Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Bluestem, KC


Recommended Posts

Spent a nice afternoon out at arrowhead, drinking free Fat Tire beer and getting sun burnt. After the game we found our way to Westport in time for the manager's reception at the Quarterage. We've stayed there before, and for a boutique hotel, it's really a bargain despite a few noticeable upkeep issues. The location can hardly be beaten, either. Due to the copious amounts of free hooch, you'll have to excuse any fuzzy details

We started out dinner at Bluestem with a bottle of '02 Domaine Raspail Ay Gigondas ($40) and the foie gras torchon ($16), the quality of which was top notch. it was garnished with the traditional cherries, as well as pear, but also had some very nice honey gelee's and a streak of saffron and a cherry-balsamic sauce or some kind of reduction. I didn't ask and I couldn't quite place it.

I had the Kobe beef ($36), which was very good. The menu referred to it as 'flatiron', but a flatiron steak is from the top blade and is (to me) usually junk beef. I have been astonished to see flatiron steaks popping up all over the place on hip menus, but I bit the bullet and ordered it anyway. I'm not sure if this dish was a testimony to the Kobe beef, or the butcher, but had I not known, I would have guessed that this was from the top loin, or possibly the Culotte muscle.

Regardless, it was extremely tender, served perfectly rare, and sliced into thin strips and piled high. It was served on a bed of broccolini and young asparagus, and topped with some prawns, which while looking extremely overdone, were quite good and only very slightly chewy. Garnished with basil oil and a sauce which may have been balsamic based, but at this point it's an alcohol blur. Also included a Bearnaise or something. It was rich and creamy and good, whatever it was.

Mrs. Mywhitedevil had the Halibut ($26), which came on some fingerling potatoes, and swam gracefully in a subtle lemon broth. I had a taste and the potatoes were cooked perfectly and offset the texture of the fish very well. I can't recall what else it consisted of or give any real insight to her dish.

Desert consisted of a bittersweet chocolate pudding cake and passion fruit sorbet for her ($8), and a pot de crème and madelines ($8) for me. We both loved the pudding, which was very rich, very dense and very tasty. We both liked the sorbet, although the wife felt that it was too subtle to go with the rich bittersweet chocolate and I tend to agree. We both thought it stood up well on its own, but the pairing wasn't perfect. My pot de crème was amazing. Very good spring strawberries, blueberries and the odd raspberry. The crème was very good, and the madelines were the best I've ever had, which is saying quite a bit, esp. considering that my wife worked at Wheatfields in Lawrence for a couple of years and Jules makes some exquisite ones there. They were so buttery and smooth and soft inside and just the right bite of crunchy on the crust.

The service was very good. It was exactly what I expect at a place such as this; very helpful, not condescending at all, eager to serve. Chef Garrelts also surprised us not only by coming out and saying hello, but also by already knowing who we were, and wishing us a happy anniversary. A quick mention of eGullet by Colby indicated that he has his “eye on everything” and the fact he culled our identity out of our reservation's area code and my eGullet profile proves it. A very savvy move that astonished my wife and impressed me, too.

All in all, I was suitably happy with our choice, and would like to think that we made our anniversary a memorable one. We splurged a little, certainly we rarely drop as much coin on eating out as we did, but for less than $200 (I think we came out around $180 after tax and tip) we got a very nice appetizer, two entrees, a bottle of wine, desert and coffee.

Edited by mywhitedevil (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

Here is my belated, quick write-up of a dinner I had at Bluestem a couple of weeks ago. The seven course dinner was a celebration for the Food and Wine nomination, and I attended with another eGulleter and her main squeeze. It was a great time, with at least a couple variations of "greatest hits" from the regular menu.

Amuse

This was a spoon w/fava bean, prosciutto, artichoke heart, and argon oil. Great start to the meal, differing textures, saltiness, nuttiness of the oil.

Wine: Alvear Fino Sherry Montilla

Second

Tasmanian Salmon, Lime, Pear, Cucumber

This dish was visually appealing, with all of the elements lined across the plate in different basic geometric shapes. The lime was a gelee, a very potent one at that. I liked the dish, the only problem being figuring out the best tasting combinations to put on the fork before I had already eaten everything.

Wine: Leon Beyer Gewurztraminer Alsace 2002

Third

La Belle Farms Foie Gras, Rhubarb, Plum, Honey

If you've been to Bluestem, you know this is a dish that has been on the menu in some form since the beginning. And for good reason. I usually prefer seared foie gras, but Colby's torchone is pure luxury on a plate. It's a very nice sized portion too, I'm a fanatic about foie gras, and it is always enough to satisfy me. The cold version at Bluestem with constantly changing accompaniments, and the seared version (changed monthly) at Pachamama's in Lawrence provide a perfect counterpoint to each other, depending on how I want my decadence served up that day.

