Thursday, October 18, 2012

More steak nights to come

I haven't been ignoring this blog, I've just been broke as hell.  I would like to report that after passing the bar and being sworn in before of the Missouri Supreme Court, I am now gainfully employed and will start receiving a paycheck soon.  Money will lead to more steak night adventures.

Preview of steak nights to come - P'Ott's, Flea Market, Makers Mark to name a few.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Talk of the Town Bar & Grill: Overland Park (the original)

Deal: $10.99 12 oz KC Strip 2 sides and a side salad

Talk of the town holds a special place in my heart. I grew up on the other side of Stoll Park where Talk of the Town is located. So I was ecstatic to learn they had a steak night. I called up two dinning partners, who happen to live in my childhood home, and we headed up to Talk of the Town

Talk of the Town is a classic neighborhood sports bar and grill that has been serving some of the best burgers in town for more than 20 years (personal favorite is the surfin' burger). From your little league celebrations to your night out with friends this place has something for people of all ages, and an appropriate time to have fun for all ages as well. Unfortunately when I was there they had a sign up saying they were about to remodel, hence the lack of pictures of the ambiance. 

We arrived and were seated very quickly. I was surprised at the small crowd as the chiefs game was 15 minutes from starting, but that allowed us more attention from an excellent server. It should be noted that the entire staff at Talk of the Town was friendly and helpful. I know that later on in the evening there were lots of people there for the night-life and revelry.  

They had a number of great drink specials for a Saturday night. I ordered a Free State Storm Chaser IPA. Free State is one of the better breweries we have in the metro area, if you haven't tried one I'd suggest stopping into your local store and picking up a 6 pack. They also had a Goose Island Honker's Ale and Flying Monkey on sale for $3.  They also had 5 dollar bomb shots for later on in the evening.  

Talk of the Town has an excellent beer selection. They have to try and compete with their neighbor Barley's Brew house next door.  For those who haven't been Barley's has one of the best beer selections in town. Yards in the Legends and the Flying Saucer in P&L are the only other places that come to my mind that have a similar level of selection. Here is Talk of the Town's beer menu. 

Everyone at the table decided that they would order the steak. The steak came with a side salad, and two sides. I got the mashed potatoes and green beans.    

Talk of the Town has an excellent number of awesome dressings. I stuck with the classic Ranch, but wished I had tried something else. One of my dining companions got a pear gorgonzola vinaigrette that was excellent.  

This was a fairly standard salad, romaine lettuce, cheddar cheese, croutons  tomatoes and bacon.      

Onto the steak!  

This was easily the largest steak I've had so far in my steak night adventures. I ordered my steak medium rare as always, and this steak came out nice and pink in the middle.   

As for the flavor, I would have liked a little more salt and pepper on the outside, but it wasn't terrible. The cut was pretty good for a bar's steak night. This was a choice cut of beef.  The mashed potatoes were pretty dry on their own, I'd suggest getting the gravy with it. The green beans were excellent, not a ton of flavor but very crispy and well cooked just the way I like my green beans to be.  

Overall this is a pretty good steak night and it is on a Saturday night.  If you are out in Johnson County and want a steak on a Saturday head to Talk of the Town.  

To sum up this Steak Night adventure: 
  • Restaurant: Talk of the Town Bar & Grill 
  • Location: South Johnson County - 11922 W 119th St, Overland Park, KS 66213 
  • Ambiance: Classic sports bar
  • Steak: Huge, well cooked, and needed more salt 
  • Sides: Ok 
  • Salad: Great dressings 
  • Service: Excellent 

Talk of the Town Grill & Bar on Urbanspoon

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Pierpont's Lounge - Always Steak Night

Deal: Applewood bacon wrapped mini tenderloin's stuffed w/ blue cream cheese, and fries - $10.95 

Entering into Union Station always fills me with a sense of awe. The building is such a beautiful treasure here in town. I am always impressed and inspired by the intricate detail and magnitude of the building when I enter. I believe the concept is to inspire under the city beautiful movement so well done Jarvis Hunt (architect).

