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Last minute visit to KC from NYC

My SO just had meetings scheduled for early next week so we decided to make a weekend out of it. The last time we visited was two years ago and the food was great: Bluebird, Succotash, 1924 Main, Harry;s, Jack Stack's and Christopher Elbow chocolates.

We're getting in on Friday and plan to have dinner around 9/9:30. We're staying at Hotel Phillips.

I put together a list of places that are in each neighborhood we'll be in (correct me if I'm wrong) that look like good options - plus we're going to LC's since we had Jack Stack's already:

Downtown/Crossroads: Bluebird Bistro (the only repeat visit from last time), Seven, Room 39, Sarah's, La Bodega, JP Wine Bar

P&L: Bristol Seafood, Souperman, Chefburger

the Plaza: Grand St. Cafe, the Mixx

Westport: The Drop, Blanc Burger & Bottles, Bluestem

I think we will eat at the bar at Bluestem on Friday night - seems like just the right place to kick off the weekend, though JP Wine Bar also looks good and is closer to the hotel.

Am I missing any others or should any drop off the list? My other questions are:

1) Where to have Sunday night dinner - we had an issue last time because we're foolish NYers that assume anyplace would be open on Sunday late for dinner. So I was thinking we'd plan ahead and go to either Bristol Seafood or La Bodega.

2) Is Blanc better than Chefburger? We're big fans of these kinds of burger bars - it seems from what I've read that Blanc might be better, plus the beer list is very extensive which is important to us. Frankly if we can figure out a way to try both, we'd do it.

Thanks very much for your input!

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  1. With the exception of Souperman actually being in the crossroads, I think you have a pretty set list. I would reccomend going to Murray's in Westport for ice cream however. How long to you plan to stay in KC? Because that is a LOT of restaurants to visit.

    Oh and it pains me to say it but I do like Blanc Burger better then ChefBurger. Though you shouldn't discount ChefBurger out of hat it is damn good as well.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Jakevol2

      Thanks Jakevol2 on correcting my geography. We'll just be there together for the weekend, though my SO will be there til Tuesday for his meetings and I'm headed back to NYC early Monday morning.

      LOL, it is a very long list but my idea was to get a few ideas for the neighborhoods so we'd have some options depending on what we're in the mood for. I think we'll probably make it to about 5-6 places over the course of the weekend.

      1. re: pellegrino31

        you're list is a good one, all places I'd recommend- if your looking for a third wheel let me know! Blanc and chefBurger are two different kind of places- chefBurger is faster paced and reminds me of a HK or tokyo burger joint!

        I'd only add Carmen's in Brookside to your list.
        cheers. Enjoy your visit.

    2. 1.) I, personally, would skip the Bristol. I think you will be very disappointed in the quality compared to what you're used to having. In my opinion, there are other local establishments that do seafood much better and for a lower price point. I'm not sure what other places are open late on Sundays, but La Bodega is very fun. It's too bad you won't be in Johnson County, because One Bite would be a great place too.

      2.) Blanc and Chefburger are very different. Chefburger is much more casual (and loud!)- I preferred the atmosphere at Blanc much better. It's more upscale, but still casual at the same time- very classy, I would say. Make sure you try a James soda too (at Blanc)- I was very impressed with the mango!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Katie Nell

        Thanks Goroe...I wish I could extend the invitation but we're sorely in need of a couples weekend :) My SO is actually from KC but hasn't lived there in 10 years but his family is still there and we try to go when we can. So next time, we'll make room for a third :) Thanks for the Carmen's rec too, I think we might check out the Brookside Art Fair so we'll need sustenance at some point.

        Thanks Katie Nell - I like reading your posts and appreciate your feedback. I think we're going to La Bodega Sunday night - seems festive and will make me forget that my flight is at 7am the next morning!

      2. I would drop the Bristol, like Katie said. Also the Mixx been hit or miss the last couple of times we been. I also think if you have to pick one burger place, the Blanc Burger is way better then Chefburger. Would add Micheal Smith in the crossroads to the list.

