Friday, July 20, 2007

Local flavor.

Dan over at Gone Mild has a terrific post about supporting our local Kansas City eateries. We're pretty good about that already. In fact, with the occasional exceptions of Taco Bell, Subway and Starbucks, we're local KC-eatery exclusive. Here are a few of our favorites, in no particular order:

  • Room 39 - 39th St. near KU Med - The menu changes daily, so check their site often to see what's cooking. Everything - I mean everything - we've tried there has been outstanding. They even got me to love crave roasted Brussels sprouts.

  • Tokyo Japanese Steakhouse - Off of 169 highway and Barry Road in KC North - Don't let the decor that is reminiscent of an airport lounge fool you: the sushi here is terrific. They have a happy hour that runs from Monday through Thursday, 4:30pm to 6pm, where all rolls are 25% off and hot sake is 50% off. Try the Rock 'n' Roll - a radish sprout and avocado roll topped with broiled scallops in a creamy sauce. We're there at least twice a week, so if you come early, maybe we'll run into each other.

  • Mr. Le's Sushi Bar and Vietnamese - Sleazy grocery store complex at the corner of Parvin and N. Brighton - There are some places that I would never take my parents, not because the food isn't good, but because of the dubious cleanliness and patronage. Mr. Le's is one of these places. The place is clean on the inside, but the surrounding area is not necessarily one that is conducive to great sushi. However, the sushi is actually quite good, and the spring rolls are even better.

  • Malay Cafe - When this place first opened, I think we single-handedly kept it in business. We'd eat there at least twice a week, and were often the only people in the place. We've cut back in the last year or so, both because we're a bit bored with it, and also because I don't know if the quality is quite as high as it used to be (the owner was not there the last few times we went, which may be why). But it's still a great place, and we do go every couple of months. The best bets are the Royal Almond Chicken, Mas Chicken, and the Green Paw.

  • Kin Lin - 51st and Oak - After some unpleasant experiences, I decided to give this place another shot after they expanded and appear to have cleaned up their act a little. They're on a one-strike-and-you're-out plan, though. If I see another bug in my food, I don't care how broke I am, I am not going back. Jesus, I can't believe I went back at all, but I can't eat at Subway any more, dammit!

  • Vietnam Cafe - 39th and Rainbow - The best spring rolls in town, period.

  • Sakura - 75th and Neiman -The best (and only) sushi train in town, period.

I've purposely left one place off of that list because I think they need more than just a bullet. I am talking about Longboards (6269 North Oak Twfy), my current favorite place to eat. Hidden in a strip mall, the place is so nondescript that I drove right by it for two years, thinking it was a skateboard shop or some other business I had no interest in. Sara at Noodletown wrote about Longboards back in May, and based on her recommendation, we tried it out. Never have I been so happy with a restaurant find.

The menu has lots of choices for every mood.

Being in Longboards is like being in a Jack Johnson video. There is soothing yet upbeat music (a rotating blend of Jack Johnson, 311, and others), calm, beach-inspired colors, lots of surf boards and tikis, dim, but not too dim lighting, and it always seems to be the perfect temperature in the place. All of the employees are laid back and very friendly. When we go for dinner, there are usually one or two other couples there. However, last week while on vacation, we made the mistake of going there during lunch, where we were greeted by half of Cerner. Those Cerner folks have good taste.

Our typical meal consists of their pork luau grilled wrap (we sub chicken) which is meat, pepper jack cheese, rice, stir-fry veggies, something they call Hawaiian relish, and teriyaki sauce, wrapped up and grilled. We have them cut it in half, and then we get two spring rolls. We spend less than $10 bucks total, for great food and atmosphere. I can't recommend this place strongly enough.

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