This steak night became a pretty funny story. I had been studying from about 9 AM to 10PM every day for 3 weeks prior to this evening. I was going a little crazy and hadn't left my house except to go to the grocery for about 2 weeks. So on a Friday night I decided to have a steak at one of my favorite places in town - Pierpont's Lounge. I arrived at the Pierpont's lounge in Union Station around 7:30 PM. It was strangely dead. I sat down and asked the bartender why it was so dead for a Friday. He looked at me with a big smile and informed me it was in-fact only Thursday. Time does not fly when you're studying for the bar.    

Story time aside I am now unemployed and not studying for the bar, so I have time to write about steak again. Pierpont's has one of the best lounge menu's in town where you can get a great steak. It also happens to be one of the better steak houses in town if you venture past the lounge/bar area. For an excellent review of other items on the menu read around the block's review of the lounge.  A few items have been added since the review, but it is an excellent overview. I'm here to talk about red meat.

Pierpont's has a classy old world elegance that is captured throughout the restaurant. Between the location in Union Station the "library style" liquor cabinet, or the ornate decoration Pierpont's is a gem. If you have not been it is a great place to go to impress a client/date, a special event, or a wonderful happy hour in the lounge. They have two great steak deals, later on I will do another review (don't throw me into the briar patch)!

I arrived and ordered my first drink a classic gin martini, which in the lounge is only five bucks. The bar tenders and servers are professionals who mean businesses. This is one of the few places I can order a gin martini and know that the bar tenders will get it perfect every time. I got my martini took the first sip, and enjoyed my ability to relax a little even though I had lost track of what day it was.

I decided to look over the lounge menu to see if any changes had been made.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had added many new items tasty looking items. One of which will be discussed shortly. After looking over the menu I sat back for a few minutes to enjoy my martini and take in the atmosphere. After I realized I was being a bit of a nerd I got the bar tenders attention and ordered myself an appetizer.  I ordered pountine, which is very difficult to find in Kansas City.

Pountine??? What does the delicious Canadian dish of gravy, cheese and french fries have to do with steak? Pierpont's added steak to it! Yes they found a way to make the perfection of pountine even better. Pierpont's has a braised beef poutine with a Gruyere cheese sauce and a Cabernet jus. Pountine happens to be one of my favorite things on earth, and I didn't know that it could be improved upon. But what isn't made better with some steak added to it?
Sorry about the picture I ate a bit before taking it. I was hungry and excited to have poutine. 

After the poutine I decided it was time for a glass of red wine. A glass of red wine in the lounge is only $4 (as is white wine). You can also get a host of other martini's for $5.25 and boulevard beers are $3.50. The lounge operates during usual Pierpont's business hours M-F and from 4-6 PM on Saturday and Sunday. Not only is this a great place to get a steak, but you can go any day of the week.

Onto the Steak!

I ordered the applewood smoked bacon wrapped mini tenderloin's that are stuffed with a small amount of blue cream cheese in the middle, and a balsamic-fig reduction on top. It also comes with fries. Needless to say this was a taste explosion of awesomeness in my mouth. The blue cream cheese was not overpowering, and did not distract from the flavor of the steak.  The bacon was smokey and sweet.  The balsamic glaze added another hint of sweetness to the overall flavor, but nothing was so overwhelming of a flavor that the excellent cut of meat that they used was unable to be tasted. This is truly the best place to get a reasonably priced steak that is always quality and delicious.

This is one of my favorite steak nights in town, and one of my favorite bars in town. It happens every night, and I'm looking forward to going back for part 2 - the KC Strip.

So to wrap up -
  • Restaruant - Pierpont's at Union Station
  • Location - 30 West Pershing Rd, Ste 900, Kansas City, Missouri 64108 
  • Ambiance - old world classy 
  • Steak - Oh so good 
  • Service - consummate professionals
If you want to have a great relaxing time in a classy atmosphere that won't break the bank check out Pierpont's lounge.  