Wine: Elderton Botrytis Semillon Riverina 2004

Fourth

Tomato Soup, Lobster, Avocado

This dish is presented with a small mound of lobster meat, topped with avacado, sitting at the bottom of your soup bowl. Then the tomato soup is poured around it. It was pure creamy goodness (I would not have scoffed at a miniature version of a grilled cheese alongside it), but at the same time the dominant flavor was definitely tomato. When it comes to tomato, roasted pepper, etc. soups, sometimes the flavor of the main ingredient can get lost, but this held onto a very distinct, earthy tomato flavor while having a rich, creamy texture at the same time. It was a matter of starting with the best possible tomatoes, that's for sure.

Wine: Marquis De Gelida Cava 2000

Fifth

Halibut, Mussels, Chorizo, Eucalyptus

I think this was my favorite dish of the night. All of the dishes had a summertime feel to them, but this one most of all. A perfectly seared piece of halibut was placed on top of a bed of braised fennel, mussels and very fine shreds of chorizo. Then, a eucalyptus broth was poured into the bowl. There was the initial aromatic blast, followed by several layers of flavor. Everyone at my table was discussing the merits of chorizo as a kind of seasoning, due to the fact that it can be so potent, especially when paired with something as mild as halibut. A nice underlying seasoning was what it provided for this dish, and along with the textural components of the mussels and fennel, the aroma of the broth, and perfectly done fish, this course was absolutely top tier. It was delicious in a simple comfort-food kind of way, while at the same time getting the ol' brain fired up and thinking about it on a few different levels (and that is exactly how I would define ANY of my favorite dishes at Bluestem in the past year and a half of dining there).

Wine: Siduri Pino Noir Sonoma County 2004

Sixth

Wagyu, Tomato Confit, Eggplant, Veal Jus

This was a good dish, with perfectly rare-medium rare pieces of Wagyu sitting alongside the tomato confit and pureed eggplant. I usually always obsess on one single element in one of the dishes when I go to dinners like this, and the eggplant puree ended up being the obsession of the evening for some reason. It was just really tasty, with a depth of flavor that I don't usually associate with eggplant. When I asked Colby, he said it was pretty simple, just containing the pureed eggplant, herbs and shallots if I recall correctly. That's usually the case whenever I get hung up on one really good component to a dish…it's way simpler than I imagined (or all of these chefs are just really, really smooth when it comes to keeping their secrets…lol). Anyway, this was a good closer for main course, what's not to like about great beef?

Wine: Qupe Bien Nacido Hillside Reserve Santa Maria Valley 2001

Seventh

Vanilla Poached nectarines, passion fruit pound cake, crème chantilly

Wine: El Grifo Malvasia Dulce Lanzarote 2002

I always try at least one of Megan's desserts, and I always really like them. My very favorite up to this point has been an apple donut (I think that's what it was called…phenomenal though) that I got last year, but the pound cake has taken over as reigning champion for now. Instead of one piece of cake, there were two thin slices accompanied by the nectarines. Very rich, but not overly heavy or too sweet. I'll get pound cake whenever it's on the menu, it's the best.

After the dessert course, we were presented with a round of "champagne floats" which were tall shotglasses of sparkling wine and a bite of ice cream. I normally wouldn't think that semi-dry sparkling wine and ice cream would be a good mix, but it was surprisingly good. It reminded me of a super-deluxe version of that punch you get at weddings made with 7-up and sherbet (and really, I mean that in a GOOD way!). And of course, the awesome homemade truffles at the very end.

Quick word about the wine service- all of the wine pairings were good, with the Qupe and Siduri (let it breathe though, it has one big alcohol nose on it at first) being my favorites. I always appreciate the wine service at Bluestem, because if it's new to me and I like it, I can always count on finding it at a reasonable price at the liquor store or online. The wine list is just a lot of fun, and anyone who can get me to drink something besides dry reds and enjoy it is doing God's work.

Overall comments- Service was very good. Indicative of a restaurant where all of the employees share a sense of ownership. I usually don't like the banquet format where everyone gets the same food at the same time, but the restaurant is small enough for it not to be annoying. Plus it's kind of neat to watch the universal reactions to the dishes. Obviously, everyone at my table had a great time and enjoyed the food. It was a great evening to celebrate well deserved recognition. Most importantly, a huge congratulations to Colby, Megan and the entire team on coming so far in such a short amount of time. I look forward to many years of eating your food and experiencing your constantly evolving vision.

