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My Winter Visit to Kansas City

My Winter Visit to Kansas City
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  • My Winter Visit to Kansas City

    Post #1 - January 22nd, 2006, 11:02 am
    Post #1 - January 22nd, 2006, 11:02 am Post #1 - January 22nd, 2006, 11:02 am
    I’ve been in Kansas City for a few days now. So far, I’ve been to Arthur Bryant’s. My visit this time unfortunately was somewhat disappointing. I ordered a brisket and sausage combination sandwich. They were out of sausage, so I substituted pork instead. The crew working on a busy Friday afternoon at lunchtime was phoning it in. The brisket was very uneven, with some of it very juicy and tasty and some pretty dried out and tired. The pork was very lean and not very aggressively smoked at all. Don’t get me wrong, this was still some pretty good BBQ, just not up to Bryant’s usual standards.

    To follow up that lunch, I went to Stroud’s for dinner. As has been discussed in another thread, the main Kansas City Stroud’s closed down on New Year’s Day, but the one north of town near the airport was still open. This was my first visit to this branch of Stroud’s and, even though it is a relatively new branch, it has all the charm of the original. Stroud’s took over the location of another long time Kansas City restaurant, Oak Ridge Manor, so the new building came with built in charm. The restaurant entry way and one of the rooms is actually a log cabin.

    As far as most people are concerned, Stroud’s means one thing only; pan fried chicken. This time, we ordered a couple of other dishes in addition to the chicken. (Appologies in advance for the quality of these pictures. I was not in a postition to do more than grab some quick snapshots of everyone's food.)

    Stroud’s Pan Fried Chicken
    Image

    Stroud’s also serves some really excellent pork chops, cut approx ¾” thick and pan fried. They are served with homemade apple sauce on the side.

    Stroud’s Pork Chops
    Image

    Highly recommended by Bruce Cook is the Chicken Fried Steak. I’ll say this much for it, it’s big. The Stroud’s version is pounded very thin with relatively thck, yet crunchy breading. Sorry about the picture quality, but my camera just wouldn’t properly focus on all that beige. One interesting note to Mike G. and other Wichita-ites. There is a Stroud’s in Wichita, located somewhere north of town. According to the owner of Stroud’s, “It’s a licensed location, we don’t have anything to do with running it, but I hear they do a pretty good job.”

    Stroud’s Chicken Fried Steak
    Image

    At Stroud’s, all dinners are served with choice of salad or home made chicken noodle soup, choice of mashed potatoes W/gravy, fries or crispy cottage fries (always my choice) and homemade cinnamon buns (served either before or after dinner at your request).

    Last night, we went out for sushi to a place called Matsu. It was a very nice comfortable restaurant specializing in fancy rolls. The quality of the fish was pretty good and while it's no Katsu, it would certainly be on my list of places to go if I get the hankering for sushi again in Kansas City.

    Arthur Bryant’s BBQ
    1727 Brooklyn Ave,
    Kansas City, MO
    816-231-1123

    Stroud’s
    Oak Ridge Manor
    5410 N.E. Oak Ridge Rd.
    Kansas City, MO
    816-454-9600

    Matsu Japanese Restaurant
    427 Westport Rd.
    Kansas City, MO
    816-531-2602
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #2 - January 22nd, 2006, 2:02 pm
    Post #2 - January 22nd, 2006, 2:02 pm Post #2 - January 22nd, 2006, 2:02 pm
    Highly recommended by Bruce Cook is the Chicken Fried Steak. I’ll say this much for it, it’s big. The Stroud’s version is pounded very thin with relatively thck, yet crunchy breading.


    I noticed the size while I was there. My sister's BF and a couple of other people recommended it. How was the flavor and quality? That's what counts!

    I plan to try it on my next visit.
    Bruce
    Plenipotentiary
    bruce@bdbbq.com

    Raw meat should NOT have an ingredients list!!
  • Post #3 - January 22nd, 2006, 3:01 pm
    Post #3 - January 22nd, 2006, 3:01 pm Post #3 - January 22nd, 2006, 3:01 pm
    Bruce wrote:
    Highly recommended by Bruce Cook is the Chicken Fried Steak. I’ll say this much for it, it’s big. The Stroud’s version is pounded very thin with relatively thck, yet crunchy breading.


    I noticed the size while I was there. My sister's BF and a couple of other people recommended it. How was the flavor and quality? That's what counts!

    I plan to try it on my next visit.


