I’ll admit it. I went into The American restaurant in Kansas City with high expectations. Maybe they were too high. We started off the night with a drink at ultra retro looking bar. Which I loved! The decor is retro not because it is trying to look old… it is. But is all kept up very well and creates a very fun and memorable experience from any table in the restaurant with its over arching light trees covering almost every inch of the room. The bartender was friendly and gave good service, although he didn’t seem to know what to recommend when it came to wine other than “we have Chardonnay” … So I went with that.
Once we were seated, it took a little time for a server to make it to the table but the sommelier was very friendly and made an excellent recommendation for dinner. He knew his wine and was able to tell us down to the landscape of where our wine’s grapes were grown in. He came by several times throughout dinner to check in. Great service from him, and excellent wine suggestions.
Then came dinner… I did the 9 course tasting menu. I can’t honestly say anything was “bad”… nor can I say anything was “great” either. Everything maintained a level of “good”. Which is fine most of the time, but when I’m dropping 300+ for a dinner for two, I want great.
I started out with the caviar and champagne pairing. No complaints here. That was good. Then moved onto the “Soubise” Risottomulled apple cider, duck confit and chestnuts. It was good,the risotto was a little overcooked and a bit too mushy than it should have been but overall taste was good. I then moved onto the “Vichyssoise” Treated like a Salad celery, apple and smoked roe. This was simply a bad idea. All these ingredients when made into a true Vichyssoise flow very well together – Because you can get them all in your mouth at once. When you have them on the plate as a Salad – Not so much. It tasted like I was eating random items out of my veggies drawer. Next time, I hope they “treat” the Vichyssoise like a Soup. Creativity is good – when it works. This to me, clearly did not work. Organic Salmon bok choy, coconut, Japanese eggplant and red curry was next up. This I have to say was very “safe”. It tasted like Salmon. It was good Salmon, but thats about it. The red curry foam had little flavor and the rest didn’t do a whole lot for me flavor wise. Lamb Two Ways was next on the tasting line up. This was tasty. Although, again – I must say – Very safe. It was a lamp chop and what amounted to a lamb meatball. Both were good, but lacked in creative flavor. It tasted like a stewed lamb meatball and a lamb chop. Good – but I was expecting more. Tea Smoked Duck Breast arrived next. This I was not able to finish. It was just too rich. It tasted as if the duck breast had been dipped in bacon fat – over the top rich. Way over the top rich. On top of that, it was simply too rare. I order my meat rare to medium rare. This was on the border line of raw. Customers need to be able to chew the food to enjoy it. The duck ended up tasting like a rich bacon gum ball in my mouth until I finally gave up and swallowed. My favorite part of the evening was the Smokey Chocolate Mousse caramel powder, bacon brittle, chocolate micro-sponge and burnt sugar gelato. This was a real treat. Very creative and tasted good with every bite.
Over all the experience was ok. Its a beautiful restaurant rich with history. Our server who seemed to be absent from checking on us most of the night added on a $33 charge to our bill I did not recognize, and took about 12 mins correct it once I pointed it out. Chef Debbie Gold will be on Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters,” beginning April 7, so I may watch to see if any of these creations pop up on the show. Over all I give the Restaurant a C. I don’t know that I would return with so many other great choices in the KC area. For the same price point, more flavor and creativity I would suggest a trip to BlueStem.