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Posts posted by JWest

  1. Thanks SiseFromm and rjwong ..this helps.

    I am actually flying out there this coming weekend to look at property with a potential investor (who is looking to purchase actual property which will eventually be the home of a restaurant that my business partner and I will be opening).

    I, myself haven't been to California and I am looking forward to it...as well my reservation at SONA in LA.

    Thanks Again...and more feedback is appreciated.

  2. I took my best friend Sam to Bluestem last for my birthday, and I've been wanting to rave about it, but my coworkers would just look at me like I was crazy, so I hope it's ok to rave here.  (Please don't laugh at me!)

    Neither of had been before, so we decided to jump right in with both feet.  We did the 12 course with wine pairings.  I asked how the wine pairings worked, since I don't eat at this level very often, and was surprised that  wine would be paired with all 12 courses.  The sommelier made some really excellent selections. 

    Here's what we ate, and forgive me because I wasn't taking notes, I may have gotten the order wrong. 

    Amuse - carrot juice with cucumber foam. 

    Oyster, smoked trout, salmon roe.  We ate this as one bite and then just kind of looked at each other in silence.  Very intense flavors, especially after the mild spring taste of the amuse.  It took me a minute to decide that it was delicious.  I guess that's what people mean when they describe a dish as challenging.

    Crab cake, with cucumber jello.  The crab had Asian/sushi flavors, and the cucumber jello was brilliant.  Sam said he doesn't like cucumbers, but the flavor here, in a friendlier texture was really nice. 

    Escargot - oyster(?) mushrooms, pine nuts.  Warm, clean pesto flavors.  I've only ever had escargot that reminded me of a piece of rubber swimming in garlic butter, so eating it this way was nice. 

    Foie gras tourchon.  My first time eating foie.  I now understand what all the fuss is about.  Sam had eaten it before, but when I asked him what it tasted like, he said it doesn't take like anything else, it just tastes like foie gras.  I hope I don't sound like a rube when I say this was the single best thing I've ever put in my mouth.  The Canadian ice wine was a great pairing. 

    Asparagus soup served over whipped ricotta, prosciutto, and olive oil.  I wanted to lick the bowl. 

    Seafood pasta in tomato sauce with fresh oregano.  This was the only dish I didn't really like.  It was served in a mini fishbowl, which I thought was a cool presentation, but it hindered actually eating it.  The shrimp still had the tail on, and it was akward getting a knife and fork in to the bowl to eat it.  I also think the shrimp was a little overcooked.  It tasted good, so I think maybe it only suffered in comparison.  This had probably the most interesting wine pairing - a very yeasty champagne that Sam said was like drinking bread.  And the pairing was sort of like having a crusty bread to mop up the tomato sauce with. 

    Scallop.  I'm not sure I can recall what came with this, because the scallop was just perfect.  Crisp seared crust, absolutely silky inside.  I wanted to eat a dozen of them. 

    Deconstructed paella - seared whitefish, sausage foam.  This turned the savory way up.  A nicely soft pinot here.

    Waygu fillet, whipped smoked potatoes, tomato jam, blue cheese crisp, grainy mustard sauce.  This was about the time we just started sighing with pleasure.  A big California cabernet-sauvignon for this and the next course. 

    Lamb 2 ways, tiny spring vegetables, honey jasmine sauce.  More sighs.  That honey sauce was perfect.

    Cheese course - goat cheese, spiced nuts, almond bread.  Earlier my friend had asked the sommelier what else would be good paired with the ice wine.  So he brought that back here.  It was fun to see the wine take a totally different character against the cheese versus the foie.

    Dessert - chocolate souffle cake, Kalua ice cream.  Tawny port pairing.  Smiles and sighs from both of us.

    Champagne float.  This was the other near-miss.  Taken as a single drink, this was a little too much at this point - too cold, too bubbly.  Instead of this I would have loved a tiny espresso shot. 

    Petit-fours - lavender chocolate truffle, caramel.  This was good.  The bitterness of the truffle actually provided that coffee note that I love with dessert.

