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Central Standard

Food Critics: The Best Brunch Dishes In Kansas City 2015

Andrea Tudhope

Quantity over quality used to be the mantra for brunch spreads in the past. And who can forget the decorative ice sculptures that presided over a seemingly endless row of buffet tables?

Not anymore.

From chilaquiles to chicken confit hash (along with coffee and cocktails) — that leisurely, mid-morning meal gets a makeover on local menus.

On Friday’s Central Standard, our Food Critics Charles Ferruzza, Mary Bloch and Emily Farris uncover the best brunch dishes in Kansas City.

Charles Ferruzza, The Pitch:

  • Westport Café & Bar. Owner Aaron Confessori understands that brunch needs to be a mix of breakfast and more hearty fare, sweet and savory, on a menu brunch. It’s a perfect example of a grown-up brunch; it’s not noisy, it’s very laid-back and comfortable. If you’ve had a bad week, it’s a great place to kick back, have a nice, decent cup of coffee and take your time.
  • Horizons Buffetat Ameristar Casino. If you're starving and looking for a buffet brunch that evokes those over-the-top brunch spreads of the early 1980s, this casino buffet has something for everyone — and then some. It's more about quantity than quality, but it's inexpensive and there's always something to be said for having too many choices.
  • Grand Street Café. One of the new trends in brunches: When you order off a brunch menu, you can also select options from an abbreviated buffet of cold salads, chilled shrimp, roasted vegetables, breads and desserts. Grand Street also has very, very good eggs benedict.

Mary Bloch, Around the Block:

  • Happy Gillis. I love the country ham shank with grits. The Corn Nuts sprinkled on top bring back memories and add great texture; it’s a fun little twist.
  • Succotash. I always get the pork hash. They use the same awesome shredded pork for their Cuban sandwiches at lunch, too.
  • Webster House. It's such a civilized setting. I usually can't resist ordering the migas or the shrimp and grits.
  • Port Fonda. I get the chilaquiles (layered tortilla chips soaked in a chile verde sauce, and topped with egg) for brunch, lunch or dinner. They do it better than anybody in town. They also have some great brunch specials that's not available any other time of the week, like the chile relleno of the day, which is always really interesting. I’m not a fried-food person, but these are so lightly coated that I love them. And they do the same thing with the chimichanga.
  • Bluestemand Webster House both do a great French toast.
  • Westport Café & Bar has a fabulous chicken confit hash. It’s so good; the chicken is as moist as can be and there’s just a ton of it on top of the potato hash. They also give you a drink when you order an entrée (either a Bloody Mary or mimosa).
  • I love Lidia’s buffet because it has real vegetables, Caesar salad, good desserts … it’s much more interesting than the typical brunch.
  • Gram & Dun serves a corn pork tenderloin hash in spicy tomato sauce. Rye has a burnt end hash that’s very good.

Emily Farris, Feed Me Creative:

  • The chilaquiles at Port Fonda are one of the best brunch options in KC. The restaurant also has a Bloody Maria bar; you get vodka in a pint glass and you can mix in whatever you want. They have chicharrones and all kinds of fun, weird things.
  • I also second Mary’s choice of the chicken hash at Westport Cafe & Bar. And the WCB brunch comes with one drink.
  • The Majestic Restaurant downtown has a really good brunch. It’s very old-school, with servers in white shirts and black aprons. It’s very hearty: Good hash, really good Bloody Mary and they bring out a nice basket of warm blueberry muffins.
  • Voltaire has a creative brunch with amazing waffles (though their menu changes somewhat frequently). They really excel at small plates. The menu changes pretty frequently. There are some breakfast-y dishes (the last time I was there, about a month ago, I had some amazing malted waffles). Sometimes there’s ramen, sometimes there’s posole. There are probably 20 different plates; they’re very inventive and they’re kind of made for sharing. All are really flavorful. Voltaire has a great cocktail list that’s also available during brunch. So you could get a tequila cocktail for brunch.
  • I’ve also been really impressed with the brunch at Louie’s Wine Dive. Maybe it’s the bottomless mimosas (in peach, grapefruit, orange).
  • Room 39 has a good brunch. They call it breakfast, but since they also serve booze, I’ll let it pass as brunch.
  • For a late breakfast, I’ll sometimes go to Eggtc. But I do NOT consider it brunch.

Listener recommendations:

  • Cucina della Ragazzafor its eggs benedict. They use fried polenta instead of using the traditional English muffin.
  • Café Sebastienne at the Kemper Museum. Fantastic brunch in a beautiful venue. Chef Jennifer Maloney puts on a great show; everything is good. Served on Sunday only.
  • Ça Va has an awesome make-your-own mimosa bar (with juices, syrups, etc.). There’s a DJ spinning French pop during brunch. Everything is amazing – quiche, crepes. It also serves the best croissants in town.
  • Ça Vawith the Snickers croissants and the to-die-for quiche.
  • The pecan cinnamon rolls at You Say Tomato are unbelievable. The oven-baked French toast is really lovely and done well.
  • The buffet at the Bristol Seafood Grill wins, hands-down. Here’s the reason why: Lobster mac and cheese. There you go. It also serves raw oysters, smoked scallops, smoked salmon and trout and all your breakfast items. It also offers an omelet bar, a carving station, a dessert bar and a Bloody Mary bar. Also, on Sundays at the Downtown location, any bottle of wine under 100 is 50% off.
  • The Classic Cookie serves one of the best eggs benedicts I’ve ever had. I’ve never had the bread they use in it before; it’s like an English muffin but twice as thick.
  • The citron crepe at Chez Elle is amazing; it’s made with lemon curd and strawberries.
  • Julian: Free-flowing booze (pitchers of mimosas) and a great patio. You can order off the menu or from buffet, which has incredible egg frittata dishes.
  • Gaslight Grill. Great buffet, mimosa, scrambled eggs, omelets and prime rib carving station.
  • Bassa Prua in Leavenworth. Quiche, biscuits and gravy with lamb sausage and best donuts in the KC area.
  • The Peanutdoes a nice job on Sundays. Biscuits and gravy, spicy eggs and egg bread French toast!
  • I definitely second the Happy Gillis suggestion. Try their smoked salmon avocado toast.
  • Café Sebastienne has consistently good meals, and the eggs are done nicely. Voltaire has the best, most interesting menu. Genessee Royale is also good.
  • For vegetarian and vegans: Succotash, Westside Local, The Corner Restaurant and The Farmhouse. They always do a great job of having an option for those who don't do meat, eggs and cheese!
Central Standard Food & DrinkBest Food KC