Visited this new outlet of the Granite City (intake of breath) chain in continuing mourning process for Sherlock's Home, Minnetonka. Coming up to Thanksgiving I was pondering many drives up to the former shrine of transatlantic real ale quaffing via (in fact) KC on I-35 Turkey Day (to arrive for 3:30 sitting) and a mini-redux of that ritual stopping at GC seemed appropriate. Although their IPA was only a dim reminder of the glories of cask-conditioned pints and Winter Warmer at Sherlock's, it was hopped to high heaven (bliss) and far ahead of similar concoctions of "brupubz" except for maybe Baltimore and similar scattering of places mainly on the Coasts.
As seems to be typical we were met by a pretty contingent of gothic hostesses whose waist size and my neck size approximately coincide. I don't know if it's a job requirement to be able to slither through a Mini-Cooper tire but these girls are good to go if so.
We were shown to a nice booth and lined up some IPA's. The first came with a good head and creamy start. The hopping is the thing here. My wife enjoyed this too but then moved on to the stout with less good result. This seemed to "look good" (but, opposite to the Mackeson advert of yore) not particularly "taste good" or "do you good." It seemed rather watery and lacking body to us. However, an American fellow was seemingly enjoying his stout nearby.
The food started with shrimp and crab cake appetizer along with mussels appetizer. The crab cakes were well done with very generous helping of cakes and crabmeat therein. My mussels were nicely done although quite a few had escaped their shells during cooking and had to be forked (rather than "slurped").
We had an excellent waitress and periodically the manager stopped by or a host or sometimes drinks were brought by strangers. Main courses were mussels and shrimp linguine for my wife and top sirloin "rare" for me.
I also had a dinner salad which was generous enough for two but somewhat short on dressing for its size.
My steak was a good one, cooked to order. The onion string bed was a lot more interesting than I remembered from a previous encounter. Less greasy: More onioney. Actually, quite pleasant. My wife's pasta she thought tasted (texture) more like fresh or even home-made than the plastic-wrap variety. I wonder if it is? She enjoyed this main quite a bit.
My steak was good, but why have the gods taken the "beefiness" out of steaks some time in the last oh 5-10 years? It was good quality but I just lusted for more beef "bite" to it. I cant complain for they are no different than most anywhere else. It's the meat supply that's lacking flavor generally I think.
There was good people-watching and overall a pleasant experience. A "growler" was obligingly filled for $9 (with IPA) for later consumption.
Zona Rosa . . . I had never seen before and on a gray day did not inspire the soul very much. It was not as I had expected (the sort of o.t.t. ritzy "planned living" neighborhood you see in places like Houston). I thought it particularly silly they had bike lanes where obviously only a suicidal mental patient would ever venture to cycle. (Is there any end to the money we waste on this sort of sounds-good-but-is-ridiculous-if-you-think-about-it effort?) The bike lane ended abruptly at a 16-way freeway intersection where the theoretical cyclist would no doubt meet his bloodied doom shortly thereafter if bold enough to continue.
What I would love to see here is a meat pie, a cheese plate "Ploughman's", a Lancashire hot-pot or something like that which is more tightly bound to the beer/ale theme. Some of the sweeter sauces and such I find not quite savory enough to balance the beer. A little salute to "pub grub" could work well here I think but they focus more on American standard fare albeit with a definite feeling that the food is being cooked by actual chefs rather than coming off a kitchen assembly line.
Overall, enjoyable, especially if you hit on the same waitress we did. She took the cues we sent and personalized our meal nicely. A very rare thing these days in non "fine" dining circles, and little seen even in those.
Granite City Food and Brewery
Kansas City, MO
8461 NW Prairie View Road, Kansas City, MO 64153