Pierpont's at Union Station on Urbanspoon

Sunday, July 1, 2012

My House: Saturday Steak Night - Ribeye

After a long week of studying for the Bar I took a partial simulated exam to see where I stand. I found out I still have a lot of studying to do. To deal with my sorrows I decided nothing would be better than having a nice steak at home with a decent class of wine.

I went up to Marsh's Sunfresh and looked at what they had in their bargain bin. I was delighted to find 2 excellent looking Certified Angus Ribeye's waiting there for me. At a price of $8.99 for 2 large juicy 1.5 inch thick steaks I was beginning to forget the fact that this was going to be the most exciting Saturday Night that I've had in some time.

I have been eating a lot of lower quality steaks on these steak nights at bars. There is something fun about going out and grabbing a steak while not dropping a ton of money. But sometimes the best steak is the one you make at home. With some Certified Angus Beef to grill I was a very happy camper. Certified Angus Beef is a step above a choice cut, but is not to the high standard of the Prime Cut. For someone who wants a good steak, but doesn't have $15-$20 to spend per steak, Certified Angus Beef is a great way to go. Yes, That is an awesome penguin martini shaker in the background! 

Here (click on here) is an excellent article from on Certified Angus Beef for anyone who wants to learn a little bit more about this great cut.

I like to use a little bit of Worcestershire sauce on the steak, but some people go crazy with it. I just use a shake or two on each side. Tonight I actually added a few splashes of Whiskey to the steak when I was marinading the steak. Not really sure it added anything.

After applying the marinade, for those who have yet to read my previous steak night at home article, here is the drill. I let the steak sit out for an hour or so to get near room temperature before I put it on the Grill. During that time I use kosher salt to salt the outside of the steak. I salt one side and let it sit for 30 minutes, then flip and repeat. It important to use kosher or large flakes of sea salt here! I realize there is controversy on whether to do this or not. I've tried it both ways and I end up with a better steak every time when I do it this way. The other side argues by pre-salting while the meat is warming to room temperature you pull some of the juice out of the steak.

Because a Ribeye is so juicy and fatty I like to switch it up every now and then. Instead of just adding kosher salt and cracked pepper to the outside for a crust, I added a bit of red pepper flakes too. The light amount of extra spice goes great with the wine, but again, don't go overboard here or you'll lose the natural awesomeness of the steak flavor. In the picture above, only one steak had the red pepper flakes.

I also like to let my grill get very hot, I wish I could tell you how hot, but I can't as the thermometer is busted on my grill. I normally let 2 burners run for about 15 minutes before putting them on when using propane. If using charcoal you'll need to feel it out, look for the coals to be white hot. 

Once the grill is hot enough I throw the steak on the grill. I use my phone's stop watch feature to allow 1 minute and 40 seconds of cook time (lid shut).  I then do a quarter turn of the steak on the same side and let it sit for another minute and 40 seconds. Next I flip the steak and let it cook for another minute 40, do a final quarter turn on the grill, and let it go another minute 40.   Then the steak is done and you'll have an excellent juicy steak that should be medium rare. 

Onto the steak! 

It was soooooo nice to have a good cut of beef!

It reminded me of how much better a good cut like a Certified Angus Steak can be over a choice cut of beef that most restaurants use for their steak nights. 

This steak had a wonderful amount of fat that kept the juices in the steak. There was the perfect amount of salt and pepper crusting the outside, and was cooked perfectly to my liking. My compliments to the chef!  

To accompany this steak I had a simple baked sweet potato and an iceberg salad, with ranch and red bell peppers. I topped it off with some Pinot Noir and was in heaven. Quite a pleasant way to spend Saturday night!     

