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Showing posts with label foodie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label foodie. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Lidia's Kansas City - Tiny Tables for Two, Big Flavors for All

I had the privilege recently to dine at Lidia's, which is arguably THE nice place to go in town, next to The American. Located in the Midtown/Crossroads area of Kansas City, it's nestled near other great places such as Lulu's Thai Noodle Shop(a new-er kid on the block, in comparison) and Grunauer. This place is a very upscale Italian-style restaurant that does not disappoint. The parking is fairly expansive for the area, and you get a great view of the bridges and the skyscrapers all lit up if you get out of the car just at twilight.

Walking in, the hostess stand is immediately to your right, across from a rack of coats which, I can only assume, belong to the other patrons. To tell you the truth, the idea of checking your coat literally next to the door with no employee directly next to it was a little unnerving, so I opted to keep mine. (Plus I get cold easily.)

We were seated within five minutes of arrival by a gorgeous Black hostess who, I must say, had the most beautiful head of hair I've ever seen. Her perfect red lipstick almost matched the decor. She sat us at a table that was easily the tiniest I've ever seen meant for two people and began to explain the wine choices for the evening. She stopped mid-sentence, though, to ask if we were over 21. I, a healthy 26, and my date, a robust 28, exchanged quizzical looks and promptly laughed as we nodded. "You two do not look over 21!" she exclaimed with a smile.

"Seriously? Look at his beard," I said. B laughed, she laughed, we all laughed.

The bread sticks, foccacia and compound butters and water were quickly brought to the table by our server, who was very well-versed at his job. The butters were vibrant hues of green and purple(one herb and one kalamata olive, if I had to guess) and both were and tasty. The bread wasn't my favorite, to be honest, but the fact that they make it in-house should be commended.

B was feeling a bit adventurous, and I know his appetite is always huge, so we went for a caesar salad and the antipasti plate to start with. The cheeses were served at near-room temperature, for which I was unbelievably thankful. We as Americans know nothing of eating cheese properly! Cheeses should always-always-always be served at room temperature! It's the only way to really appreciate the cheese's flavors and aromas properly. But, anyway, there were olives, salumi, pepperoni...all things that were good. There was this fantastic goat cheese, too, that I just loved. There was even vitello tonnato, an olive oil poached tuna that's left to sort of confit for awhile in that fabulous, flavorful fat. It was a little funky for B, so I happily polished it off. Thumbs up on the antipasti and it is definitely big enough to share! I don't know if B necessarily cared for his caesar, though; he made a comment about how he'd never had a caesar without the 'creamy thick dressing' before; this was more of a transparent-ish-vinaigrette style. It was good, but I can see what he meant. My darling Midwestern man...

See that? That's a big food coma, waiting to happen.
For dinner, he had the osso bucco, which was a dish he'd never had before. The meat was fall-off-the-bone, cut-with-a-fork tender and oh-so-flavorful I wanted to just crawl inside that shank bone and just make a house out of it. Perfectly done, if I do say so myself.

I saw that they had stuffed quail and just couldn't resist. Quail is fantastic little bird and is fucking delicious. I honestly have no idea for the life of me why it's not more of a thing in the US. The very classical Mexican/Spanish dish of Quails with Rose Petal sauce is divine, and you should try it if you ever get the chance. The mushroom-stuffed quail was pretty damn divine, too. The dish is just two perfect little quails, stuffed to the gourds with mushrooms, and served on a bed of roasted butternut squash and winter greens. The mushrooms were roasted well, as was the butternut squash. I loved the braised bed of greens that it was resting on, too. I really am a huge fan of dark, bitter greens, like kale or mustard greens, with game birds. I must say that my desire to be attractive and dainty miraculously kept me from sucking the meat off of those tiny little quail thighs in front of my date, so I made small talk and scraped it all off with a knife and fork like a lady.

It comes with two quails, forever entangled in a tango of flavor...
We were too full for dessert. I'm afraid we'll have to go back for it.