    We stumbled out of the restaurant afterwards, both of us sort of breathless and flushed, probably from all the wine.  OK, it was really from having eaten the best meal either of us had ever had. 

    Go and do this if you haven't already!  We're lucky to have a restaurant of this caliber in Kansas City.  I can't wait to go for brunch.

    Sounds like an amazing meal, do you remember what went with the Foie?

  3. This was my 5th visit to Table 6 and after leaving Denver for about 8 months and coming back to a new chef I am confident in saying that they haven't really missed a step.

    The food is obviously different but in the same style.

    Foie Gras with Lemon Curd and Dried Apricots

    Foie Gras was nice but I was dissapointed in having such a small portion of seared Foie Gras...I don't understand chefs being so afraid of giving a nice chunk of foie especially being seared. Torchon or pate, I could see why because of its compact-rich like characteristics.

    The rest of my meal is on my flickr account here

    We sat at the community bar table since it was packed (as it always seems like that!) and it really didn't change the experience that much...so that would be my reccomendation if you aren't able to get a table. Service was great as usual, just very friendly and helpful with wine pairings/menu selections.

  4. One thing you can't forget is that Kansas City Magazine is in the business of selling magazines, hence increasing circulation for higher ad revenues. If readers pick up every issue to see the latest outrageous restaurant review, the reviewer has done thier job, biased or unbiased. They aren't looking for jounalistic integrity; they're searching for rack sales and subscriptions. The whole blow-up in the KC Star has done exactly what KCM wanted it to do, generating interest and awareness of their publication.


    I'm not sure that magazines' revenue comes from subscription sales - rather more from advertising. I think this is more true with journal publications than with other print media (e.g. books).

    I went back to look at Fellrath's reviews, here's his track record:

    bluestem 4 stars

    Cafe Sebastienne 1 star

    The American Restaurant 2 stars

    Tatsu's 3 stars

    Starker's Reserve 3 stars

    Piropos no stars

    With three out of six restaurants getting 3 stars or better, I would hardly call this sensationalist journalism.

    I know this ain't NYC, but chefs in other cities clutch their 2 stars like they've won the Oscar. Here, it's almost expected. I noticed that the KC Star article said nothing about the restaurants that received high marks. I also noticed that the article only cited negative comments about the restaurants listed. Surely Fellrath had positive things to say about those restaurants in his review?


    My comment does mention that rack sales/subscriptions = higher ad revenues, FWIW.

    If the reviewer were sensationalistic on every review, no one would take him seriously. The sensationalism is often in the things said, i.e. the "wood" reference.

    I also have to say that I've never read the KCM reviews before, so I can comment directly on what the reviewer said. The Star piece is all the info about KCM I have.

    You can still read each review at KCMAG.com

  5. There's an issue here which we haven't gotten into- and it's a tough one, because criticism is by nature subjective.  We've got a whole thread here dedicated to the KC Star's critic and the quality of her reviews (or, more to the point, how they're lacking).  The KC Mag reviewer is pretty much her polar opposite, in terms of calling restaurants on the carpet and not just handing away 3 stars. 

    Perhaps Piropos' GM gotten complacent after being handed non-challenging reviews for so long.  Don't we, as consumers, deserve good restaurant criticism?  What message does it send to not only critics but also consumers if restauranteurs shop around for a bully pulpit to shut down critics?

    (Edited for pesky pronouns)

    I think you're right, we do deserve good restaurant criticism. Fellrath (KC Mag) has really done a great job detailing specific situations during her dining experiences. If the review matches the star rating, then there shouldn't be any problem. Also, people tend to forget this is one person's (with whoever else the reviewer is eating with) thoughts on their meal. That's the problem with other reviewers in KC...they tend to have the strangest reviews and then it seems as if they just chose the star rating based off what they should get and not based off of what they really deserve but that's another thread.

  6. what a critic has to say about a restaurant is almost strictly opinion i mean there is some education involved with most critics but that just means they can be picky down to the details. or rather that they can better express what they like or don't like. they are still biased by their own pallats which cannot be completely neutral when they enter an establishment. we all have certain likes and dislikes food wise from childhood on.

