8 Exciting New Developments In Kansas City Restaurants This Winter

Jan 8, 2016

It’s a new year, and KCUR’s Food Critics — Charles Ferruzza, Mary Bloch and Jenny Vergara — have their eyes on what’s new and noteworthy in the Kansas City restaurant scene.

They shared their picks with host Gina Kaufmann on Friday's Central Standard.

1. Espirito Do Sul, a new Brazilian steakhouse with an all-you-can-eat cold and hot bar. “You can go in and just have that if you’re not interested in the meat circus that follows,” said Vergara.

2. Plate in east Brookside, serving Mediterranean food and lighter versions of Italian dishes. It’s from the people who own Season + Square, a spice shop that’s next door. It’s a neighborhood place in a small cozy spot; reservations are recommended.

3. Prime Sushi is offering fun “pop culture” sushi with names like the “Coconut Gigolo” and “Kiss Me On Fire” (and the plate comes on fire). The restaurant also serves a hot menu. “It’s just quality fish and it’s fun,” said Vergara.

4. Unbakery & Juicery is opening soon in east Brookside. It’s owned by Robin Krause, who owned the Filling Station. The Unbakery is offering fresh cold press juices, coffee, kale salad and light, healthy things to-go. It’ll also have a drive-thru.

5. Bob Wasabi Kitchen. Chef Bob Shin trained in Hawaii; the fish comes in daily and he focuses on three to four different kinds of fish. “It’s outstanding,” said Bloch. “The fish is incredibly fresh, he’s a really nice guy and the family is really warm.”

6. Doughnut Lounge. As the name suggests, it serves doughnuts and cocktails. The doughnut menu features the classics (glazed, old-fashioned), along with signature flavors like S’mores (with chocolate ganache and marshmallow fluff) and ham and cheese. The lounge also serves “noduts” — savory doughnut dishes such as glazed with sage, sausage gravy and fried egg.

7. Tom’s Town is a new distillery that makes its own vodka and gin. It will soon make whiskey (it currently curates small-batch whiskey). The distillery offers tours, and it also has a speakeasy with a drink menu and small plates. “I’m not a gin drinker, but it blew me away,” said Bloch. “It has 14 botanicals in it and the smell was great.”

8. Magnolia Modern Southern Cuisine has moved from downtown to south Kansas City, to a place where chef Shanita McAfee-Bryant has a bigger kitchen. “It’s maybe some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever had; definitely the best short ribs I’ve had in a long time,” said Ferruzza. Also on the menu: Catfish burger, pickled beet salad, shrimp and grits, chocolate soufflé cake, red velvet waffles and more.

Jen Chen is associate producer for KCUR's Central Standard. Reach out to her at jen@kcur.org.