        1. I love Avenues Bistro in Brookside for both Sunday brunch and dinner Sunday evening. I think that they're open until 8 p.m. on Sundays. http://www.avenuesbistro.com/

          I have only been to Chefburger, but the burger was great, as were the sweet potato fries and the caramel shake. My friends and I decided that when we go back we would probably share because everything was huge. We're going to Blanc this weekend and I can't wait!

          I, too, would avoid Bristol. It is fine and the food is good, but it isn't a place I would make a point to go to...especially when compared with many of the choices on your list.

          I second the rec for Murray's in Westport, but be prepared to pay with cash. They do not accept debit/credit. The ice cream is out of this world!!! I especially recommend the Chocolate Flake Fromage, just thinking about it makes my mouth water!

          Enjoy eating your way across our great city!

          2 Replies
          1. re: amy_rc

            I like avenues, too! If you are heading to the art fair, grab some coffee at KC's own, Roasterie in Brookside. Great blends and super espresso.
            Also, Foos Fabulous Frozen Custard is a nice cool treat in Brookside...

            1. re: amy_rc

              Both Chefburger and Blanc are good, but I think that Chef has the edge for me. Definitely a close match, I like the choices at Chef better and the onion rings at Blanc better...either way you can't go wrong.

            2. Fantastic list - you've done your research!

              You can't go wrong with either bluestem or JP's on Friday night - both excellent choices. Maybe dinner at the bluestem bar and an after dinner drink at JP's?

              I have to agree with what the others are saying - skip Bristol.

              Have a great time and report back!

              1. Nice work...it's great when people do a bit of advance scouting and have concrete ideas to react to.

                One other geographical note, Room 39 is not in Downtown/Crossroads, it's in the 39th Street restaurant row a bit west of the Plaza.

                Also note that the neighborhood distinctions don't actually make too much difference...all those you listed are within 10 minutes of each other. P&L is actually in downtown and next to the Crossroads. It's only a 5 minute walk, for example, from Chefburger to JP Wine Bar, and La Bodega is probably further from Seven than The Drop or the Mixx.

                That aside, the only other piece of advice on your list...you may be disappointed in La Bodega. The food is just okay. On the other hand I don't have a "nice" Sunday dinner suggestion, but I do have one that doesn't quite fit into your list.

                Grinder's is perhaps the city's best beer bar, with a divey, grungy vibe, just east of the Crossroads. The pizza is probably the best in town (not saying much, but it's quite good), the cheesesteaks are delicious (Amoroso bread flown in from Philly) and the other bar food just hits the spot. You won't get a refined meal here, but it's a great place to wind down a weekend with good grub and good beer.

                Look forward to hearing about your trip.

                6 Replies
                1. re: Aaron Deacon

                  I went to Grinder's for the first time today. For some reason I've just never made it there. It was great! A new favorite. I had the cheesesteak - it was the best one I've had in Kansas City.

                  My only complaint...I couldn't have a beer.

                  1. re: Mushroom

                    Why couldn't you have a beer???? I need to try this place.

                    1. re: jdl98

                      I had to go back to work after lunch....next time I'm going for dinner (or taking the afternoon off).

                  2. re: Aaron Deacon

                    Mushroom and Aaron - yeah, I like to do what I can before I post. I admit on the NYC board we can get kind of cranky when visitors post and say "I am going to be in NYC for a week, where should I eat?" and that's all. I definitely think the other boards are a lot friendlier when it comes to this, but still, I like to have a plan.

                    Grinder's sounds like fun. We love fun bars with fantastic beer lists so it's nice to have a more casual option for Sunday night.

                    I will be sure to report back after the weekend. And if you're out and see a couple where the female half of it is wearing green sneakers, there's a good chance it's us.

                    1. re: pellegrino31

                      Skip La Bodega and try Lidia's. Great food and even better ambiance. You should recognize the cuisine; owned by Lidia Bastianich.

                      1. re: Curley

                        I went to Grinders on Saturday. Everytime I go there I fall deeper in love with this place. Incredible beer list. awesome philly and the group I was with indugled in the Death Wings. I had plans for going out later, but had to cancel, due to my over indulgent dinner schmorgasborg. Would do it again, no regrets!!!