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Long weekend in KC - recommendations for restaurants from local immigrant communities?

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My wife and I are coming to KC for a Labor Day weekend visit. We've got the barbecue places pretty well scoped out (Oklahoma Joe's and maybe one more). Those are pretty easy to research (I've eaten years ago at Arthur Bryant's and the late Boyd's 'n Son, which might be the best barbecue I've ever had).

What we'd really like to find in addition to barbecue are some good ethnic restaurants run by members of whatever immigrant communities are strong in Kansas City (like the Bosnian restaurants in St. Louis or the Ethiopian restaurants here in DC).

I see on this board that there are some taco places in Kansas City, Kansas that look very authentic (these places have cabeza -- cow's head, which is always a good sign). Any other suggestions along those lines?

I'm really looking forward to coming to Calvin Trillin's hometown to eat. I guess it's way out of date now, but I think I read most of Alice, Let's Eat and American Fried out loud to my wife. Hope I don't botch the trip and any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. We ate at OK Joe's a couple of months ago at the gas station location and it was incredible..best damn bbq.
    Wish I had more ethnic places for you..

    1. Mexican: El Taconazo or El Camino Real for awesome tacos on the KS side. The al pastro at El Camino is awesome.

      Asian: I really love The Vietnam Cafe near downtown KCMO. There is a good sized Vietnamese population near Columbus Park and the River Market. If you're in the mood for dim sum, Bo Ling's has it on Sundays. Not an easy find in the Midwest outside of Chicago. I'd avoid the Thai food in KC for the most part. Most isn't very good, although you can find some interesting dishes and a friendly atmosphere at Bangkok Pavilion in Overland Park. Thai Place in Westport is also pretty good, but expensive.

      Middle Eastern: There are a couple of Persian restaurants on the KS side - one called KC Grill n Kabob, the other Caspian Bistro. Both are average, but you could get lucky and go on a good day. The owner of KC Grill n Kabob is incredibly friendly and will likely be walking around and asking how everything is and talking to customers.

      Brewpubs: I love the Westport area, and swear by the mac and cheese at McCoy's Public House in Westport. Some of the menu is hit or miss, but sitting on the patio on a nice evening is a great experience. 75th street brewery has a decent brunch.

      French: There are quite a few French restaurants in KC. Most recommend Le Fou Frog, which is also in the River Market area.

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      Le Fou Frog
      400 East 5th Street, Kansas City, MO 64106

      El Taconazo Restaurant
      624 Kansas Ave, Kansas City, KS 66105

      Bangkok Pavilion Restaurant
      7249 W 97th St, Overland Park, KS 66212

      Bo Lings
      20 E 5th St Ste 100, Kansas City, MO 64106

      Caspian Bistro
      8973 Metcalf Ave, Overland Park, KS 66212

      3 Replies
      1. re: jhojati

        I've heard rumors that El Taconazzo has closed. That's unfortunate, as it was one of my favorites. El Camino Real is excellent though. If you're going to be in Olathe, Mariscos Veracruz has all the "parts" you're looking for, cabeza, cesos, lengue, and bunch of really good seafood.

        I ate at KC Grill N Kabob once, for lunch. they had a buffet set up. It was awful. I think the chicken was cooked the previoius day. I tried some pasta stuff that turned out to be from your grocer's freezer, I think that was re-heated from the day before as well. The bread was good, everything else was really, really bad.

        Huong Viet in the City Market is excellent. The fried sweet potato and shrimp app is one of my favorite dishes ever. I like the beef tendon pho as well.

        There's always the short drive to Lawrence for Freestate Brewery.

        1. re: chileheadmike

          I agree - I would NOT recommend the buffet at KC Grill N Kabob. If you've never had Persian food elsewhere, don't let that experience keep you from going. Chicago has some great Persian food. Los Angeles has the best.

          1. re: jhojati

            DC has a fair number of Persian restaurants, some of them very good, so I'll probably pass on Persian in KC. Ahmad's in the Old Market in Omaha is one of the best Persian restaurants I've eaten in.

            I'll definitely keep Huong Viet in mind. DC has a huge number of Vietnamese restaurants (I think the third largest Vietnamese population after LA and Houston), but that sweet potato and shrimp appetizer sounds great.

      2. Thanks for the suggestions. It sounds like Mexican and barbecue are the way to go.

        The current plan: Saturday lunch - El Camino Real.

        Saturday dinner - Oklahoma Joe's.

        Sunday lunch - Not sure. We're going to the Royals game, so maybe we'd try the Stroud's fried chicken there (mistake?). Sunday dinner - open.

        Monday - Lunch - LC's barbecue. Dinner open, but probably will need to be near the airport.

        Thanks again.

        1. We liked El Camino Real okay, but we like Los Alamos Market y Cocina better. We like the atmosphere and the food is a little more rustic, like a Mexican grandmother would make. El Sabor Centro Americano is very good Honduran food too... love the pupusas! All 3 of these were on our 1st annual family taco crawl last year... just trying to narrow down this year's options right now.

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          Sabor Centro Americano
          2661 Independence Ave, Kansas City, MO 64124

          Los Alamos Market y Cocina
          1667 Summit St, Kansas City, MO 64108

          1. For Monday's dinner near the airport, consider Swagat's Indian restaurant in Zona Rosa, roughly I-29 and Barry Road. Very pleasant people and very good food.

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            Zona Rosa
            8640 N Dixson Ave, Kansas City, MO 64153