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Birthday dinner (KC)

amyzan Feb 11, 2009 01:39 PM

My mom requested dinner at Justus Drugstore restaurant for her birthday, which falls on a Saturday this year, but they happen to be closed that day. I'm looking for suggestions on a good second choice. She says she should leave it to me, because I know restaurants better (ha!), but I'm unsure. She didn't care for Bluestem, though she mostly liked the food. The American is too formal for her. She used to like 40 Sardines for weeknights. I'm not sure where we can get a similar combination of relaxed atmosphere, attentive but homey service, and fantastic food, the way Justus excels. I was thinking of Michael Smith, but she really doesn't care for trendy places where she feels out of place (she's in her sixties,) and I'm concerned she won't be comfy there on a Saturday night. I've also considered Room 39. I'm thinking of taking her out for lunch and making dinner at home at this point, because it's hard to find a relatively quiet, relaxed place on a Saturday evening. My other thought is seeing if she'd go for an early res, so there'd be less chance of a boisterous crowd earlier on. Any thoughts, places I'm overlooking?

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  1. Katie Nell RE: amyzan Feb 11, 2009 01:42 PM

    What about Pachamama's? I know it's technically in Lawrence, but it kind of reminds me of Justus in some ways. More so at the old location, but I have got to get over that one!

    5 Replies
    1. re: Katie Nell
      amyzan RE: Katie Nell Feb 11, 2009 07:38 PM

      Yeah, she loved the old Pachamama's! In fact, I think I took her there for one birthday several years ago. She doesn't like the new location at all, though. I considered really splurging on Krause Dining, but that's really more than I can budget, even for a special occasion.

      1. re: amyzan
        KansasTravel RE: amyzan Feb 13, 2009 05:34 AM

        I agree with her about the new location for Pachamama. The old spot was wonderful - like a lodge int he woods. The new loction is ugly and puts everyone on display to the street traffic.

        How about Taste in old Overland Park?

        1. re: KansasTravel
          amyzan RE: KansasTravel Feb 13, 2009 02:13 PM

          KT, I've not been to Taste, and their menu looks promising. What have you had that's been good?

          1. re: amyzan
            KansasTravel RE: amyzan Feb 14, 2009 07:58 AM

            The tempura sweet potatoes & portabella mushrooms with sweet chili soy sauce and the mini blue cheese burger with caramelized onions.

            1. re: amyzan
              Katie Nell RE: amyzan Feb 15, 2009 02:02 PM

              It's essentially the same as Tonic, if you ever went when it was Tonic. Same chef, a lot of the same menu items. I love the tempura sweet potatoes too. It's a little trendy though, so I would think she wouldn't necessarily enjoy it overall.

      2. heatherkay RE: amyzan Feb 12, 2009 05:53 AM

        How about Le Fou Frog? It's not stuffy, but the food is excellent and the service is warm. Also not too expensive. Or maybe Avenues Bistro? I haven't been, but I've heard good things. And it's in Brookside, so I can't thinkg it will be real trendy-trendy.

        6 Replies
        1. re: heatherkay
          amyzan RE: heatherkay Feb 12, 2009 10:15 AM

          I'll look into Avenues, don't know much about them, thanks. She loves Le Fou Frog's patio in summer, but the dining room tends to fill with cigarette smoke, which Mom detests. So, I'm afraid they're off the list for February.

          1. re: amyzan
            heatherkay RE: amyzan Feb 12, 2009 10:54 AM

            no more smoking inside in KCMO -- not since last spring.

            1. re: amyzan
              cheeseguysgirl RE: amyzan Feb 13, 2009 07:16 AM

              I was there about 3 weeks ago, and there wasn't any smoking. The food was wonderful, especially the duck and lentil salad.

              1. re: cheeseguysgirl
                amyzan RE: cheeseguysgirl Feb 13, 2009 07:34 AM

                That's great to hear! We'll have to go before the patio opens. It''s a great Friday night spot.

              2. re: amyzan
                amy_rc RE: amyzan Feb 13, 2009 05:45 PM

                I love Avenues! We've been several times and always had great food and service.

                1. re: amy_rc
                  j
                  jdl98 RE: amy_rc Feb 17, 2009 02:08 PM

                  Avenue's is a good call. It's nice, good food but the clientele isn't trendy at all. I would have recommended Joe D's but I'm sad to say they closed.

            2. amyzan RE: amyzan Feb 22, 2009 08:03 AM

              She chose Avenues after I showed her the menu online. We went early enough for the special, since we'd seen an afternoon movie. We were a bit surprised to see the dining room about 3/4 full, but the atmosphere was still pleasant, not noisy. I think she enjoyed herself, the service was good, and the food was good, too. I appreciate the portion size there--it's just right to feel satisfied but not overfull, which is not so common. Mom had lobster and crab cakes with what she described as perfectly cooked buttery green beans. I had a nicely cooked grouper fillet with crabmeat, crispy at the edges and tender and moist inside. The potato gratin wasn't overly rich, but eggy with just a little cheese. The wine by the glass selections were good, though my pour was just a bit stingy at that price. That's okay, though, I don't need to get much of a buzz on Mom's bday!

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