If you haven’t been watching Check, Please! Kansas City, you should start. It airs Thursdays at 7:30pm on KCPT-19. The premise is this: there are three local guests and a host (Doug Frost, sommelier extraordinaire). Each of the guests selects one of his/her favorite restaurants. The other two guests visit and have a discussion about their experience over wine. They also tape a brief segment at the restaurant with the owner and/or chef.
The spots they have featured run the gamut from the highbrow (Krause Dining and the fabulous Justus Drugstore) to the comfortable (Succotash and the delightful Max’s Burgers and Gyros). It’s a great way to find a new place to visit or see if you agree with what the guests have to say.
Sidebar: Last week’s episode featured only two restaurants, because one of the guest’s choices had closed since the episode was taped. Based on how they described it in the open (something like “a fashionable, stylish restaurant in the River Market”) I deduced it had to be Vivace since that description doesn’t apply to Delaware Café and it sure as hell didn’t apply to River Market Brewery. I never visited Vivace because it never seemed like my kind of place—when you have a bar made of ice, I feel like you’re trying to create a heavy nightclub vibe. That’s just not where I typically go for a meal. Nevertheless, everyone I know who has been there said it was a nice place with good food…I just hate to see locally-owned places close if they were doing things well, and by all accounts Vivace fit that bill. (To be fair, they’re planning on reopening as a bar/lounge in the near future.)
Which leads me to the Phillips Chophouse. I had one of my best meals there on our anniversary a couple years ago. The steak was exquisite and the service was tremendous. Now that I hear they closed, I regret that we never went back. You can debate whether the economy or P&L was a bigger factor in its demise, but it certainly wasn’t the food or service.
To echo what the host said in his introduction last week, go out and support your favorite local restaurants if you have the means to do so. They need you more than ever!