Kansas City dining - brief visit
I am working in Manhattan, KS for the summer and my boyfriend is coming out from NY to visit for a week. We're going to spend some time in Kansas City, and I'm looking for recommendations. Based on talking with locals and reading old posts on this site, I've come up with the following places, let me know what to add or subtract:
Andre's Tearoom for lunch
Lidia's for brunch - I'm not crazy about this pick, we can always visit one of the NYC restaurants that she has a hand in. Any other moderately-priced, KC-original brunch options?
To get the most out of the bbq: Fiorella's Jack Stack for dinner one night and Arthur Bryants, Gates, or LC (the debate rages on) for dinner the next night.
Other pertinent details: Our price range for any one meal this trip tops out at about $35 per person (we could stretch it if there is a spot not to be missed). I'm not sure yet where we're staying. We will have a car and we're not afraid to use it. We're thinking of going to the City Market and the Nelson-Atkins museum of art - any good lunch spots around either of those places?
Last thing - while I have your attention - I'll be dining out with a vegetarian friend in mid-July in KC. Are there any good veggie meals to be had?
You could opt for Bluestem's brunch instead of Lidia's. It's to order rather than a buffet plus entree like Lidia's, so choose wisely if you or your boyfriend want to "feel full." I've had uneven service, but don't think you necessarily might. The food is very good and you'll want to make a res.
I'm not crazy about Andre's for lunch. You might be better off at 1924 or Room 39. I admit I haven't been to Andre's except for confections in well, years, so I may not be a reliable opinion of the place.
I keep hearing about a gas station called Oklahoma Joe's (or do I have that name wrong?) that sells barbecue on Broadway. Haven't been, hear it's delish. Jack Stack is great. I'm sure others will give you opinions on others.
For a vegetarian, I'm always hearing good things about Bluebird Bistro, but have never had a great meal there. There's always been something terribly wrong about the food when I've eaten there, as if someone in the kitchen didn't eat, that bad--rice paper wrappers on salad rolls that were refrigerated and so tough they couldn't be bitten through, salads made with unstemmed mature kale rather than lettuce, veggie burger that was virtually uncooked. But, everyone else must have much better luck at this place. I don't understand it. Korma Sutra has many vegetarian choices and their food is always tasty. Spin Pizzeria has veggie options and a nice patio space if you all would drive to 119th.
I'm sure I'm missing something obvious...
If I was bringing a New Yorker in town, I'd probably do the following:
Brunch at Bluebird Bistro (as mentioned). I've never had a bad experience there. Cool place, good all organic food (i think). If not there, eat at Succotash in the City Market. Both are close to downtown.
If you want a quick easy lunch, but don't want to be stuffed, you can stop by andre's or there's a nice cafe in the Nelson Atkins with outdoor seating that's pretty cool. Or there are numerous places on the Country Club plaza if you're going to be walking around sightseeing and such.
Dinner at Jackstacks in the Crossroads. There are numerous other options in this area as well, but if your set on BBQ, you can't really go wrong here. If you can time it correctly, go here on the first friday of the month when all the galleries in the area stay open late. Otherwise, 1924 Main, Lidia's, Piropo's, Carmen's are all other favorites that are not too far away from the downtown area that are nice, and within or close to within your budget (though a couple may be a bit more-depending on drinks!). Enjoy....
Do go to Fiorella's Jack Stack, but make sure you go to the Freight House location, not the Plaza one (or, alternatively, they have two other locations in the suburbs that I cannot comment on). Their best bbq dishes are their most unusual ones: lamb ribs (around $12) and "crown prime ribs" (which, at $27 or so, are fairly expensive for bbq fare but are, IMO, absolutely worth it). People rave about their onion rings (too thick for me - I prefer onion straws myself), and their sauce is downright mediocre - but the above two cuts of meat fortunately require none of it. All in all, my favorite bbq in the city.
Avoid Gates - it's not real bbq, just oven-baked crap: dried out ribs and mushy, braised-tasting, larger cuts. No smoke flavor whatsoever (same problem as Fiorella's Jack Stack Plaza location, by the way).
Arthur Bryant's is wildly uneven. Show up at a wrong time (which these days is almost always.. or am I just so unlucky?) and you'll be eating cold, dry brisket. LC's is your best bet, I suppose. Or check out BB's Lawnside on weekends if you want some live music and a bar scene with your ribs.