    The chicken and the pork chops were both very good. The CFS had a bit too low of a breading:steak ratio for me.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #4 - January 22nd, 2006, 9:57 pm
    Post #4 - January 22nd, 2006, 9:57 pm Post #4 - January 22nd, 2006, 9:57 pm
    Stevez--tnx for the report, bad news and good news, tho', wasn't it? Worrisome stories of late from Bryant's. At first I thought it was just me, but other LTHers and now you... the evidence is accumulating that the place is slipping. Of course the predictions have been dire for years... but now they seem like finally coming true.

    Your news about Stroud's North is a relief, I must say. I didn't get a chance to hit the Old Place before it closed, but it was a worry that the place up north wouldn't successfully make the transition: in earlier times Sandy's was a *German* restaurant (and actually, a pretty decent one, if you can imagine eating wursts and knödl in a log cabin!

    You going to hit some other places?

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #5 - January 22nd, 2006, 11:12 pm
    Post #5 - January 22nd, 2006, 11:12 pm Post #5 - January 22nd, 2006, 11:12 pm
    SteveZ wrote:The restaurant entry way and one of the rooms is actually a log cabin.


    I remember that log cabin entry. The building had a rambling quality to it of additions were added as need be. Usually in those types of buildings, the log cabin is buried in the structure and covered over with plaster and decorative details to disguise it. It's rare to see the original log cabin so proudly up front.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #6 - January 22nd, 2006, 11:40 pm
    Post #6 - January 22nd, 2006, 11:40 pm Post #6 - January 22nd, 2006, 11:40 pm
    stevez wrote:To follow up that lunch, I went to Stroud’s for dinner.

    Steve,

    Fried chicken looks excellent, and thanks for taking one for the team and ordering the chicken fried steak, looks like Bruce C's phone and email campaign paid off. :)

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #7 - January 23rd, 2006, 7:54 am
    Post #7 - January 23rd, 2006, 7:54 am Post #7 - January 23rd, 2006, 7:54 am
    G Wiv wrote:
    stevez wrote:To follow up that lunch, I went to Stroud’s for dinner.

    Steve,

    Fried chicken looks excellent, and thanks for taking one for the team and ordering the chicken fried steak, looks like Bruce C's phone and email campaign paid off. :)

    Enjoy,
    Gary


    Truth be told, I actually ordered the pork chops (which were excellent). Someone else ordered the Chicken Fried Steak and regretted it a little bit. The rumor around here is that Stroud's will soon reopen in an old firehouse near their original location.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #8 - January 23rd, 2006, 9:02 am
    Post #8 - January 23rd, 2006, 9:02 am Post #8 - January 23rd, 2006, 9:02 am
    Stevez:
    The rumor around here is that Stroud's will soon reopen in an old firehouse near their original location.


    Interesting--is that the one at 95th & Holmes? If so, it'll be pretty accessible, more than the older one: I always feared for my life walking along 85th st...

    Geo
    PS. There's nothing wrong with Stroud's catfish, BTW. A little known fact, to be sure. :)
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #9 - January 26th, 2006, 7:49 am
    Post #9 - January 26th, 2006, 7:49 am Post #9 - January 26th, 2006, 7:49 am
    I've been busier with work than I thought I would be, so I haven't gotten out as much as I would have liked…at least so far. A couple of nights ago I made it to Thai Place in Overland Park. This is one of my favorite Thai restaurants anywhere when I'm looking for a "fancy" Thai meal. The food shows the type of creativity and finesse shown at Arun's in its heyday. Sorry, but no pictures. I had catfish in sam rod sauce. This was deep-fried catfish on a bed of veggies in a sauce with a little bit of sweetness countered with a goodly dose of chiles. Thai Place is a haven for those of us who like their food hot.* This dish was so good, I got an order to go for later in the week, which they thoughtfully packed deconstructed to avoid getting the crispy fish gloppy. My friend ordered red curry chicken which was equally good.