Jerry

Kansas City, Mo.

Unsaved Loved Ones

My eG Food Blog- 2011

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The crème was very good, and the madelines were the best I've ever had, which is saying quite a bit, esp. considering that my wife worked at Wheatfields in Lawrence for a couple of years and Jules makes some exquisite ones there.

Can I come over for pastries sometime?!? :smile: I love Wheatfield's... definitely my top pick for lunch in Lawrence!

I still have not been able to go to Bluestem, but I will soon!

We ate at Pachamama's on Saturday for my parent's birthday, my treat, and it was wonderful! Bluestem sounds similar in some of the dishes you were telling us about, so I'm sure I'll love it!

"Many people believe the names of In 'n Out and Steak 'n Shake perfectly describe the contrast in bedroom techniques between the coast and the heartland." ~Roger Ebert

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

I only hope the toque isn't getting tight enough to cause physical discomfort. :wink:

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry Moonsnqrl

I didn't get to say good by to you last evening the people next to you were retentious and I did’nt want to choke them :hmmm: anyway see you soon

Colby

“Nobody can be so amusingly arrogant as a young man who has just discovered an old idea and thinks it is his own." - Sydney J. Harris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Blue Stem, 40 Sardines, and The American Restaurant are the Three best restaurants in Kansas City in my opinion...

"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What does everyone think about KC's food scene? is it possible that it can get bigger and better?

Can it be the next Chicago in about 10-15 years?

The way I see it....

Chicago was the Sausage and Pizza town and now its arguably one of 3 largest restaurant towns in the country.

Kansas City is the BBQ town, can it become a bigger restaurant town with the base of Blue Stem and Company?

The reason I ask is because one of my long term goals is to help push that new era in KC ... when Im older and have much more experience.

"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What does everyone think about KC's food scene? is it possible that it can get bigger and better?

Absolutely! It can, it will, it must!

JW, you're playing right into my hand. Our fearless midwestern leader, Ronnie Suburban, and I are 'brainstorming' (OK, not so much a storm as scattered showers, but we're trying) ideas to inspire the KC-area Society members to pick up the pace as our food scene teems with excitement and growth.

Stay tuned for a new, KC-centric media digest and more. Above all, if you have friends (especially in the KC Metro area) or colleagues who share your love of food, arts and letters, please direct them to eGullet. Feel free to forward any ideas you have via PM to make this site a vibrant force.

Thanks for the evocative - and timely post.

PS: While I am not sure we want to be the "next Chicago" (no offense intended, IL), I do agree that it would be really nice to evolve beyond BBQ. Ok, we have awesome Q, but there is so much more. Let's spread our wings and broaden our horizons.

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

It crossed my mind but I'm not sure we want Colby to get any more insufferable than he already is. :wink:

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chicago seems to pretty much dominate the Best of MidWest awards..

Kansas City is over due for atleast another nominee, maybe 7 years ago since the last time?

I definetly want to send out nominations this year though.

"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chef Garrelts is in league of his own, and is an obvious choice for a 2006 Midwest Beard award. But sadly, if anyone looks at the results of the last few years, almost 85% of all winners/nominees are from NYC or California. And with regards to the districts that the Awards are given out to, the "Midwest" is almost always defined as Chicago, just as the "Mid-Atlantic" is Washington DC, the "Northeast" is Boston, and so on. Has anyone ever been nominated or received an award from Iowa, Vemont, the Dakotas, New Hampshire, etc? Now more than ever, the Beard Foundation must break the mold and truly start to reflect the diverse food cultures and regional chefs that make this country a culinary force to be rekoned with around the globe.

Graham Elliot

@grahamelliot

www.grahamelliot.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chef Garrelts is in league of his own, and is an obvious choice for a 2006 Midwest Beard award.  But sadly, if anyone looks at the results of the last few years, almost 85% of all winners/nominees are from NYC or California.  And with regards to the districts that the Awards are given out to, the "Midwest" is almost always defined as Chicago, just as the "Mid-Atlantic" is Washington DC, the "Northeast" is Boston, and so on.  Has anyone ever been nominated or received an award from Iowa, Vemont, the Dakotas, New Hampshire, etc?  Now more than ever, the Beard Foundation must break the mold and truly start to reflect the diverse food cultures and regional chefs that make this country a culinary force to be rekoned with around the globe.

