words by EMILY & STEWART LANE | photos by ANNA PETROW
Emily Lane: Months before the actual day, Stewart and I had a lengthy discussion about what we would do for our wedding anniversary. When you’re married to a chef, it seems almost unfair to ask your partner to cook for his own occasion, so we decided dining out was the right decision. So off we went to The Restaurant at 1900, located at the intersection of Shawnee Mission Parkway and State Line in the mixed-used 1900 Building, which recently was restored and expanded by Karbank Real Estate Company and proudly holds the LEED Gold certification (a greenbuilding rating system).
As Stewart and I reminisced about our wedding and past years of marriage, it seemed the same tenets we were personally celebrating that night – care, love, appreciation, teamwork – were also projected through the staff and the food. We were greeted warmly, the hostess welcoming us as if we were in her home. Our server, Jenna, was gracious and had a wealth of knowledge, but shared in a way that was truly genuine and never intimidating. And we were delighted to visit with General Manager Keith Goldman, who has made a tremendous name for himself as a pillar of the hospitality industry in Kansas City. In the elegant, yet contemporary, dining room we settled in for a night that was nothing of short of perfection.
Stewart Lane: At The Restaurant at 1900, Executive Chef Linda Duerr and her powerhouse team of chefs (Andy McCormick and Jonathan Ponzer) are a super group, akin to the Traveling Wilburys, who create edible artistry with familiar, yet complex, flavor profiles. We began our meal with a fluke crudo, composed of tender slices of delicate near-transparent fish enhanced with sweet melon, lemon, and mint, with chopped pistachios and crisp cucumber breaking up the texture and flavors. Speaking of textures, the beef tenderloin tartare was a masterpiece of the medium. Nestled in a thin web of crispy fried potatoes, finely mixed cool beef tenderloin was augmented with fermented turnips and poached potato, giving a lightness and unique texture to the classic dish. The tartare was finished with a delicate truffle sauce, tempered with stone-ground mustard, chives, and lemon. The tomato and bulgur salad, featuring tart green tomatoes and sweet cucumbers, incorporated with root vegetables and dusted with bulgur wheat, cured olive, and banyuls vinaigrette on a pillow of creamed feta, was summer on a plate. Coriander and sesame lamb ribs, which were an inventive spin on that particular cut of meat, utilized spice and a salt-sugar cure to create a crispy outside with tender meat that pulled from the bone. As plate after plate arrived, we were increasingly impressed by the thought and attention going into each step of the cooking and plating process.
EL: Jenna strategically timed the arrival of our plates in a way that we would enjoy each course with the appropriate wine. And speaking of wine, we would be remiss not to mention the iconic Beverage Director Doug Frost (one of four people in the world who has obtained the designation of both Master of Wine and Master Sommelier), who, unsurprisingly, has culled an impressive wine list with something for every palate. Trust your server for advice on a bottle; you won’t be disappointed.
SL: On Jenna’s recommendation, we ordered (and devoured) a small serving of the black garlic linguine in white clam sauce. Succulent clams rested on sliced sea scallops and sharp radicchio, with tender black garlic pasta adding an umami bomb to the sweet flavors. The pickled green garlic and fennel with basil and parsley kept the flavors light and fresh with a lemon crumb nestled in each open clamshell.
For our entrées, Emily couldn’t stay away from the Maine lobster roll, which contained tender lobster lightly dressed and served on a perfectly toasted, buttery and airy brioche bun. The lobster meat was sweet, perfectly cooked, and enhanced with a little lemon and mayonnaise. Another nod to Chef Duerr’s New England roots was the crispy skinned black sea bass accompanied by peekytoe crab dressed in a light lemon aïoli. A savory yet light medley of roasted radishes, white asparagus, grilled scallions, and edamame created a beautiful balance with the tender and juicy sea bass. A simple avocado purée connected all the flavors into a perfect bite, and contentedly we cleared our plates.
EL: If you’ve ever read our column before, you’ll know that I have quite an affection for desserts. But on this occasion, writing about the conclusion of your meal is particularly near to my heart, as I am proud to call Elizabeth Paradise not only a firstrate pastry chef, but also one of my closest friends. Chef Paradise creates sweet treats that appear beautifully simple, not overdone or excessively complex, yet made with an abundance of precision and care. She touches on nostalgic flavor profiles and then reaches beyond for the complementing flavor you never knew you needed, exemplified in her blueberries and cream with crushed meringue and lemon verbena. When you visit, indulge in several of Chef Paradise’s desserts; you’ll be glad you did.
After all, it doesn’t take an anniversary for you to go out to dinner and let the team at The Restaurant at 1900 show you some love.
The Restaurant at 1900 is located at 1900 Shawnee Mission Parkway in Mission Woods, Kansas. They are open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner, as well as Monday lunch. Reservations strongly encouraged. therestaurantat1900.com