Apr 18, 2010

Another Go-Round at Blue Bird

I'm trying out a new thing with Napkins and I really want some feedback. So send some comments on this.

Basically, I realize that my posts can be long. And I don't mind that they are, because I like giving as much detail as possible. Whatever. You don't have to read it all. However, for those who would prefer a quicker read, I might start posts, now, with an at-a-glance overview. This review of Blue Bird will be my first shot at it. Let me know if you think I should make alterations.

Restaurant: Blue Bird Bistro
Location: 17th & Summit, KC, MO
What I Ate: Coffee, Biscuits and Buffalo Sausage Gravy
Food: Huge emphasis on local and organic ingredients is a plus. Menu could use some new options.
Service: Slightly better than average. Friendly, attentive, no mishaps.
Atmosphere: Relaxing and brimming with character. Superb.
Price: Reasonable given quality of ingredients
Rating: Two Napkins (rating from previous review: two napkins)

Full Review
The family was in town for Easter weekend and Elizabeth and I were charged with picking a brunch spot for Saturday morning. We knew we wanted to take them to a good local place, so we took a few places under consideration.
  • Room 39: took them there recently 
  • Bluestem: too pricey and upscale 
  • You Say Tomato: too big of a group
  • Succotash: scared of the tomato soup-eating painting on the wall
  • Happy Gillis: took them there recently
  • Eggtc.: too crowded
  • reVerse: too "see and be seen"
  • Bristol: didn't want to go to P&L
  • Blue Bird Bistro: perfect
Blue Bird, with its emphasis on local ingredients and decently-sized breakfast/brunch menu was perfect for the occasion. Choose location: done.

I've reviewed Blue Bird before, so this is a "booster review", not a full-on assessment. Previously I rated Blue Bird two napkins. Would that change on this trip?

In short, no. It's worth every bit of those two napkins, but needs some menu  upgrades to go to the next echelon of mouth-dabbing napkindom. Here's the rundown:

The coffee at Blue Bird is done well - Roasterie Coffee. Cream is served in little metal kettles that fit the restaurant's throwback vibe nicely. If you take sugar, it's a high quality pure cane sugar (I don't, though, for the record).

Last time we went to Blue Bird for breakfast, I had eggs served in an out-of-season tomato which were a little lacking in flavor, so this time I went back to something I knew would be a hit - their biscuits and gravy with crumbled bison breakfast sausage added (only $6.40 for the full order plus an extra $2 for the meat). The biscuits aren't radically fluffy or over-the-top rich; they're just good, hand made biscuits with a nice crust on the outside and warm chewy center.

The gravy is heavenly - the perfect consistency, a balance of thick and creamy - and comes infused with mushrooms and herbs, giving it savory, almost earthy flavor. I love this depth. It's nice tasting more than cream, flour and black pepper which is what you often get with average B&G. The bison, then, lends some kick. A little more going on in  your mouth. Yes, it's got a hint of gaminess, but only in the best way. (Same goes for their terrific bison burger.) B&G with some originality yet all the things I love in the classic. Good stuff.

I also stole bites of my mom's green curry (can you tell I steal a lot of food from people who have the misfortune of going to restaurants with me?), which she asked for mild - unsure of whether she could handle its spice. What she was served was, indeed, mild. But it also lacked its signature green color, no doubt from the omission of much of the green curry paste. So, sadly, her first experience with green curry was not a very authentic one. It was mostly an experience with coconut milk. Her vegetables, including carrot, broccoli, roasted sliced potato and lots of onion were all crisp tender and nicely done, though she weeded out the onion - maybe a little too raw.

Elizabeth tried the black bean burger, which I will advise readers to avoid. Was it bad? No. But it's not a burger. It's a pile of black bean mash, which has a naturally starchy consistency to it, served on a bun. Too little contrast in textures and flavors. I've made some black bean and even a chickpea burger once, and the recipes always call for citrus. I don't know why. Yes, it does add flavor, but it seems out of place. Lime stood out in BBB's BBB but I'd advise the use of bell pepper, kernels of corn, and small diced carrot and onion to liven up the patty. Oh, and make it more of a patty, not a cafeteria-style mush lump. Not great.

Her side of potato salad was creamy and delicious with lots of scallion - a great touch in potato salad (which I'm deciding right now I'll be making tonight).

My wonderful, smart, talented sister Christy, a CPA, Dallas resident, dog owner, church goer, world traveler and my culinary polar opposite (just not as adventurous with food choices), set her sights on the French toast (pictured below). "I always get French toast!" she beamed. So I watched her to pick up signs on how it may have compared to the thousands of other French toasts she's had in her life. When prodded, she said it was good, but I caught her spending a lot of time looking at the plates of others. Her toast was thick cut and looked delicious, but was served pretty plain - two "sticks" of toast with maple syrup on the side. No fruit or other accompaniment. Modestly sized. I think she found it quite average in the end.

Overall, the two napkin rating was affirmed. My B&G hit the spot and stands out among the many B&G memories I have. The rest of the table had average dishes. The service is still friendly. The atmosphere will always be a dream.

Rating: two napkins

Blue Bird Bistro on Urbanspoon


Amanda said...

John, I really, really like your new format!! The synopsis is great for a glance...then when a person has more time, s/he can go back and read for more depth. Nice going.

Jmeg said...

I like both formats. But I like to read your full posts. It shows your enthusiasm and really gives the full experience. If you cant read long blog posts, then folks should stick with twitter.

Anonymous said...

Awww, I made your blog! :) (Sorry I'm just now reading this!) I love the new format!

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