I think Lucia's Restaurant in MN was nominated last year in the Midwest category but yes your point is spot on. That was a notable exception to the trend.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

what does everyone feel about the restuarants that constantly get nominated every year until they win it? Does it just end up being like that or do the same people keep nominating the same restaurants regardless of the performance for that specific year? I think it atleast a little bit of both, I think people want to see restaurants who keep getting denied the winner spot to actually win it someday.

"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

Link to comment
Share on other sites

what does everyone feel about the restuarants that constantly get nominated every year until they win it? Does it just end up being like that or do the same people keep nominating the same restaurants regardless of the performance for that specific year? I think it atleast a little bit of both, I think people want to see restaurants who keep getting denied the winner spot to actually win it someday.

In daytime TV, this is known as "Susan Lucci Syndrome;" in other arenas it's called "lifetime achievement."

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chef Garrelts is in league of his own, and is an obvious choice for a 2006 Midwest Beard award.  But sadly, if anyone looks at the results of the last few years, almost 85% of all winners/nominees are from NYC or California.  And with regards to the districts that the Awards are given out to, the "Midwest" is almost always defined as Chicago, just as the "Mid-Atlantic" is Washington DC, the "Northeast" is Boston, and so on.  Has anyone ever been nominated or received an award from Iowa, Vemont, the Dakotas, New Hampshire, etc?  Now more than ever, the Beard Foundation must break the mold and truly start to reflect the diverse food cultures and regional chefs that make this country a culinary force to be rekoned with around the globe.

Chef, I agree with your statement. If the Beard House wants to continue to represent the culinary of North America, they need to go beyond the city limits of New York City. I know they invite chefs from all over, but the only ones they reward are the high profile guys with really good pr people. Until they do, I pay them very little attention. I have had great food in Kansas City, Fayetteville, Ak, Austin, Destin and they are totally ignored. Is there something in their rules that says only chefs in areas of a certain size are allowed to receive awards?

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This past year I've gone two out two times to eat dinner... Im debating whether I should go for a third time maybe with some friends and family or... I could save it up for Christmas break. I had a blast both times, although I think I enjoyed the first visit more. Our Server was a very nice lady and my family and I had just picked a couple of courses and dessert as well. Everything tasted great and after having torchon de foie gras, Sole, and dessert I felt like the portion sizes were superb. Second time, we went with my mother's boss (Chef Tatsu Arai), his sous chef's wife, and his business partner. The server this time didn’t seem to really connect with us for some reason. We all decide to do the tasting menu, which is one of my favorite things to do with a group of people because you get to discuss what’s going on with our palates. Through out the menu it seemed like not everyone was satisfied through out the whole tasting. Unfortunately I think the Pea Soup may have been diluted with something other than peas/pea essence. We were all expecting much more flavor than what was served. Tatsu felt inconsistent on being satisfied with each course. I think we just had some bad luck, next time I come I hope the food was just as good as the first time because it was pretty phenomenal. Although my mother is probably the toughest food critique I know. :)

"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Does anyone know when the addition to the restaurant is estimated to be finished?

Unfortunately I think the Pea Soup may have been diluted with something other than peas/pea essence. We were all expecting much more flavor than what was served.

I meant to say my mother made this point. As I said before, she's the toughest critique I know :wink:

"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We hope before the first of the year. The front should be done in the next couple of weeks. As for the doorway connecting the two spaces we are just waitng for the city people to do their job. The kitchen will be finished after the lounge is up and running. We are very excited. :biggrin:

Colby

“Nobody can be so amusingly arrogant as a young man who has just discovered an old idea and thinks it is his own." - Sydney J. Harris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We hope before the first of the year. The front should be done in the next couple of weeks. As for the doorway connecting the two spaces we are just waitng for the city people to do their job. The kitchen will be finished after the lounge is up and running. We are very excited.  :biggrin:

Colby

I don't suppose you would care to give the society members a preview of what types of dishes you're thinking of serving in the "new space" (are you just calling it "The Wine Bar at bluestem" or...?). And maybe we can help design the special service pieces you'll be using. Oh, wait, wrong thread. Sorry. :biggrin:

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a coincidence...speaking of wine and Bluestem, I just found a local source (Red X) that carries Belle Pente Pinot Noir that Colby paired with an entree for me earlier in the year. Loved it, never saw it for sale anywhere, and forgot all about it until I saw it on the shelf yesterday.

Jerry

Kansas City, Mo.

Unsaved Loved Ones

My eG Food Blog- 2011

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...