Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Kansas City Restaurant Reviews

Jack Stack BBQ
I realized that I never posted a recap of the restaurants I visited while in Kansas City earlier this month! Let's see... on Friday night, we went to Jack Stack BBQ and I ordered the burnt ends & baby back ribs. The first thing I was surprised about was that the place was so nice! When we walked in, I thought, "Wow, this place looks like a nice steakhouse!" and I was worried it would be priced accordingly. Even with the extra charge for the baby back ribs, I think my dinner was about $16.50, which is pretty reasonable. Barbecue in Los Angeles is expensive, so it was nice to pay less than $20 for two different kinds of meat.

Before dinner, I had a dinner salad that had fresh bacon bits on it. Before I go on... the salad was the best tasting part of my meal. Yep you heard me right. The salad was the best part. The BBQ was OK, but not really spectacular. And maybe KC BBQ isn't for me. I can accept that. It certainly won't stop me from trying a different restaurant the next time I go. Most likely Arthur Bryant's or Gates since those seem to be the "big two" around there.

However, if I'm just going for salad and munchies, I would, without hestitation, go to Jack Stack again. We were still talking about our salad when we ate dinner the next night at Stroud's. It was that good. I don't know if it was the blue cheese dressing or the bacon bits? I suspect a bit of both. It did make us joke that next time, we'd go to Jack Stack for a salad, then head over to Stroud's for some fried chicken!

The second best part were the sides. The cheesy corn bake was pretty yummy, but rich. The french fries, even though they look quite institutional, were cooked well and were yummy.

After a comment on this entry, I'm modifying it to include something I neglected to mention... One thing I really did enjoy about Jack Stack was the experience itself. Our wait time was less than expected, our food came quickly, the atmosphere is comfortable and decor were very nice. Our server was great! I used to wait tables for years and I can attest to the fact that it's hard to find good service (at least in California!). She was attentive and very helpful without being annoying.

Here's a picture of my dinner:

Jack Stack Dinner

And here's a close-up of the burnt ends:

Burnt Ends

Then on Saturday night, I went to Stroud's which is famous for its fried chicken. After waiting an hour for a table and then another thirty minutes for my food, I can say that it was worth the wait. The fried chicken was delicious. I still don't think it tops Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe in my book, but Stroud's will be a must-eat anytime I'm in KC.

The disappointing thing about both restaurants was that neither one had sweet tea. How far south of the Mason-Dixon line does a woman need to go to get some sweet tea?!

It looks like Stroud's was an old house on a pond that was converted to a restaurant. There are rooms that look like additions and they have a big screened in porch down by the pond where you can listen to the fans, get an awesome freshly made strawberry margarita and munch on some popcorn while you're waiting for your table. This is a picture of the yard between the house and the screened in porch. I think the building on the right is a little chapel.

Side yard

And then our dinner! The green beans were yummily peppery as was the gravy for the mashed potatos. (Not pictured, but for bread, you get these cinnamin buns that are delicious if you like that sort of thing...)


Close-up of our star - the Fried Chicken

Overall? I would recommend going to Stroud's, but I'd skip Jack Stack next time.


eLad in MO said...

Huh? Skip Jack Stack Barbecue?

I live in KC, and rarely do I skip one of this town's greatest barbecue treasures. As you state, maybe KC bbq isn't for you. But to be fair, recommending that people skip Jack Stack is misleading without also reiterating that you're maybe not a fan of KC bbq. Perhaps you cut your teeth on bbq from a different region of the country?

I mean no disrepect of your opinion. However, opinions are one thing, and biased recommendations are quite another without full disclosure.

Stephanie said...

I *did* mention that KC BBQ may not be for me, which very well may be the case. The ribs were decent, but the burnt ends just so-so. Who knows? Maybe I just don't like burnt ends. That was the first time I'd ordered them. I made a point to order them because it's not something that I ever see on a menu out here in L.A. and they seemed to be on every KC BBQ menu I looked at online prior to going!

Some of my favorite BBQ was eaten in Lockhart, Texas last year. I'm perfectly willing to try more KC BBQ, just to be sure I don't like it! :-) Maybe once I've tried other places I'll realize that KC BBQ really isn't for me and of all the KC BBQ restaurants, Jack Stack does it the best? Only time (and more visits) will tell!

Look, I know I'm in the minority. I did my research, I talked to friends who've been there (both KC and Jack Stack specifically) and based on recommendations, Jack Stack was my priority restaurant to stop at over the weekend.

Although thinking about it more now, I will edit the original entry to include this information... the experience itself was good. Our wait was less than quoted, the inside of the restaurant is very nice and comfortable and our server was helpful and attentive without being annoying. She was great.

In life, the only recommendations I can make are ones based on my limited experience. I assume that everyone knows that and I always take that into consideration when reading about someone else's experience. Everyone is biased. I'm not Consumer Reports. I didn't conduct scientific research. I'm just one woman that likes to eat BBQ any time I can.

Now could you do something about getting some sweet tea in there? ;-)

eLad in MO said...

Stephanie, I came across pretty harsh in my review of your review. For that, I sincerely apologize. As you can see, we take our barbecue pretty seriously around here.

I appreciate the elaboration on your visit to Jack Stack, especially since Jack Stack was your original choice when visiting our fair town.

BTW...I'm an Alabama native, and I completely agree that sweet tea is a must. I'll see what I can do about starting a local petition drive right now!

Power to The Diners!

Thank you.

Stephanie said...

Apology accepted. I'm glad you did comment though because it made me think about other stuff that I had neglected to mention about my visit!

Barbecue, like anything people are passionate about, should be taken seriously! :-) I appreciate that people do! And that is one of the reasons why I try BBQ all over the country when I'm traveling!

And you KNOW I will sign that sweet tea petition! It's one of the things I look forward to the most when I'm traveling to the South! The only place out here to get sweet tea is Chik-Fil-A and unfortunately, the closest one is about 30-40 minutes away. But trust me when I say, I buy a gallon anytime I nearby!

Derek said...

Please SKIP Jack Stack, after working there i discovered they microwave all their meat before serving, that's right low and slow smoked, chilled, then nuked before service total CRAP. Actually quit that job because of it. As a true bbq lover it went against my morals.