I love Restaurant Week. The concept was originally devised during the 1992 Democratic Convention in New York City, and has been expanded over the years to cities all across the country. Here in Kansas City, we’ve made it an affordable way to try a restaurant diners might not otherwise be able to afford as well as an opportunity to do good. Ten percent of the proceeds from Restaurant Week will go to support three organizations in the metro: Harvesters-The Community Network, The Kansas City Regional Destination Development Foundation and The Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association Education Foundation. Harvesters of course helps fight hunger in our area and the other two non profit organizations advance culinary education and the restaurant and tourism industries in Kansas City. Last year $143,000 was raised; hopefully, in 2013 Kansas Citians will make sure that number is even higher.
Restaurant Week starts this Friday, January 18 and continues through the 27th of January. Restaurants that participate offer a specific lunch and/or dinner menu. At lunch two courses will be served for $15 and at dinner 3 for $30. Check out Restaurant Week’s website where most restaurants have posted the lunch and or dinner menu they will be serving. Restaurants typically offer a combination of dishes that are normally featured and some that have been created specifically for this event. Diners will have a choice of several appetizers, entrees and desserts, but be forewarned that it is a limited menu.
There is no limit to the number of restaurants you can try–you are constrained only by your wallet, your stomach and your ability to make a reservation before they’re all gone!
To make it easier to keep track of all the restaurants and their menus, consider downloading the mobile app. It will even direct you to Open Table so you can make a reservation and get a map. Again, refer to the Restaurant Week website for more information.
I was fortunate to be asked to preview a couple of the restaurants that will be participating in this year’s Restaurant Week and, as always, Kansas Citians are in for a treat!
Last night I visited Sushi House in Town Center Plaza. The chef there has created a special menu for Restaurant Week, and dinner consists solely of dishes that are not on the regular menu. The manager explained that she wanted to make it very special for the restaurant’s patrons, and judging from her passion for the customer’s dining experience, I suspect that occurs on a daily basis.
We shared appetizers of Seared Fatty Salmon Sashimi and Sashimi Style Sushi Roll. I especially enjoyed the thin slices of salmon topped with mango salsa. The sushi roll was unusual in that the mango, seaweed and kanikama were wrapped in thinly sliced cucumber instead of rice. Both appetizers were gorgeous.
Entree choices include shrimp tossed in a sweet-chili tomato sauce on a bed of fried Japanese ramen noodles, and fried rice topped with grilled chicken and a pineapple glaze. Again, the presentation was thoughtful and beautiful.
Those who enjoy the more traditional sushi selections may prefer to go at lunchtime when the Restaurant Week lunch menu consists of a choice of two sushi rolls.
We were also treated to a sampling of three sakes that are featured on the Restaurant Week menu, and got a brief history of how sake is made and why some are more expensive (and taste better) than others.
Service is an important part of the experience at Sushi House and it was apparent from watching all the servers that we were treated well not because I was there to sample the menu but simply as a matter of pride and good-training.
In addition to giving diners the ability to explore new restaurants, Restaurant Week gives restaurants an opportunity to fill their tables during what is typically a slow time of year. So, go to your phone or computer TODAY, and make some reservations. It’s important to celebrate and support our local restaurants whenever possible.