The service at Lidia's was excellent. We never saw the bottoms of our water glasses once; not even close. In fact, there was a point where I would take about three sips and a bus boy would come running with a pitcher of ice water. Our server was also cordial, professional, fastidiously groomed, and very knowledgeable about the menu.

The decor and atmosphere was great. Above us were these fantastic chandaliers of blown glass orbs all woven into, what appeared to be, some kind of industrial chicken wire.The lighting was warm and the colors were welcoming and friendly without being kitsch. In fact, it was very upscale, in my opinion. My only grievance was that the tables were tiny. Like, oh my god, so tiny.

Lidia's Kansas City on Urbanspoon
I understand that you need small tables to fit X amount into a restaurant, but B and I are long, leggy people that were a bit awkwardly cramped while people of a much more rotund nature walked by through the narrow aisles between the other tiny tables. Also, I felt a little low to the ground...but maybe that was because I'm so tall.

All in all, I give Lidia's Kansas City a thumbs up. Great service, expertly prepared food from a chef who clearly knows what he's doing, and a well-versed staff all make for a great meal. The Chef has been there for many years, now, and has clearly gotten his game down pat. I highly recommend Lidia's for a date night. It's romantic, intimate...and the food is to die for. But maybe skip the appetizers and save room for dessert, which is what I plan to do next time.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ginger Sue's is AMAZING

It's very unassuming on the outside. No, really. If you didn't know what you were looking for you would probably pass it without even knowing what had happened. It's such a little door - probably to hold in all the flavors, just like Wonka's chocolate factory - and it opens to such a possibility.

You're first greeted with a warm palette of colors, warm autumnal reds with yellow, browns and golds. It's not lavish. It's meant to look like a beautiful Southwestern/Creole kitchen. In its simplicity of design, you feel like you've stumbled upon something special. A. and I were seated by a friendly brunette waitress, which seemed to be one of many. (Seriously, there were a lot of pretty little brunettes that were there that day.) The coffee was fresh, which was a good sign, and the staff was very friendly and engaging. None of that glazed-over dead-in-the-eye stuff of so many people I've seen here. It was refreshing.

The menu seemed heavily influenced by Cajun/Creole ingredients. Everything from Cajun crepes to andouille sausage pasta specials, from breakfast to lunch of tenderloin or pancakes. They had french toast and eggs benedict. I personally couldn't resist the call of the hollandaise sauce, I settled for the crab benedict, rather than the salmon benedict(which almost got me,  had I not had so much dang smoked salmon in Garde Manger class lately). Classical French meets Cajun/Creole meets America. That's a wonderful description of their cuisine, I think.

A. got the tenderloin, which was breaded very nicely and served on a rather large plate of veggie accompaniments as well as a tasty apple-peppers slaw. It was moist and thin, and didn't give that normally heavy feeling that many tenderloins sometimes give. You know, the kind where you know you've eaten too much bread and you can do nothing about it?

The crab benedict was great. The eggs were poached perfectly and the hollandaise sauce, although just a touch under-seasoned, balanced out the homefried potatoes that came with it. Good toast on the English muffin, good amount of crab vs. egg...all in all, it was a successful and creative dish. Both A. and I were stuffed when the waitress asked if we'd have pumpkin pie for dessert. I couldn't resist, but I couldn't speak - fortunately, I have the most wonderful boyfriend in the world who suggested that we split it.

Ginger Sue's on UrbanspoonAll of their pies and desserts are made in-House, which is always admirable. The crust was nice and tender, and the custard of the pumpkin pie itself was nice and spicy with that same smoothness that we all desire in a custard pie. The real trick to custard pies is low heat with a long and slow cooking time. You can tell that a lot of love went into this pie, and it showed. Ginger Sue's is easily my new favorite breakfast place in historic downtown Liberty, MO and you'll be sure to see me back there for the rest of the menu sometime soon. If you'd like to check out more of their info, go to UrbanSpoon. 90% of people who have been there love it.  No need to be shocked.