    I agree with most of that.

  7. Of course he disagrees with the rating... he's biased-and not to mention..the GM.

    The restaurant completely mishandled the situation.

    It's like in elementary school when Bobby didn't win and his mom shows up to class to argue with the teacher. The better way to handle this situation is to address the issues that Fellrath pointed out.

    Instead of acting like novices and pointing fingers..how about utilizing a perfect chance to redeem yourself by saying "We have addressed the problems and have maintained our commitment to excellence" or something to that effect. Possibly saying "We are in a new era and everyday Kansas Citians are demanding a better dining experience and we are rising to the occasion".

    Fellrath has only exploited the silliness of the Kansas City food scene and this just shows how much pampering the restaurants have been recieving by various critics.

    P.S. I haven't had my coffee yet. :raz:

  8. Thanks so much for the information. Since I am a member of the James Beard Foundation I like to support their restaurants. Any thoughts on these places in Denver?



    NINE 75 






    If you decide to go with Kevin Taylor, let me know. Also, I know Frasca is not on your list but Lachlan Mackinnon Patterson was up for "Rising Star Chef" last year at the awards.

    Vesta Dipping Grill has always been delicious for me. (Three Visits) The Flatiron with the Clams are great and same with the Pork Tenderloin. At first you think its great that they have all those sauces but then during your meal you almost forget about them because their food doesn't seem to really need anything else. Not the best place for a relaxing meal but its good for exciting crowds.

    Rioja has good solid food...almost fool proof with the way the menu is set up. The dining room is nice and it's a fun place to be at when the place is rolling with people.

    Solera, I had the best service from any restaurant during my visit last year. The dining room is dark, small, and great for romantic dining. The food is well executed but lacks life.

    Mizuna had good tasting food just like solera but maybe just a hair better. The service was good, they are very good at what they do (for food and service). Quiet dining room even with the open kitchen.

    Restaurant Kevin Taylor, I like to think of it as walking into the 90's. Stacked food, piles of micro greens, great service, asian fusion here and there, french foie gras, and different sized tasting menus.

    Zengo always seems to be a very trendy restaurant. It's more of a place to be seen at and a great location for dating. There food is sexy and some of the flavor combinations are fun.

    ...if I was traveling from somewhere and I wanted to eat at a premiere restaurant, I'd go to Frasca in Boulder, CO. If you want to be downtown and have a fun time in the evening, go to Vesta or Rioja. If you want a quiet enjoyable meal, Mizuna sounds like the place. If you want to get dressed up, go see a show downtown, and get a 4 star experience then Kevin Taylor.

    They're all great in there own way :)

  9. I'm not sure how well either of these places lend themselves to a quick taste, but Winstead's and Oklahoma Joe's would be at the top of my list.  I personally think Oklahoma Joe's has the best fries in the known universe. 

    If you're going to Arthur Bryant's, go to the original one at 18th and Brooklyn.  The other location(s?) are sorely lacking in many respects, especially in ambiance.

    I really like the burnt ends myself and agreed with the original location. As for Winsteadts, I think their burgers are a bit dry nowadays but they match well with the Cherry Limeades.

  10. I've made it myself and I do have the recipe - PM me if you want it.  It is labor and time intensive but, as it's the only option these days, I will do it again.

    DeFazio's, which I've heard originally opened as an Angelo's way back when (but you'd know more about this than I would) still has marinated eggplant on their salads. :smile:

    OK, so the offer to meet in Emporia is still on for any/all takers :biggrin:

    They put too much into the hype. I had the short rib soup or should I short rib stew? Pretty stingy boiled the hell out of it. A lot of packaging for very little. The soup spoons really are a Joke. Oh wow I got a napkin and a refrigerator magnet. I don't really want to get started on the Sanditto's........lmfao!!

    Wow it sounds like as if you went into a 4 star restaurant recieving plagued courses such as over cooked duck, raw lamb, no flatware or knives to cut into the raw piece of meat. Then actually paying one of those 20% mandatory tips. Good thing your bad experience didn't have you "fork" over more than $8 -$10.

