cultivate Kansas City, the Kansas City Regional Destination Development Foundation, and the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. (Details and menus are at kcrestaurantweek.com.)

Aixois

Brookside’s French bistro (255 East 55th Street) is offering a variety of Continental classics. Start with a house-made pâté or a salade de chèvre, followed by trout almondine, steak au poivre, mussels with pommes frites or the special of the day, among other dishes. Call 816-333-3305 or see aixoisbistro.com.

Café Sebastienne 

One should take advantage of any opportunity to enjoy this museum-nestled eatery (4420 Warwick Boulevard), but it’s an especially good value this week. Entrée options include roasted beef tenderloin, roasted acorn squash with goat cheese clafoutis, and Scottish salmon. Call 816-561-7740 or see kemperart.org/cafe

Charisse

French restaurant Charisse (1006 Walnut) offers lunch and dinner this week, including a flank steak served with truffle fries, or trout amandine with mashed potatoes and green beans. Call 816-474-0000; see charissekc.com

Char Bar

Westport’s Char Bar (4050 Pennsylvania) is stepping away from traditional KC barbecue offerings for restaurant week (offering, as usual, good vegetarian options), while keeping its sights on the South: a Tennessee hot-chicken sandwich is up for lunch, for example, and a Gulf-snapper etouffee is one of several options for dinner. Call 816-389-8600 or see charbarkc.com

Eddie V’s

This Plaza newcomer (700 West 47th Street) may be a chain, but it’s a strong property diving into its first KC restaurant week with one of the best deals in town. One dinner option could be the crispy salt-and-pepper shrimp to start, followed by an 8-ounce aged filet mignon. The steak alone is regularly priced at $40, so if you want a more price-friendly way to try this place, now is the time. Call 816-531-2537 or see eddiev.com

The Foundry

The Foundry (624 Westport Road) is one of the only places offering a $15 dinner, and it looks like fun. Start with a charred veggie rillette served on charred bread, or a spicy shrimp-and-chorizo flatbread. For your main, try a ramen bowl with miso broth (veg or sesame chicken), or short-rib sliders served with shoestring fries or jackfruit. Call 816-960-0866 or see foundrykc.com

Grünauer

The Crossroads’ renowned Austrian restaurant (101 West 22nd Street) steps away from its regular menu to offer pork schnitzel in cream sauce (Kaiserschnitzel), slow-roasted beef shoulder (Rindsbraten), Viennese-style pancakes (Apfelschmarm) and spinach-spätzle hash (Spätzlepfanne), among other dishes. Call 816-283-3234 or see grunauerkc.com

Lidia’s

You can go with the classic pasta trio at Lidia’s (101 West 22nd Street) for either lunch or dinner this week, but the most interesting taste and value lie beyond the bottomless noodles. Options include braised pork ribs and rigatoni, spinach-stuffed sole involtino, duck leg with vinegar, and a beer-braised lamb shank. It’s a deep menu; call 816-221-3722 or see lidias-kc.com

The Majestic

There are few better opportunities to visit the Majestic (931 Broadway Boulevard), a classic that during Restaurant Week sets out lunch and dinner options. It’s also the only restaurant offering a dry-aged steak as one of its dinner options. Call 816-221-1888 or see majestickc.com

McCoy’s

McCoy’s (4057 Pennsylvania) is also venturing away from its regular menu for this event. Among other dishes, you can sample prime rib with a twice-baked potato and grilled asparagus, seared diver scallops with toasted-pumpkin gnocchi, or a vegan manicotti with grilled eggplant. Call 816-960-0866 or see mccoyskc.com

Michael Smith

If it’s been awhile since you’ve been to Michael Smith (1900 Main), here’s your return ticket: cioppino (fish stew) with mussels, shrimp and whitefish, the eight-hour pork with scallion risotto, or a roasted hanger steak with potato purée. Call 816-842-2202 or see michaelsmithkc.com

Mesob

This recently opened midtown Caribbean spot (3600 Broadway) is also jumping into its first Restaurant Week, wholeheartedly. Among the options here: taro fritters, fried plantains with spicy coleslaw, herb-roasted cashew chicken, braised vegetable stew, Caribbean jerk ribs, doro tibs (a spiced chicken dish served with lentils), the vegan delight or a beef stew. Call 816-492-599 or see mesobkc.com

Novel

If you can get a seat at Novel (815 West 17th Street), don’t hesitate; this is your chance to dine here most affordably, particularly if duck-neck dumplings with foie gras, or goat-cheese gnocchi with butternut squash and braised goat are up your alley temptation-wise. Call 816-221-0785 or see novelkc.com.

Pierpont’s

Venture into Union Station to the stately Pierpont’s (30 West Pershing Road) to sample pulled rabbit with herb spätzle, barbecued beef short ribs with roasted-garlic whipped potatoes, or pasta in pistachio-pesto cream. Call 816-221-5111 or see pierponts.com

Port Fonda

Ceviche, red-chile pozole, esquite (corn slathered in hot poblanos, mayo and cojita cheese), fideo and sopapillas are just a few of the options at Port Fonda (4141 Pennsylvania). Call 816-216-6462 or see portfonda.com.

The Sundry

The only restaurant to offer dinner for two at $33, as well as the only restaurant to include drinks with your selection, the Sundry (1706 Baltimore) lets you try a pair of its regular entrées, in addition to its flagship charcuterie board or a flatbread, as well as a house-made dessert. Call 816-844-7878 or see thesundry.com

Categories: Food & Drink, Restaurant Reviews