Dinner in Kansas City, MO
I will be in KC the first week in May on an art trip. We are staying at the Raphael Hotel on Ward Pkwy. Dinner will be at The Plaza III Steakhouse, but I am coming in the day before, so will need a restaurant recommendation. Good food, price is not important if value for dollars. Is Jasper's still very good?
Jasper's is excellent and elegant. There certainly aren't any checkered tablecloths or candles in chianti bottles. However, if you won't have a car, you'll want to eat close to the Plaza.
Depending on what "walking distance" is for you, you could go a couple of blocks down Main St south of the Plaza.
Osteria il Centro is at 51st & Main. It's a small place with an intimate feel and good food.
Spin! Neapolitan Pizza is at 49th & Main. Great pizza & salads. Bonus: Glacé, Christopher Elbow's artisanal ice cream shop, is right next door!
There are, for better or worse, a lot of chains on the Plaza now --P.F. Chang's, Fogo de Chão, etc-- but also some very good independent restaurants and small local chains:
Blanc Burgers + Bottles: huge "gourmet" burgers
Gram & Dun; gastro pub
Bo Ling's: best Chinese in KC
JJ's: the sad news is that on Tuesday (19 Feb 2013) JJ's was completely destroyed when a gas main exploded.
You've been given several other good recommendations, but you might find them a little beyond walking distance from the Raphael.
Enjoy your stay!
Some good suggestions above. I like Bluestem, but it is pricy. JULIAN is a favorite.
I would also suggest on the Plaza, an easy walk from your hotel:
The Capital Grille - a chain, but a good one
Fiorella's Jack Stack - not the best BBQ in Kansas City (as if anyone could agree on THAT) but near the top and definitely the classiest. If you've never had KC barbecue, you should try some.
Others around town:
The Majestic (if you don't mind steak twice in a row) - a classic, old-school steak house and Kansas City jazz club
Michael Smith (apps next door at Extra Virgin if you want to be adventurous)
Stroud's - not exactly fine dining but said to be the best fried chicken in the world
If you don't mind a drive into the country, check out The Justus Drugstore. It really is exquisite -- farm-to-table with Berkshire pork as the centerpiece