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mike Kelly's Westsider: Tuesday Steak Night

Deal: 10.95 12 oz. KC strip and two sides

Forgive me father for I have sinned, it has been 14 days since my last steak. This is pretty serious for me. I rarely go 2 weeks without having a steak, whether I report about it on here or not. When I came to the frightening realization that it had really been two weeks since I had a steak I decided to go grab a steak.

This Kansas City Steak Night adventure was in the West Plaza area. I went to Mike Kelly's Westsider. This bar has been around for a long time. I bet most people have driven by it on multiple occasions and said "I really should go there." And you should! Mike Kelly's is an unassuming bar with a friendly atmosphere that is classy yet not pretentious. Low key, but not dull. You'll love the high tin ceilings, and the retro decor. The bar was established over 30 years ago, and continues to be a great neighborhood/local bar. It sits on Westport Road in-between State Line and Southwest Trafficway. They have live music most every night of the week.  Check out their website to see what they have playing. 

I arrived around 8:00 to get a steak, so I was too late for happy hour. They have a happy hour. Unfortunately I didn't ask what the deals were so you will have to forgive me. I have no ability to tell you what drink specials you may be able to get with the steak if you arrive at happy hour.   

I had the Flying Monkey Amber Ale they had on tap. I always enjoy that beer, even when it is full priced. I was highly impressed that they had the a Flying Monkey pint glass for my beer. Most of the beers they have on tap here are local beers, with the exception of bud light for the beer drinker who cares more about calories than flavor.

I observed that "local" is a theme they have going on here. They are a local pub for the West Plaza, they support local music by promoting local musicians nightly, and they serve local beer. Quite cool if you ask me. I like to keep money in our economy here in KC when possible.

Onto the steak!!

The steak night deal at Mike Kelly's Westsider is a 12 oz KC strip steak with 2 sides. I ordered my steak medium rare as always. The standard sides they have here are garlic mashed potatoes and green beans. You can get steamed veggies, fries or sweet potato fries if you want (but you shouldn't).

This steak came out looking excellent.  It had the grill marks that I love with the quarter turn. There was a nice layer of fat on the top of the strip that wasn't too big. I then cut into the steak and it was perfectly cooked medium rare all the way through as you can see.  

When I bit into the steak my first thought was this is a decent cut of meat, but they didn't really season it. It was obviously a choice cut of beef, and was sufficiently marbled. In some places it was a bit fatty with the hard fat you cannot eat. My dinning companion, who likes less fat than I do, thought it was too much fat. In a few bites I would agree, but overall for a 12 oz steak at a bar with a steak night this was actually a pretty good cut of meat. But like I said there was very little crusting (seasoning) to it. They would be well served to get some kosher or sea salt and cracked fresh pepper to put on the steak. I hate to admit this but I actually used a bit of A-1 toward the end to give the steak a bit more flavor. I realize that is a cardinal sin. But the steak needed something, and dumping the salt on wasn't really doing much for it.  

The sides here were phenomenal.  The garlic mashed potatoes were seriously the second best I've had in town, and that is including some of the finer steak house establishments in town. The grean beans as well were top notch. These weren't some green beans out of a can, they were at minimum fresh flash frozen, and the bacon and onion that was chopped up in the green beans was all very fresh.  The sides took this place over the top, and made up for the lack of flavor in the steak.  

The service was great. I was obviously not one of the regulars, as I sat down at a table (all the cool people were gathered around the bar). There was a bartender who was doubling as a server, but it didn't matter much because he was quite able to handle both duties with diligence and skill.

To sum it up this KC Steak Night adventure: 
  • Restaurant: Mike Kelly's Westsider
  • Location - West Plaza - 1515 Westport Road, Kansas City, MO 64111
  • Ambiance - casual classy meets local pub
  • Steak - Decent cut, needs more flavor 
  • Sides - Holy shit are they awesome  
  • Service - Excellent  
If you want to try a new place out (that has been around for a while), and are in the West Plaza area on a Tuesday stop by Mike Kelly's Westsider for a steak.

