Pig & Finch

Pig & Finch is the area’s latest gastropub, a term defined broadly to encompass a restaurant that has a pub-like atmosphere serving high-end beer and wine, paired with upscale comfort food. Pig & Finch is owned by the 801 Chophouse folks and is located next door to the 801 Chophouse in Park Place. P1010081Pig & Finch

Relatively sedate during the day, Pig & Finch comes alive at night. It feels fun and energetic, and the lighting is extremely effective, allowing the numerous pig wall paintings to pop. And though there’s a definite hip factor, happily the noise level in the dining room is manageable. If you go with a group, consider booking the community table. Positioned right in front of the kitchen, it’s a great perch from which to watch the cooking and dishes being plated. Don’t miss the clever wine bottle chandelier that hovers above the table.The community table at Pig & Finch

I’ve had several very fine meals at Pig and Finch, grazing through a menu that ranges from a Kale Caesar to an oversized and fall-off-the-bone tender lamb shank. The only loser in the mix was the Gruner salad. It was quite bland, with unexciting ingredients; more befitting of a coffee shop than what I would think possible considering the chef’s creativity in all other parts of the menu.Kale Caesar--Pig & Finch

Those readers who follow me know I’m a sucker for good French fries, and the Finch fries satisfy my requirements–not too thin, not too thick, crisp, with the skins on.Finch Fries and Gruner Salad--Pig & Finch

The short rib grilled cheese is heavy on the meat, rich and delicious. This seems to be the new “it” sandwich. I’ve had renditions of it at both Gram and Dun and Anton’s. It’s served with housemade chips, but I recommend ordering the appetizer of potato chips with a blue cheese sauce for the table. Though the chips were a bit greasy, it didn’t stop all of us from devouring them.Potato Chips and Blue Chese--Pig & Finch

Flatbreads are also good for sharing. The toppings were better than the crust, which wasn’t all that impressive. It was nice and thin, but missed on the density. I did love the balsamic glaze on the tomato mozzarella flatbread.Tomato and mozzarella flatbread--Pig & Finchlamb burger-- Pig & finch

The lamb shank is the restaurant’s specialty and it’s easy to see why. It’s expensive, but you’re treated to a huge piece of meat. Tender and moist, it went well with the smashed potatoes and root vegetables.Lamb Shank--Pig & Finch

I loved the duck cassoulet. It’s not a dish you see on menus around town, so it was a treat. The duck was tender, the pork belly added another layer of complexity to the dish and the white beans were lovely.Duck Cassoulet--Pig & Finch

The menu also features two burgers, one with lamb and the other that’s all beef.

If you like pork, the Pig chop is thick cut, very juicy with a touch of pink, and served with a homemade mustard that marries well with the pork and the brussel sprouts hash that accompanied it.Grilled Pig Chop--Pig & Finch

Pig & Finch is the latest entry in a growing list of interesting and fun independently owned restaurants to open in Leawood. Hopefully, it will have a longer life than its predecessor in the space, Trezo Vino, which started out hot and then fizzled.Pig & Finch

Pig & Finch on Urbanspoon

The Jacobson

The Jacobson, the Crossroad’s newest hip restaurant, shares space with Lulu’s Noodle shop. Both occupy the old A.D. Jacobson Heating and Plumbing Company building. It’s a very cool space with glazed cement block walls, a mix of high and low tables, secluded boothes and plenty of bar counter seating. Some of the cocktails come in flasks to the table, sitting in an ice bucket so diners can pour their own or share.

The menu is large, and diners can choose to go light with flatbreads and salads, or heavier with entrees, both day and night.

On my first visit I indulged in a rich and decadent Banh Mi with sliced pork belly, cilantro and carrots, and a spicy mayo. I loved every bite, but it’s definitely not an every day kind of sandwich. If it were sliced pork loin or pulled pork shoulder I could pretend it wasn’t too bad for me, but pork belly is by definition fatty.

The Ahi tuna salad may be a standard on many a menu these days, but this is a good one, with good quality rare tuna and a very pleasant miso vinaigrette dressing up the greens.

On another go around we started with a wild mushroom and ricotta flatbread. The flatbread was crisp, with plentiful toppings, but the dough could have benefited from perhaps a bit more salt (which I hardly ever recommend!).

I really enjoyed the unusual Crossroads salad. The crisp romaine is  tossed with bacon, corn, tomatoes, avocado and a creamy oregano dressing, and a soft poached egg sits on top.  Eggs on salads are big right now, with good reason. The oozing yolk mixes with the dressing to add complexity to the salad.

The J has Happy Hour every day. It would be fun to hit the patio on a beautiful autumn day and throw back a few. There’s a full bar with beer on tap outside, and a water and fire element on the patio. It can be noisy with all of the construction going down in the Crossroads, but that’s the price of progress, and that stops in the early evening.

Desserts are definitely worth ordering. If you’re into Dutch Babies (looks like a cross between a huge pancake and Yorkshire pudding), I saw a few of them  pass by and they looked like the real deal. Servers seem to be partial to the Fig Newton, an unusual twist on my childhood fig newton sandwich: squares of bread pudding serve as the sandwich to the fig perserve filling and are drizzled with chocolate sauce. In a cute riff on cookies and milk, the dessert comes with a shot of Shatto banana milk. Adorable lookng, but since I’m not a bread pudding lover, I don’t think I’d get it again. The Brown Sugar cake on the other hand, with peanut butter ice cream and caramel sauce was a winner.

Chef John Smith has some impressive credentials, having worked with some of the great chefs in Chicago, New York and Paris. Based on his resume, I’m looking forward to trying out the dinner menu, which is more extensive and emphasizes fish, chicken and meat entrees.

It’s fun to go to the Crossroads these days. The ability to experience high quality fare from independent restaurateurs seems to be increasing at an exciting pace.

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