  11. I'll tell what did (and always does) turn me off: those side salads were pre-made and refrigerated in see-through to-go boxes by the checkout in a stand-alone refrigerator with drinks.  Everytime I see salads like that, I think - airport.  And, those tiny boxes of greens were, IMO, way over-priced ($3.50).

    I couldn't remember from my last visit...were they pre dressed as well? and what vinaigrettes are they offering?

  12. The sanditto is a large flour tortilla wrap, already filled, so if you don't like a particular ingredient, you're out of luck.


    That's...just plain stupid, and what I consider to be a bad business practice. It really bugs me in two ways:

    1. It indicates that those with allergies or extreme distaste for certain foods aren't able to control what goes into the sanditto, and

    2. It's not exactly a "fresh" sanditto if they're premade, wrapped, etc.

    I mean, for crying out loud, why would it be such a bad thing to be able to skip the cheese on the wrap if I so desired? I guess I'm just dumbfounded by such an idea, and it would really, *really* rub me the wrong way, in a "You don't like the way we do things? Tough! You know where the door is!" kind of way. I'd certainly let my wallet do the voting for me.

    The sandittos need time to rest and allow flavors to develop inside the hot pocket of deliciousness. Otherwise, you lose the integrity of the sanditto.

  13. My meal from the new and improved brunch menu which just recently began on the 21st was superb.

    Everyone deserves to have this before they die...if not, you'll atleast get a heart attack from it.

    Imagine lucious and creamy Anson Mills Grits spooned on the plate with slices of Corn Meal Breaded Berkshire Pork fried to a crisp resting on top. Then think about perfectly fried sunny side campo lindo farm eggs and not too thick and not too runny sausage gravy drapped on top. Every bite delivered to the last savor.

  14. i'm planning to go to denver in a couple weeks and definetly want to check out the dining scene. i will be there for 3 days and want to enjoy some really good cutting edge food. Can anybody reccomend restaurants dabbling in molecular gastronomy?  I have been to alinea and moto in chicago something in the middle of those 2 would be great. anysuggestions will be a help. Thanks

    I don't know of any in Denver, although Frasca in Boulder is impressive as far as top notch Restaurants are concerned.

  15. Joe,

    When I was a produce buyer for a national natural food purveyor, I had a lot of killer farmers in Colorado.  I was amazed at the variety, quantity and quality of what they produced at altitude and in a relatively short growing season.

    I'll parse through my business carda and faulty memory and PM you come contacts.

    Boy...when you think you're long gone from the heartland! :raz:

    Looking forward to your help Judy!

  16. I've always enjoyed Vesta.. a solid restaurant. Now with Steuben's, I had to try the all american/diner/gut truck/whatever goes concept. It works like a charm.

    Went in for the first night and the first thing I noticed was the color combination, decor, and the flow of the restaurant. It's very clean and comfortable but still diner-ish. There's just so much variety that everyone in your party should find something that they like. For me I just eat as much as I can... :laugh:

    Gravy Fries- Get the green chili on top...it's not too spicy but has the perfect acidity to match with the gravy, melted mozzerella cheese, and the house made french fries.

    MeatLoaf- Tuesday's Special, So tender and juice that it just falls apart with the touch of a fork. A really nice sweet and caramelized tomato glaze rests on top of the large chunk of the "fluffy" meat loaf which is propped on top of a nice mound of mashed potatoes and topped with brown gravy. This was truely amazing.

    Mac N Cheese- This was okay, I don't reccomend it, Im sure there were other better things to get than this. The sauce was kind of runny, I could have used a little more bread crumbs (a la gratinee).

    Fried Corn- Tasty, kind of out of season but I bet this will be nice in the summer.

    Monte Cristo- Very sexy. Melted cheese, savory ham, sweet powder sugar and jelly, with a light crispy crust.

    This is a must "weekly routine" and the Rootbeer was probably the best commercially made soda I've ever had.

    I've heard of the bad reviews..I just didn't see anything that was worth bashing about.

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