    Last night I visited Smokestack BBQ, which is the first BBQ place I have ever been to that had a secret menu (of sorts). I had what they call a Crown Prime Tip which is the one and only secret menu item. It does not appear on the regular menu, but is listed on the carry out menu.. To me, it looked like the biggest beef sparerib that I have ever seen! The bone of the sparerib was fully 2½ - 3 inches wide and the rib was more than 10 inches long. I mean, this was Flintstonian in size. It was perfectly smoked to a deep brown deliciousness. The normally tough short rib meat was slow smoked to tenderness. Although they served it topped with sauce, they were very restrained in the use of sauce (they obviously understand what sauce is for). I had sides of their pit smoked beans, which had nice chunks of burnt ends in them and a house made “Cheesy Corn Bake”. I also got an order of ¼ lb. of Polish Sausage. The sausage was thinly sliced the long way in such a manner as to resemble gyro meat. I didn’t care for this presentation very much. My KC native friend told me that this type of slicing is done in a few places around KC and that the meat is generally meant to be used as part of a sandwich, where the long slices stay on the bread better. My friend had a small end of spares. They were very good, with my only (very minor) criticism is that they might have been right at the end of their useful hold time.

    Smokestack Crown Prime Tip
    Image

    Thai Place Restaurant
    9359 W. 87th St.
    Overland Park, KS
    913-649-5420

    Smokestack BBQ
    8920 Wornall
    Kansas City, MO
    816-444-5542

    * For those who know me, I’ll just say that their version of Thai Hot was one toke over the line too hot for me (although it didn’t stop me from “suffering” through my meal).
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #10 - January 26th, 2006, 7:57 am
    Post #10 - January 26th, 2006, 7:57 am Post #10 - January 26th, 2006, 7:57 am
    stevez wrote:Smokestack Crown Prime Tip

    Steve,

    This is a brutal picture for a man on his way to the dentist, especially one looking at soft food the rest of the day.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #11 - February 7th, 2006, 8:44 am
    Post #11 - February 7th, 2006, 8:44 am Post #11 - February 7th, 2006, 8:44 am
    I got a chance to visit Lidia’s Kansas City for an Italian meal one night. Lidia’s is a restaurant owned by Lidia Bastianich of PBS Cooking Show fame. Lidia operates several restaurants and for some reason chose Kansas City to open her only outpost outside of NYC.

    The restaurant is located in a nicely restored old freight house. The room is nicely decorated in woods and earthtones, with an open hearth at one end near the bar and giant grape cluster chandeliers designed by Dale Chihuly. The menu is fairly typical of a Northern Italian restaurant with upscale ambitions (think Merlo or Tuscany). When asked what the house specialty was, our server didn’t miss a beat recommending pasta over some of the more ambitious sounding dishes. We started off with a couple of fricos, which are a house made appetizer, similar to a large baked ravioli, one was filled with wild mushrooms and the other filled with seafood. Both were covered with some sort of pungent melting cheese (possibly asiago) and baked in the oven long enough to heat through and the cheese to melt. These were cut into six pieces each (sort of like an Italian Quesadilla) and were excellent. I ordered the house special pasta combination plate featuring penne in an uninspired marinara sauce, fresh fettuccini with a wonderful bolognaise sauce and house made wild mushroom ravioli in a very light cream sauce. Once you have had a chance to sample all three of the pastas, in a move reminiscent of Fanny’s waiters moved through the room with pans of each of the pastas for you to have more of if you wish. I had more of both the fettuccini and the ravioli, both of which were very good.

    Lidia’s can get forgotten, what with so many BBQ options out there, but if you’re in Kansas City looking for a nice upscale meal that won’t break the bank, Lidia’s is worth checking out.

    Lidia’s Kansas City
    101 W. 22nd St.
    Kansas City, MO
    816-221-3722
    Last edited by stevez on February 7th, 2006, 4:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #12 - February 7th, 2006, 10:35 am
    Post #12 - February 7th, 2006, 10:35 am Post #12 - February 7th, 2006, 10:35 am
    stevez--nice call on Lidia's, probably one of the best spaces in town.

    Unfortunately, the food quality has been up and down--it's typically at its very best when--surprize!--Lidia herself is in town.

    But the pastas are always a good bet.

    And one thing to note as well is her wine list: very nice selection, at *VERY* nice prices. Sometimes that is a compelling reason for my visiting her place...

    Geo
    PS. She's got a place in Da 'Burgh also, opened c. 18 mos after the KC spread. Boy, I bet that place was hoppin' after the game on Sunday!!
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #13 - February 7th, 2006, 10:55 am
    Post #13 - February 7th, 2006, 10:55 am Post #13 - February 7th, 2006, 10:55 am
    Geo wrote:And one thing to note as well is her wine list: very nice selection, at *VERY* nice prices. Sometimes that is a compelling reason for my visiting her place...



