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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Restaurant Finds: Impeccible, French, pricey but memorable

Tatsu's on Urbanspoon

Tatsu's is a prize winning restaurant, has a prominent chef and has been in place since 1982. So I was curious. Why the Urbanspoon ranking for this restauran did not have it listed in the top 100 restaurants in the area. Foodies have rated it on Urbanspoon at 96%. The French restaurants in the Kansas City area rated Tatsu's only #4. Apparently to acquire a better ranking more "bodies and reviews" are needed. Or is it a set of different factors?

Possibly more people don't know about this place, I wondered? I never knew it was here even though I have passed by the locality during my years, having come to Kansas in 1981. It is in Prairie Village but tucked around the corner on Roe Ave, hard to see. Many might not know it exists because you don't see it from the road. Another reason are the prices. I have never been here before as the prices are quite steep, usually "out of our league" only for special occasions. But as I quickly found out - you get what you pay for.

Another reason is French food is not my "forte". I had a meal in Boston once but not lately. I took 3 years of French in high school in Providence, RI, used the language in Africa haggling over prices (we were featured in Traavel & Leisure magazine!). I've even tried some French recipes. But that’s my affinity to France and French food. I thought it was all just "sauces". I don’t intend ever to be in Paris. There are too many places I want to go and see. Conjuring up French food is not my priority or for that matter eating it. But after the trip to this impeccable restaurant , I might have to change my mind after we went here after a KU graduation.

I did not know what to expect. I was very impressed with the layout of the restaurant and ambiance.The subdued tones of the rooms and lighting were to my liking. It was light enough the menu could be read, which was impressive in itself. It can be romantic. There are secluded spots in this restaurant that has been expanded. The tables were full as people chatted nicely while trying to decide what to order. My preference for selection is food that I don't normally eat or make at home (I love cook and try all types of recipes). If you are going to eat the "same stuff", why go out?

Something different, something that sings “satori (aha)” and something that I will remember, is what I search for. So I chose the Veal sweat breads instead of my second choice, the oxtails. Why ? Because the amiable waitress suggested it. And a good waitstaff person should know and have tried the meals. She made the right choice and so did I, for a memorable meal.

We munched on the crisp bread while talking and waiting for appetizers and soup. The Escargot de Bourgoune ($8.95), as many know, are the mollusc's (huge snails) braised with mushrooms and parsley butter. These were thinly sliced, were moist, meaty and savory with a subtle taste. Never had tasted these before and trying to "pin down" for something like this food is definitely a way to refine and exercise my palate. The cold vichychoise (potato soup) has a smooth, nice of the potatoes, taste. If it has leeks in the recipe, I could not detect it. The salads.

As part of my entree, I chose the excellent Goat Cheese salad with mixed greens, walnuts, strawberries, blueberries with a very thick raspberry vinaigrette ( I liked this and have to search for a recipe for this one !). I chose the Ris de Veau, veal sweet breads ($ 25.95) simmered in the special wine sauce. The sweetbreads were cooked perfectly and were impressively soft. Each "lobe" had a delicate taste that is unlike anything I have ever tasted in all my travels. I savoured every bite and did so "slowly". I had found a “satori “ food that I hoped to remember.

Others chose the roasted boneless duck with peppercorn cream sauce (that might have been my choice too but next time at $25.95) and fresh salmon with champagne sauce and lemon butter sauce ($22.95).

As for the dessert , the Grand Marnier Souffle, had to be ordered ahead of time. It was very impressive and light in its puffed shell, with grand Marnier liquor, served with a light cream and raspberry sauce. It was well received and I got a small bite of this airy dessert. I don’t usually try desserts, but I had my eye on the the Tatsu’s Delight. A triple layer of pasty with custard in between topped with Chantilly cream, shaved chocolate and fruit. It was impressive too.

Everyone enjoyed their impressive meals. The place was closing soon so we had to be bid adieu (say goodbye) . Until next time , I will have to try some French recipes and think about those oxtails or the duck. But menu here change so who knows? Bon chance (good luck ). When you come, you will be pleased and remember the place and the meals as we did. Coming here again is quite a possibility for us in the near future. That is a a better chance then my making it to Paris. I have too many other places I desire to experience. Until then, creating more French palate pleasers on my own is a definitely possibility. Changing your mind, refining your palate is what it is all about, perhaps.


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