Avenues has not been on my list of places in KC that I want to try, but not because I haven’t heard good things. Actually I have been there several times already, but it was never an ideal situation. Previously I had been there for a business lunch or two and found the menu to be significantly scaled down. I had also been there for a brunch buffet and a dinner with kids, so I wasn’t fully able to enjoy the meal. Recently I had the opportunity to enjoy an evening at Avenues on a Saturday with an adults only crowd.
When we arrived, since we had booked a fairly large group, our table had already been prepared. We were able to order some drinks as we waited for the rest to arrive. We were then ushered into back of the “red room” amidst a very packed dining room. I believe that our server was one of the several sommeliers that they keep on staff at Avenues and was able to offer some insight into wine differences. The service was fairly good, but on a busy night it seemed that several of the server’s responses of “I will get that immediately” resulted in a “I’ll get that in a few minutes”.
As a group we ordered several starters to pass around including Ceviche, Crab Guacamole and Bacon Wrapped Dates. Ceviche is a cold salad made of diced lobster, shrimp, crab, avocado, lime juice and cilantro served with grilled ciabatta bread. Normally a chilled seafood dish wouldn’t be my first pick, but out of the three, I enjoyed this the most. The dates were sweet and enjoyable, but are not the best I’ve ever had, and the guacamole was just okay.
For me, the star of the night was my main course, Braised Short Rib Stroganoff. Oddly, this dish is described on the menu as “A previous top seller”. Does this mean that it is no longer a best seller? I didn’t notice anything on the menu listed as “A current top seller”. Nevertheless, this dish was delicious and cooked almost to perfection. The portion size wasn’t too bad either. The short ribs where served over a herb risotto that was very rich and creamy and acted as a perfect complement to the boneless meaty ribs that sat on top. The ribs came in sort of a roast style that easily pulled apart and was very moist and tender. The marsala and veal stock that they braise the beef in gave it a very nice flavor. In my opinion, there is not much that they could have done to improve this dish.
We then shared a couple of desserts. I think everyone there was much too satisfied to order their own. We tried the flourless chocolate torte and carrot cake. The torte was rich and creamy. Generally when I make a torte it ends up being fairly dense, but their recipe turns out a very light texture. The carrot cake was fine, but I found the cream cheese frosting to be the best part of it. The cake was a little bit chunkier than I prefer, having large nuts embedded.
By the time our dinner was over, at approximately ten o’clock, the establishment had pretty well cleared out. Overall it was an excellent experience. Everything was executed fairly well. That has to be worth at least an A- in my book with an extra smiley face for the stroganoff.