    Yes, I neglected to mention the wine list. We had a pretty nice bottole of Barolo at, what I consider to be, bargain prices. Sorry, I didn't record the details of the vintage, label, etc.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #14 - February 15th, 2006, 3:08 pm
    Post #14 - February 15th, 2006, 3:08 pm Post #14 - February 15th, 2006, 3:08 pm
    Its been a while since lived there but I remember some place up there called Cascones. Fantastic Italian, cannolis to die for.
  • Post #15 - February 15th, 2006, 3:13 pm
    Post #15 - February 15th, 2006, 3:13 pm Post #15 - February 15th, 2006, 3:13 pm
    There's a couple of Cascone places. The elders run one or two, and the offspring run another. Remember where it was? A famous olde-tyme Italian-American place is downtown, near the city market.

    One of the sons runs his own place out in the near-deep 'burbs, on the Kansas side. He's not so olde-tyme, has a few more contemporary things.

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #16 - February 15th, 2006, 5:31 pm
    Post #16 - February 15th, 2006, 5:31 pm Post #16 - February 15th, 2006, 5:31 pm
    SteveZ,

    As I understand it, Lidia wanted to open restaurants in appealing US cities with a significant Italian presence but few high end Italian options. P'Burgh and KC are perfect matches for this criteria.

    http://pittsburgh.lidiasitaly.com/index2.htm
  • Post #17 - February 15th, 2006, 7:12 pm
    Post #17 - February 15th, 2006, 7:12 pm Post #17 - February 15th, 2006, 7:12 pm
    Lidia came to KC during a definite hiatus in the high-end Italian offerings in KC. For years, our pride and joy had been Jasper's, a loving and beloved creation of Jasper Mirabile, scion of an important KC family. Jasper's place was recognized far and near as being of great, traditional, European quality.

    But, after an inexplicable fire, which remains unexplained 'til this day, Jasper's closed, leaving a huge hole in the KC restaurant scene.

    Lidia came in to fill that gap.

    Jasper's has re-opened, nicely enough, and its still-traditional ways provide an excellent counterpoise to Lidia's modernity.

    Geo

    http://www.jasperskc.com/
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #18 - February 17th, 2006, 5:24 pm
    Post #18 - February 17th, 2006, 5:24 pm Post #18 - February 17th, 2006, 5:24 pm
    I have one more entry to make for my Winter Trip to KC. Town Topic is a small chain of diners that are more or less a cross between Kevin’s Hamburger Heaven and Ramova Grill. Kansas Cityans have a love/hate relationship with Town Topic alternately ridiculing it’s very existence and being thankful that it is there 24/7, serving up dependable breakfast and greasy burgers & chili.

    Town Topic
    Image

    The Town Topic near downtown Kansas City is a postage sized diner, seating around 15 people and has been in business since 1937. I had occasion to eat there (or get carryout) several times during my visit. There is a very small, focused menu at Town Topic divided into a breakfast section and a burger section.

    Breakfast Menu at Town Topic
    Image

    Please note the swell selection of pies on the whiteboard to the right of the menu. I made sure to stop in on National Pie Day for a slice of banana cream.

    Everything is cooked on a small grill to the left as you walk in. The place is generally staffed by two old-school waitresses with plenty of miles on them (more correctly one waitress and one cook, although the cook also may take your order). On more than one of my visits the same two were working and they didn’t seem to get along at all, constantly arguing about even the smallest detail. I found this to be somewhat entertaining, but it was not the kind of good natured arguing you might see between friends. These two women obviously didn’t like each other and I found myself secretly wishing that I knew the details of their obviously long-standing feud.

    On the day I was heading home to Chicago, I stopped at Town Topic one last time for breakfast. My order was 2 over easy with sausage. When you order sausage at Town Topic, that means a hand formed sausage patty approximately 1/3 lb. in size. Have a look.

    Town Topic Grill W/Hash Browns and Sausage Patty
    Image

    Yes. That’s not a burger on that grill, that’s my breakfast sausage cooking up. Both the sausage and the hash browns were perfectly cooked and the plate was overflowing.

    Breakfast at Town Topic
    Image

    After breakfast, it was off to the airport, but not before shooting the exterior picture of the diner. As I was leaving, an older gentleman came out of the building next door and accosted me to inquire, “Just what are you doing with that camera”? It turns out that his initial demeanor was just an attempt at being funny and that he was Mr. Town Topic (“well, actually my dad was”) and as friendly as could be. His dad started the business back in ‘37 and he was carrying the torch, getting ready to pass the business on to his biker-looking son.