   Mike Kelly's Westsider on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Harpo's: Wednesday Steak Night

Deal: $8.95 10 oz "KC Strip" with a side

I'm making an effort to keep this regularly updated (approximately weekly). Plus I do have to eat while studying for the bar so I decided that I would go out for a Kansas City Steak Night. I had some trouble finding a dining companion at the last minute. When it seemed hope for finding a last minute dinner companion was fading a highly respected and well loved member of my family stopped by to return my portable grill and wanted to go to dinner. The KC steak night adventure was on! He picked up the tab as well, making this the most cost effective steak night thus far (not to mention this is also the lowest cost steak night I have been to yet).

I did my due diligence and found out that Harpo's has a Wednesday steak night. You get a 10 oz. KC strip and a side for $8.95. If you time it right you can also take advantage of some great drink specials. Unfortunately, I missed them all because I arrived at 7:30 p.m. They have $2 well drinks after 9 p.m. and happy hour from 3-6 p.m. They also have a "craft beer courtyard" during the summer, which is $3.50 per pint. But don't be fooled by their website when it says "craft beer courtyard," which implies that it's all day, because the deal does not start 'til 9 p.m.

It was a very pleasant evening in Westport, and we sat on the patio.  If you haven't been to Harpo's in a while (or have forgotten) they have one of the best patio's in town. When we arrived we had some trouble getting a server. There appeared to be some confusion about who would be our server between the two (very cute) servers working the patio. But, once it was sorted out service was excellent. I started off the evening with a nice Pale Ale, which came in one of the enormous cups that they have.  They brought us menus, but my dining companion and I both knew we wanted the steak night deal.

We both ordered our steaks medium rare with a side of sweet potato fries. You have a few side options here: salad, pasta salad, fries, cottage cheese and the aforementioned sweet potato fries.

My dining companion and I sat chatting and listening to the faux-intellectual hipster types poorly discuss the issues of the day with a great deal of self-righteousness*.  Before we could get lost in hipster mediocrity, the steaks arrived, and very promptly I might add. *Note: I do realize the irony of my own self-righteous condemnation of the self-righteous hipsters here. 

Onto the steak!

This steak looked very promising when it came out. Excellent grill marks, with the quarter turn done for the visual cross lines. Plus there was a mountain of sweet potato fries accompanying.  

I cut into the steak and it was cooked to a perfect medium rare.  This is the first place to actually nail medium-rare. I took my first bite and the outside of the steak had a wonderful salt and pepper crust. But as I continued to eat the steak proved to be very fatty, and not in a good way. I would not call this a KC Strip, as it was it was very low quality. However, it still tasted like a steak so it wasn't all that bad. (Steak is never that bad when cooked with the skill that this steak had been cooked with.)

The sweet potato fries were great.  Nice and crusty on the outside, and not overly seasoned. Overall this was a pretty good steak night, even if the cut of meat wasn't the best.

To sum up this KC Steak Night adventure:

  • Restaurant: Harpo's 
  • Location: Westport - 4109 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO 64111 
  • Phone Number - (816) 573-3434 
  • Ambiance - One of the best outdoor patio's in town 
  • Steak - Superb job by the chef, bad job by the person in charge of ordering beef 
  • Service - good once they decided who would take our table 

If you're out on a Wednesday and want a steak before you start drinking this is the place to go.  

Harpo's on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 8, 2012

Tomfooleries: Thursday Steak Night

Deal: $10.99 12 oz. KC Strip, mashed potatoes, garlic bread and a salad.

Graduating law school is great for about 3 days and then the reality that you have to take the bar exam kicks in. While studying for the bar your life becomes very isolated (perhaps you make vain attempts to have some sort of life by writing lame blog posts). Your friends begin to wonder what happened to you. Relationships get strained. Making time to see people becomes difficult.

As the pressure of the impending bar examination was starting to wear on my soul I opted for a time-tested recipe to solve life's problems: steak night. I decided it was time to emerge from my hole for some comraderie with friends. In my book, there is no better way to enjoy people's company than with steak and libations.

