Birthday Dinners

The office took its sweet time in getting us work, so we all last week off, to get settled in, explore a little, and generally relax until the 9-10 hour workdays started back up.

For my birthday, we went to Phenom downtown in search of designer vinyl, but all they had were clothes. We did hit the jackpot at dinner though: Arthur Bryant's, courtesy of my dad & Jenny. Laura and I split a whole rack of ribs and had gift certificate money left over for a bottle of sauce! We both gravitated toward the Rich & Spicy sauce (President's Choice) over the Original and Sweet Heat. The ribs were grilled, not smoked, so that threw me off a little. I do prefer smoked, but can't wait to go back and try more menu items! The place (we went to the original location) probably hasn't changed much over the decades; there's a big window/counter in the back separating the cooks/servers and grill from the customers. Photos of celebrities and close friends adorned the main wall, including Danny Glover, Steven Spielberg, and President Jimmy Carter (hence President's Choice). The place is in a somewhat sketchy part of town...LA and I weren't sure if we'd want to eat in or take out, but grabbed a table and tucked into our ribs. I am really looking forward to a return visit.

On Laura's birthday, we decided to go a little more upscale and get a steak. KC is a major hub of steakhouses and picking one was tough. We didn't pick the best. We ate at Plaza III down at Country Club Plaza. The setting is impressive...dark wood beams, cozy wrap around booths, and large dining rooms. Our server was very attentive and informative. They have a wine steward to aid in selecting a perfect bottle of wine. We chose an 03 Kunde Merlot that was excellent. The Crab Cake appetizer was light and loaded with lump crab meat. The atmosphere and extras were all impressive. However, when it came to steak, we were both a little let down. Both (a filet and KC strip) were ordered medium but undercooked. In my opinion, a great steak needs no sauce--steaksauce or otherwise. Steaks should be well seasoned before grilling to bring out the natural flavor of the meat. Plaza III takes a low key approach, and I could taste faint seasoning on the outer sections, but mostly I tasted beef. The beef itself was excellent, but all beef needs something extra to accompany it. Thankfully we both ordered Bearnaise sauce on the side. We will not be returning. The filet mignon at the Jackson Lake Lodge in Wyoming and the filet at the Montgomery Inn come to mind as being Plaza III's betters, and I'm sure I'm forgetting....the only place (as far as similar expectations, price, atmosphere) it did beat out was some place in Boulder where the steaks came out virtually raw. Oh well. We're still on the search for KC's best steak...
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