    Mr. Town Topic
    Image

    When I told him about LTH and my adventures in food, he invited me into their office in the building next door and gifted me a hat (eat your heart out, Hammond) and told me to “hide this because I don’t want the employees asking for one.” I've been wearing it proudly ever since.

    Town Topic Hat
    Image

    Town Topic
    2121 Broadway St.
    Kansas City, MO
    816-842-2298

    1900 Baltimore Ave
    Kansas City, MO
    816-471-6038

    6018 Johnson Dr.
    Shawnee Mission, KS
    913-362-8830
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #19 - June 20th, 2017, 3:29 pm
    Post #19 - June 20th, 2017, 3:29 pm Post #19 - June 20th, 2017, 3:29 pm
    stevez wrote:Town Topic
    2121 Broadway St.
    Kansas City, MO
    816-842-2298

    3 locations per their website: http://www.towntopic.com

    I'm going to be in KC on Sun Aug 20 as I plan on driving north or east for the total solar eclipse on Mon Aug 21
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #20 - June 20th, 2017, 8:23 pm
    Post #20 - June 20th, 2017, 8:23 pm Post #20 - June 20th, 2017, 8:23 pm
    I'm one of those (temporary, couple times a year) Kansas Cityans who mocks Town Toxic...er Topic. There's nothing particularly wrong with it, and I know people from the other half who love the place. I just think there are better Hamburgers of this same nature to be found around town.

    Hayes Hamburgers up north serves a great version of the ground beef and onion mashdown Burger, and LC's Hamburgers (no relation to the famed BBQ joint) in Platte Ridge is even better.

    Hayes is a "full" menu (Breakfast & Burgers, etc.) 24 hour joint, comparable to Town Topic. Similar character, but up in a more suburban neighborhood. LC's, IIRC, is strictly a Burger and other fast food type place. Skip the institutional fries and get an underappreciated local specialty, the Italian Steak Sandwich. Unlike Hayes and TT, there's little ambiance here, but the superior Burgers take up the slack.

    Buddy

    Hayes Hamburgers
    2502 NE Vivion Rd
    Kansas City, MO 64118
    (816) 453-5575

    LC's Hamburgers
    7612 NW Prairie View Rd
    Kansas City, MO 64151
    (816) 453-5575
  • Post #21 - June 21st, 2017, 10:32 am
    Post #21 - June 21st, 2017, 10:32 am Post #21 - June 21st, 2017, 10:32 am
    My experience is that the downtown TT is a bit more traditionally 'diner-good' than the place on Johnson Drive in Shawnee Mission. This latter place is a little too laid-back, suburban to deliver the appropriate ambiance, altho' the hash browns are just as good. : )

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #22 - June 21st, 2017, 12:24 pm
    Post #22 - June 21st, 2017, 12:24 pm Post #22 - June 21st, 2017, 12:24 pm
    BuddyRoadhouse wrote:I'm one of those (temporary, couple times a year) Kansas Cityans who mocks Town Toxic...er Topic. There's nothing particularly wrong with it, and I know people from the other half who love the place. I just think there are better Hamburgers of this same nature to be found around town.

    Hayes Hamburgers up north serves a great version of the ground beef and onion mashdown Burger, and LC's Hamburgers (no relation to the famed BBQ joint) in Platte Ridge is even better.

    A couple years ago I ate burgers at LC's, Hayes, and Town Topic (in that order) in the space of about two hours (followed by half a burger at Winstead's). I liked them all. Hayes and Town Topic make a very similar burger, but on that day I gave the slight edge to Town Topic. LC's burger is somewhat different. For something comparable to LC's, I'd consider GrandStand Burgers. No doubt about it, KC is a damn good burger town.
  • Post #23 - June 21st, 2017, 12:38 pm
    Post #23 - June 21st, 2017, 12:38 pm Post #23 - June 21st, 2017, 12:38 pm
    Kansas City's NPR station--KCUR, located at UMKC--still runs a pretty professional weekly food critics show. It's always interesting and frequently useful. Here's their discussion of Best Burgers: http://kcur.org/post/food-critics-best-burgers-kansas-city-2016#stream/0 I find some of the suggestions frou-frou, but then, what do *I* know? (In my book, you can always trust Charles Ferruzza's recommendations.)

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)

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