My friends and I all live in the city so I wanted to find a steak night close to where people lived. After some digging I found out that Tomfooleries has a steak night on Thursday.

I sent a text out to a few friends who lived nearby to let them know I was still alive and was going to have a steak at Tomfooleries. It was a very pleasant evening; people were out shopping and dinning as they are apt to do while on the Plaza.  There were great street performers and a wonderful soul band was playing in-front of Scooters on 47th Street.

Tomfooleries is a great restaurant and bar located on 47th street on the west edge of the Plaza. Not only is it a decent restaurant in the day and a nice brunch spot on Sunday, but it is as well a VERY fun place to go at night that always has a great crowd and good times.  

I arrived a bit earlier than my dining companions, but I was quite content because the Heat and Celtics were playing a knock out game and Lebron put on one of the best NBA performances of all time. I had a Boulevard Pale Ale while enjoying NBA playoff basketball, two great things that I had been missing out on while studying. One by one my compatriots arrived and we chatted while enjoying a few suds.

I got there around 8 p.m. and there were no drink specials. By the time we left they had a reverse happy hour, which starts at 9 p.m.

We feigned a look over the menu, but we all knew it was a steak that would satisfy. I ordered my KC Strip, medium rare as always.

The only real choice you have is between a house salad or a Caesar salad. I opted for the Caesar. It came out fairly quickly, with onions on it.  I'm not a huge fan of onions on salad as the flavor is overly dominate so I removed them, but my dining companions enjoyed the twist on the Caesar. Aside from the onion overdose, the salad was great. They didn't overdo it with the dressing, and they had an excellent balance of croutons and fresh Parmesan. Everything you want in a Caesar salad.

The sides were very simple mashed potatoes and a piece of garlic toast. Classic steak night sides.  Both were good, but nothing to write home about. They tasted how you would expect mashed potatoes and garlic toast to taste like. However, the garlic toast came in quite handy to sop up the juice from the steak.  

On to the steak!

The steak I got was kind of a funky cut for a KC Strip, but my dining companions' steaks all looked like you would expect a Strip to look like. Right off I was pleased to notice that they actually had some form of a grill in the kitchen, so the steak didn't have the skillet-cooked, buttery flavor to it.  That is great on burgers when it's 3 a.m. and I'm snarfing down at Town Topic burger, but I prefer a nice charred flavor to my steak that only a grill can provide.

The steak came out a bit overcooked.  I would consider this medium to medium well.  I cut to the center and it was only slightly pink and mostly brown around the outside.  This was kind of disappointing, but it happens to the best of us from time-to-time.

However, the steak was well favored. Tomfooleries clearly has an excellent steak seasoning that involves mostly pepper and salt. Normally I'll add a little salt to the plate to dip my steak in (super healthy, right?) but this steak had an excellent amount of salt and pepper to it. Not a lot of other spices either, which is great because it didn't cover up the steak flavor. The cut seemed to be a regular, lower-end choice quality steak, but it wasn't a terrible cut of meat. There was plenty of fat marbled throughout to keep the steak juicy and tender.

The service was impeccable, always there when you needed another drink but not intrusive.   

Overall this is a pretty great steak night. Had the steak been medium rare this would have been the best I've been to so far. Nonetheless it was a great night with friends I hadn't seen in a while and a welcome break from studying for the bar. This KC Steak Night hit the spot.

To sum up this KC Steak Night Adventure:
  • Restaurant: Tomfooleries 
  • Location: 612 W 47th Street, Kansas City, MO 64112 (Plaza) 
  • Phone Number: (816) 753-0555
  • Ambiance: Casual bar that turns into a hot spot at night
  • Steak: Good, could be great 
  • Sides: Plain yet sufficient
  • Service: Impeccable
 This is a great Thursday Steak Night if you're in the mood for a big steak.

Tomfooleries Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon