“If you like tapas…”
I really enjoy tapas as much for the atmosphere and spirit as the flavors and La Bodega gets it all right. Is it the “most” authentic, I can’t be the judge of that but its fresh and delicious and the place bristles with energy and chit-chat. They have a nice little, semi-private room off kitchen and the rest of the dining is smallish room with a glass-walled, street-side view back to downtown KC.
It’s a short cab ride from downtown, Crown Center or the Plaza. If I were to nit-pick, I would rather see their bar turned such that eating at the bar didn’t require you to have your back to rest of the diners. This is a very small complaint and completely understandable when you see the way the room lays out.
Was out in KC for two weeks for a course at Ft. Leavenworth. Decided to try this restaurant based off the previous reviews and was not disappointed. In fact, I went twice – the second time bring just about the whole class with me. Went for happy hour both times, and with such an amazing deal as 1/2 price tapas and sangria, it turned out to be really affordable as well. Didn’t try a lot off of their main menu excpet the paella, which I found to be a bit bland (the last time I had paella was in Valencia, so anywhere would probably pale in comparison). All of their tapas were excellent, as were their desserts. I would reccomend this restaurant in a heartbeat. Well done, La Bodega!
“Small Plates, Big Value”
This is a small restaurant but very cozy. The variety on the menu can match any palet. This is a favorite go-to place to catch up with friend. We each order two things. They all come as they are prepared, so we share and munch and talk the night away.
La Bodega offers Spanish wines and tapas equally as good as those served at Jose Andreas’ Jaleo….The chef table is especially fun with a large group. Intimidated by Spanish wines???No, problem, let P.J. the manager and beveredge director assist. Delicioso!
“Amazing happy hour”
Amazing happy hour – something for everyone! Sangria pitchers are half off during happy hour. I wish they had more non-dairy options, but other than that, it’s a great place to take friends.
Reviews Courtesy of TripAdvisor
I had heard some very good things about Michael Smith’s restaurant before going there recently. It was actually recommended by several of my friends and co-workers. Throughout the years I have had many restaurants hyped to me by friends and family and more times than not I am left wanting more. Well I can tell you that you won’t be left wanting more after you are done eating here.
We made reservations through OpenTable, which I highly recommend as it started becoming very busy around 6:45ish as with most restaurants. Micheal’s other property Extra Virgin, is right next door so we made sure to get there a little early so we could grab one of their signature cocktails and soak in the hip atmosphere.
The cocktails were handcrafted and very satisfying, I had the Holunder which was vodka bases with some Elderflower, which I had never had before, but it was very smooth and refreshing. My companion on this night had one of their summer cocktails and she found it very tasty as it was made with Cachaça which has a flavor very close to rum.
Soon after we finished our drinks we walked next door to meet our reservation time. We did have to wait a couple of minutes for a hostess to greet us, which was a little annoying, but I wasn’t about to let that detract from the fine start to the evening.
The dining room isn’t huge, which I actually prefer. Other restaurants with their palatial dining areas sometimes feel cold and drafty. Michael’s dining room is actually the perfect size. You feel as if you are on a culinary journey with the rest of the diners.
It took a couple of minutes for our waitress to get to our table, but it was well worth the wait as she did a really good job taking care of us. She was very knowledgeable on the whole menu, including the wine specials that had running at the time. We went with a Spanish Red (pictured) since it was a warmer summer night and it was the perfect complement to the appetizers and the entrees that we orders. The name of the wine was Camp Viejo Rioja, Crianza 2007.
We started with the Braised Rabbit with house-made gnocchi, shitake mushrooms, leek and shaved parmesan. They kindly split in two for us and there was plenty there for the both of us. This was the perfect start to our meal as it introduced us to the fresh ingredients that they cook with here. Michael prides himself on having a seasonal menu with the freshest, local (when possible), quality meats and produce. I could definitely tell after the first few bites of the braised rabbit.
They serve dinner rolls with the meal and the waitress recommended taking part of the roll and soaking up some of the juices left over from the appetizer. We did just that and it was delicious! We really appreciated her tip and hope you will try it too if you order that for your appetizer.
The perfect amount of time went by between the appetizers and the entrées, which was appreciated considering some restaurants do not space out the orders correctly. It was almost as if they had someone keeping track of the time to make sure they were served at the perfect time.
On to the entrées…
I ordered the Scallops (pictured) which was served with sliced peaches, zucchini puree and a tomato basil medley.
They were amazing! All the ingredients went amazingly well together, including the peaches, which I was hesitant to mix with seafood, but I am sure glad I did. It was a perfectly balanced dish and I feel if you would have taken any of those ingredients away it wouldn’t have been the same. I highly recommend you getting these when you go there. Definitely worth it!
My girlfriend had the Pan-Roasted Eye of the Ribeye, it may sound redundant, but it tasted really, really good. It was served with sweet corn soufflé, succotash and huitlacoche mole. She really enjoyed the balance of the meal, the saltiness of the meat and the sweetness of the soufflé, was a really good touch. You can’t go wrong with either of these dishes.
For dessert I had the peach strudel and she had the fresh berries. As to be expected, everything was very, very fresh and tasted amazing. They gave us some time between the entrée’s and the dessert which was again appreciated. You could definitely go to this place for desserts alone, but you would really regret not having the whole meal.
After dessert Michael Smith himself came over and talked to us for a few minutes. He was a very nice and we talked about his rotating menu and how big of a deal it is for him to have the freshest of everything that he has on his menu. He has a very strong dedication to making sure that his menu remains the freshest in town.
He stated that he would rather have a smaller menu with all fresh ingredients, than a huge menu with a bunch of not
so fresh ingredients. Well I am glad that he is sticking to his guns here, because it is well worth it. He accepts no substitutes and his diners are the ones that benefit from it.
Overall this was the best restaurant that I have eaten at since moving to Kansas City. I highly recommend eating here when you have a chance. You will not be disappointed. A big thank you to Michael for spending some time with us and giving us one of our best meals that we have had in a long time. Kudo’s!
Grade: A (Food) B+ (Service)
“Great place for romantic dinner”
Sophisticated fusion food. They offer option of 5 ($70 per person) or 10 ($100 per person) courses menu with or without wine pairing. The courses 1-3 were excellant. Amazing salads, great inovative foie gras (offered with jelly and ice cream) and had a replacment option for the non fishing eater. 4 which is the meat portion was OK nothing to write home about and the desserts while being special were not the strong part of the restaurant.
With that said it was a great experience and well worth the money spend (which is quite a lot..)
“If I had to pick one to be the best of the best in town, this is it”
This is true fine dining, but make no mistake the food more than just an artful presentation, it is original fresh yet familiar they don’t just create dishes to be “different”. Expect superior service – you will not be disappointed. The meal comes in courses with dessert prepared by their amazing pastry chef. This restaurant could go toe to toe with any in the world and compete.
When putting together the review for Blue Grotto Kansas City/Brookside I had a tough time deciding where to start. I have been to the Blue Grotto in Brookside a couple of times now and have come away impressed each time. This locally owned and operated restaurant is located in Brookside next to Domo and the Brooksider. Their specialty is wood-fired artisan pizzas that are made with Caputo flour and San Marzano tomatoes that are apparently grown on the foothills of Mt. Vesuvius. Each of their pizzas are hands stretched, topped with amazingly fresh ingredients and are baked in a 900 degree wood burning oven.
It may look a little trendy, but we were in Brookside, so that didn’t surprise me. What did surprise me was how relaxed the atmosphere was, almost a Cali type laid-backness. The decor was fresh and up to date and they have a great up stairs area where we sat, which was very spacious and relaxing. Almost felt like you were eating at some friends palatial estate on the Country Club Plaza.
The first trip I made there I started out with some tomato bisque soup and was very pleased with the taste, texture and warmth of it. For my main course I ordered one of their more “generic” pizza’s and I can tell you their was nothing generic about it. You could tell that they used nothing but the best ingredients to create these slices of deliciousness. During the meal I washed it down with one (or two) of the excellent craft beers they make available to you. We skipped dessert since we were all so full, but stayed around awhile to chat and indulge in some more adult beverages.
I was so impressed by my first visit that I decided to head back there again a few weeks later when we were in the area. It was a Friday night, so it was super busy, but were fortunate to find a table by the bar that had just been vacated. Our Waitress was busy, but attentive and greeted us with a smile. We started out with some beers and Scotch, but then switched over to wine for our meal. They have a pretty decent wine selection and it looks like they keep it updated. I started out with some fresh prosciutto for my appetizer and it did not disappoint. It was a hearty portion and I had to ease off it to save room for my entree which was the Fire Roasted Teres Major, which is a steak cut that comes from the shoulder and is second only in tenderness to an actual tenderloin.
The Teres Major was well cut/seasoned and literally melted in my mouth. It was served with Yukon Gold Potatoes, Arugula, Lemon, Sea Salt and Olive Oil. Their was very good harmony on the plate and I washed it down with a perfectly balanced Cabernet. To finish of the meal we ordered the Poached Pears, Crème Caramel and Chocolate. I probably didn’t have room for it, but I couldn’t keep my fork away from it due to how delicious it was. A perfect sweet indulgence to cap off another outstanding meal at the Blue Grotto.
It may cost a tad more to eat here, but it is definitely worth it. So swing in an check them out when you are in the Brookside area.
Grade: A- (Food) B+ (Service)
When looking for steakhouses in the Kansas City area, you have a lot of choices. Some you have to dress up for and others you don’t. At Jess & Jim’s Steak House in far southern Kansas City, you can choose to dress either way. No matter what you wear, be prepared to dine at a legendary steakhouse. Forget that they were made famous by a write up in Playboy magazine in the 70′s, this place still delivers.
We were sat promptly and fresh hot bread and chilled red beats were served seconds later. There is plenty to choose from on the menu, but I went straight for the area that listed the steaks and I wasn’t disappointed. Sirloin? Check. Filet? Check. Ribeye? Check. KC Strip? Check. T-Bone? Check. Porterhouse? Check. They also had a good selection of seafood and poultry dishes, but I already had my heart set on the filet.
The server was prompt and friendly. He took our order within a few minutes of settling into the table. We all ordered a steak which came with a delicious dinner salad. The time between the salad and the main course was perfect. Just enough time to get ready for the feast. It was worth the wait. My filet was served old school on a sizzling iron skillet. It was cooked to perfection and every bite melted in my mouth. The most surprising part of the meal was the twice baked potatoes which they actually fry during some point of the cooking process. They probably weren’t so good for my arteries, but my taste buds were in heaven.
We all were impressed by the steaks we received and all the ‘fixins that came with them. I am not sure if we had room for dessert, but we were tempted by the servers description of the homemade apple pie with ice cream and ordered a piece. I am glad we did, because it was amazing. I wanted to peek my head into the kitchen to see if they had a little old grandma back there making the pies. My only regret was not having enough room left to belly up to the large bar and have a sip or two of some smooth whiskey.
While walking out of the restaurant you see all of their write-ups and accolades on the wall. From the aforementioned Playboy, to Esquire magazine and the Kansas City Star, this place has everything it needs to be considered on of the best steakhouses in the country. I know I will be bringing my family, friends and business associates to this place any chance I get. Job well done Jess and Jim’s!
Grade: B (Food), D (Service)
We went to First Watch in Olathe, KS last week. I had been there before and my opinions were mixed. So I was looking forward to giving it another try. We went on a Sunday so I was expecting it to busy, which it was. We were quoted a 20-30 minute wait and got seated about 30 minutes after that. There was 5 of us including 2 gentlemen that may or may not be the size of former NFL linemen. The hostess tried to seat all five of us in a booth that is meant to seat 4. I promptly told her that there was no way that was going to work, so she gave me a semi-annoyed/hurried look and took us to a different part of the restaurant where she promptly sat us a regular table that seats 4 and stuck a chair on the end. I looked at her and she said, “we put a chair on the end all of the time”. At that point we were all really hungry so decided to just take the table.
Our waitress seemed slammed from the beginning. She took at least 10 minutes to get our drink order, which she got wrong after taking almost an additional 10 minutes to get them out to us. Once we finally got our drinks I noticed them pushing two 2 tops together to seat a party of 6, whatever, I guess it was too much to do that for us. We have now been at the table for 20 minutes. Once she reappeared 10 minutes later, she took our order. We are now +30 minutes after setting down.
Our food is delivered to the table about 20-25 minutes after that. We didn’t have complicated orders, we are talking about breakfast here, not steak tartar. I ordered the Sourdough French Toast, which was delivered warm, but without syrup. I set there about 5 minutes when our server finally comes by our table, well almost, she was actually about to deliver the syrup to the table next to us who hadn’t even received their food yet. Ugh. I flagged her down and she realizes I didn’t have syrup so she hands me the syrup instead of the table next to us and has the gaul to tell them that I “stole it from her” in a joking matter. We call her out on it and she tells us that it is her parents setting at that table so it’s no big deal. Now things are starting to make a little more sense.
We finally get to dig into our meal and it was…delicious. First Watch once again lives up to their reputation of great food, bad service. In all fairness, our server was very nice and seemed try hard. But had she put a little more effort in concentrating on serving the table instead of entertaining her tables, things might have turned out differently. Is it possible she just had too big of a section? Sure, but customers shouldn’t be penalized for that. I worked in the restaurant business for over 10 years and I can tell you that the service at this place leaves a lot to be desired. I don’t know if it is a lack of ownership from the front of the house managers, a poor core of servers/hosts, or a slow and unmotivated kitchen, but one things for sure, you can only go so far on the merit of your food. Before too long your customers are going to feel so abused they are going to start heading across the street to IHOP where they can get better service and use a coupon.
So, First Watch, will I go back? Sure, but I will just have to make sure I have 2+ hours blocked off on my calendar…
Grade: B (Food) B (Service)
A group of us ate there last week and here are my thoughts…
It was fairly busy for a Thursday night, but we lucked out and got a table. The waiter was at our table within the first couple of minutes and was very personable. They had some tasty chips and salsa at the table that helped us quell our hunger while we looked over the menu. They had a great special that night called “pollo magnifico” and it was exactly that, “magnificent chicken”. The best part was that the dish is usual $9.99 and they had it for $6.99 that night. I would have happily paid the full price for it.
Two of us ordered the special and the third member of our party ordered a Southwest Cob Salad. It was a very large salad and it turned out to be very tasty with fresh ingredients. We had a birthday in the group and they graciously gave us a free sopapilla for dessert, which was delicious.
Overall, the visit to Jose Peppers was very enjoyable and we will definitely be back!
Just wanted to update everyone and let them know that reviews should be up within the next week or so.
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