Food Critics: The Best Meat And Potato Dishes In Kansas City | KCUR

Food Critics: The Best Meat And Potato Dishes In Kansas City

Feb 19, 2016

Steak frites at Westport Cafe & Bar.
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Meat and potatoes are Kansas City’s heritage, according to KCUR’s food critic Charles Ferruzza.

“We are the city that had, at least in our region, the stockyards. So beef was really, really accessible and potatoes were really, really cheap,” he told host Gina Kaufmann on Central Standard.

“It’s always been a great combination.”

Ferruzza, along with food critics Mary Bloch and Jenny Vergara, discussed the best meat and potato dishes in Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

Mary Bloch, Around the Block:

  • To me, meat and potatoes means a hamburger and fries. My current favorite combo is at Blvd Tavern. The burger is on a perfectly-sized bun and it’s topped with Swiss cheese, red wine shallot jam and peppercorn mayo. And they’ve got among the best fries in the city: thin, crisp, with skins on (but not shoestring-style).
  • Another favorite is at Cleaver & Cork. The burger is made with Local Pig’s meat and the fries are pretty perfect. They also top the burger with cheese curds, which is really unique and a great addition.
  • The ribeye and potatoes at Lidia’s remind me of meals I’ve had in Tuscany. The bone-in ribeye steak is thick and juicy, and it’s served with crisp garlic-fried potatoes.
  • The griddled seared hanger steak with chimichurri sauce and fries at Bluestem in the lounge (it’s also served at Rye, but with cottage fries instead). The steak is really tender and it’s always cooked exactly as ordered. And the cottage fries are thin and crisp.
  • Chicken confit hash at Westport Cafe & Bar. Succulent chicken and crispy potatoes make for a hearty brunch. Order it with an egg on top to go full-throttle.
  • Blvd Tavern has a great roast chicken and mashed potatoes, which are done as well as anybody in the city.
  • I love the potato pizza at Pizzabella; it’s my favorite pizza on the menu. It has thin round disks of fingerling potatoes, Gorgonzola, radicchio and balsamic. No meat. Just potato.
  • The sweet potato fries at Danny Edward’s.

Jenny Vergara, Feast Magazine:

  • Krokstrom Klubb & Market, the new Scandinavian restaurant that’s open only for dinner (right now), has the traditional pork meatballs with a lovely cream sauce, goat cheese mashed potatoes, lingonberry sauce and cucumber salad. It’s very delicious and comforting in every way.
  • The lefse and sausage at Krokstrom Klubb. The red sausage, which is made with beets, is specially made for them by Broadway Butcher Shop, and it’s wrapped in an unleavened potato bread. It’s sliced on the bias and served with salad and a mustard cream sauce on the side. The bread itself is a revelation; it’s a little chewy, it has a real potato flavor to it, and with the lovely smoked beet sausage, it’s just fantastic.
  • The thick-cut Duroc pork chop at Julep decadent and delicious. Julep is considered a whiskey bar, but it just recently started doing dinner service. The pork chop is one of the highlights of the dinner menu; it’s inches-thick and giant, with a brown sauce on the plate, traditional mashed potatoes and a wonderful warm apple slaw (with sautéed onions and apples).
  • Steak frites at Blvd Tavern. They do a nice flatiron steak cooked to your preference. The fries are really, really thin, ultra-crispy, and you get a big pile of them. It’s delicious, and it comes with a little salad on the side.
  • The Smokestack Burger at Beer Kitchen is just a hot mess fabulousness of a burger. It’s made from McGonigle’s beef, which is a custom blend of beef brisket, short rib and chuck tenderloin. The burger is topped with smoked burnt ends, smoked Gouda, whisky barbecue glaze, chipotle aioli, pickle relish and crispy jalapeno straws on potato bun.
  • Most anticipated meat and potatoes: Jill Myers and Wes Gartner, co-owners of Voltaire and Moxie Catering, are planning to reopen the Golden Ox Steakhouse this fall.
  • Currently on my list to try: Poutine from Lucky Boys. French fries smothered in beefy brown gravy and topped with cheese curds. No actual beef, but brown gravy comes close in my book.
  • Also on my list to try: White Trash Dog from Blind Tiger: It’s made with a beef hot dog, nacho cheese and tater tots.

Charles Ferruzza, The Pitch:

  • The five-ounce filet mignon served with salad, garlic toast and a choice of sides at Jess and Jim’s. It has the city’s best twice-baked potato — for one thing, when you’re done eating the interior of the potato, you can wear it as a shoe, it’s so big. I am still a huge fan of Jess and Jim’s; I love that place. It’s not sophisticated food, it’s not fancy, but the food is good.
  • The Irish pot roast with mashed potatoes at O'Neill's Restaurant & Bar. It’s one of their signature dishes; it’s always good. It’s a good, hearty, tender dish.
  • The chicken fried steak with house made cream gravy and a baked potato smothered in butter at the Frontier Steakhouse. It’s inexpensive, too. It’s a delicious filling dish for a cold winter day.
  • The classic beef bourguignon at Charisse. Bourguinon is a great classic French dish that’s really hard to find. It’s a labor-intensive dish because it needs to cook a long time. The beef is cooked with wine, and it really needs to be so tender that you can cut it with a blunt fork.

Listener Recommendations:

  • The Italian sausage with pan-fried potatoes, onion and green pepper at Johnny Cascone’s. It’s a really big meal that’s very good.
  • On Tuesday nights, McCoy’s Public House serves a special with meatloaf and garlic mashed potatoes (which are absolutely out of this world). It reminds me of what my mom used to make.
  • For potatoes, Stroud’s has the best mashed potatoes and gravy — and, of course, the chicken. RC’s in Martin City also has good mashed potatoes and chicken.
  • The Corner Café has a great roast beef and potato dish. It reminds me of home. The potatoes are homemade.
  • The roasted chicken with mashed potatoes at Pot Pie.
  • The burger and truffle fries at Capital Grille is really good.
  • I highly recommend the pork chop at Anton's.
  • The fried chicken at Magnolia’s is one of most flavorful had in city. It’s served with a bourbon brown sugar mashed sweet potato that is to live for — it is so delicious.

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