435 Westport Rd.
Kansas City, MO 64111
Remember all the cool bar scenes in "Good Will Hunting"? Think along those lines and you'll find a similar setting inside Westport's Beer Kitchen. Within the brick walls, one can find chalkboards lined to the edge with various bottled beers, rustic (yet dim) lighting, and all types of of cool beer-themed art... you'd expect yourself to be walking into a little piece of Boston. The pub-style environment felt warm and cozy, although we were sat next to the front door (on a FRIGID winter day). The mood was light and friendly, bartenders were having fun and boisterous conversations with customers who seemed like regulars in the establishment.
Right when we walked through the door, we were greeted by a friendly host and taken to a cozy, but spacious booth. We were handed a typical food and drink menu, as well as a separate little pamphlet containing the many beer-themed beverages. There was also a clipboard with three weekly specials, but none that tickled our fancy. Our server was very upbeat and enthusiastic about her job, and had our beverages on the table in no time at all. Drinks never reached empty during our visit, which is always a great plus. When asked for suggestions, she recommended the popular Smokestack Burger, Mac & Cheese with an endless amount of mix-ins, and her favorite; Oven Fried Chicken.
The menu had a clean and appealing layout. Selections were simple, but the food was complex. Cole, (being a VERY picky eater) had trouble finding something in the "Breakfast Anytime", "Starters", or "Entree" sections that didn't contain some type of unique sauce such as aioli, or mustard, relish, a vegetable, or unfamiliar cheese. He was surprisingly willing to try truffle oil, (which was a good thing, considering most of the menu options contained some version of truffle-something-or-other.) Our palates couldn't be more different, as I always try picking menu items with the most ingredients packed into one entree. There were TONS of unique items for me to explore.
"Beer is proof that god loves us, and wants us to be happy." -Benjamin Franklin
This place is not your typical bar and grill, and certainly doesn't have menu items you'd expect from an Applebee's. Everything on the menu is elevated with upscale ingredients you'd expect to see on Food Network. For example; aioli, kale dishes, root vegetables, butternut squash samosas, duck confit... the list could go on. Don't fret, there are normal items on the menu as well. With endless burger options, mac & cheese, creole chicken, loaded fries, pork tenderloins, and the beloved chicken and waffles; there's definitely something here for everyone. The only thing I love in this world more than my dog is cheese. I can honestly admit to loving cheese with my whole heart, so I was ecstatic to see the variety of GOOD cheeses used , such as brie, Maytag bleu, provolone, gorgonzola, goat cheese, and good ol' gouda.
Let's talk money, honey. With the quality of the food provided, you'd expect the bill to be a little pricey. But, surprisingly, even on a tight budget we'll be frequenting Beer Kitchen on many more date-nights to come. With a massive appetizer and two filling entrees, we escaped by only spending around $50 AFTER a 20% tip!
We went with the "Stockyard Fries" as an appetizer, just couldn't pass them up. Our server quickly showed up (with a larger than expected portion) of hand cut fries cooked to perfection and topped with perfectly caramelized onions, bbq burnt ends, and smoked gouda fondue. My mouth is watering just thinking about the gouda. The dish also came with pickled relish but we did without (because Cole is fickle about pickle!) Even though the appetizer was filling enough, there were some entrees on the menu we couldn't leave without trying. Cole went with the recommended "Smokestack" burger. The "Smokestack" comes on a potato bun, which is a nice change from the standard white or wheat. The burger comes topped with smoked burnt ends, a whiskey bbq glaze (to die for), smoked gouda, chipotle aioli, and crispy jalapeño straws. I decided on a grilled sandwich option called "Hogtied". The sandwich had a delicious combination of black forest ham, bbq burnt ends, smoked BACON aioli (a dream come true), chipotle white cheddar, pickle relish, and cider slaw that was piled on sourdough bread and grilled to crisp perfection. Although we'd already quenched our fry thirst, we both added the "mini-fry", which was a barrel of "Truffle-parmesan" fries, complimenting our entrees well.
Overall, the Beer Kitchen experience was phenomenal. We were sat quickly, introduced to a plethora of off-the-wall menu items, and completely satisfied with the food/service we were given. Our food was cooked to perfection, and hot when it reached our table. The unique combinations of ingredients on the sandwiches were a total win when it came to complementary flavors and textures. Prices were satisfactory and portions were filling; leaving us craving more!