Location: 600 Ward Parkway, Country Club Plaza, KC MO
Food: Upscale Gastropub
Service: Traditional Waitstaff
Price: Starters/Salads $6-$15, Entrees $15-$30
Rating: Two napkins
There's plenty of hubbub about this new restaurant in the former Baja 600 location on the south end of the Plaza, Gram & Dun. And with good reason.
Admittedly, I was as pumped up as anyone about it for a couple distinct reasons: A) it's not a chain and B) its ownership, Bread & Butter Concepts, is responsible for two other respectable places in town, BRGR and Urban Table, both in the PV/Corinth area.
|Glass-lighting effect added by me - not part of the table.|
Don't get me wrong, there's lots of booze to choose from--50ish beers and even more wines--but if you rule out the stuff you can find at your local grocery store, it's not jaw-dropping. So my first impression, after parking ourselves at a small two-top in the appropriately noisy bar area some 90 minutes earlier than our projected seating time, was to be slightly underwhelmed at the pub element.
bourbon slush). So I picked up the cocktail menu and decided to try their sazerac. Man, did that hit the spot. Elizabeth opted for a Ginger Rogers with mint leaves, ginger syrup, gin, lime juice, ginger ale and lime wedge garnish. It was a nice crisp counter to my warmer, darker drink. And in the classy, dark, swank and positively buzzing surroundings, we were happy.
Soon, some busty, blonde, ditzy ladies grabbed the table next to us... either dressed up strippers or KC socialite/scenesters... the type who perpetually date Chiefs players and will only be seen at the city's current hot spot. Their hundred-dollar-Nordstrom-shirted male counterparts never joined them at the table--they stayed nearer the bar engaging in real man conversation and, generally, to be seen in the epicenter of the newest and arguably most popular restaurants in the city. I mention this only in an attempt to convey a little about what it feels like to be in the bar at G&D right now. This is the frequent clientele. Not a bad thing but humorously predictable and, over time, when they migrate to the next new hot spot, I expect Gram & Dun will take on a slightly more, shall we say, approachable tonality.
Shishito peppers to start. We'd had these mild, skinny peppers at Ra and Girl & The Goat (Chicago) and thoroughly enjoyed them. Here, they were battered and flash-fried, which was great for one or two, but the bowl of peppers at Gram & Dun is humongous and they were thoroughly salted (thoroughly). Given our porcine-like refusal to limit our gastro-intake, we ploughed through the whole bowl, I'm ashamed to say, and were over greased and over salted immediately thereafter.
|See what I mean about the size of the chips?|
|Fried, fried fried!|
|Main dining area|
|Taken in bar area looking toward south wing|
A friend recently summed up the Bread & Butter Concepts restaurants well to me in saying that "none of their food is all that great but they do an impressive job of creating an atmosphere people want to be in. And the food's good enough to make for an enjoyable time." In the case of Gram & Dun this seems mostly true. I owe it the due diligence of a restaurant reviewer and to go try some more of the food before passing my full judgment. But based on what I've seen so far, I'm mostly impressed and employing a little more strategy in the ordering process, expect to like this place plenty.
Rating: two napkins