January 9, 2009
Pungent blue cheese, dill-laced Havarti, creamy Brie and goat cheeses, and smoky Gouda served with toast chips, balsamic reduction, and a spoonful of berry compote. Tender braised short ribs atop creamy mashed potatoes, savory duck on sweet potato purée, perfectly seared tuna tartare atop a super-fresh seawood salad, and homemade mozzarella slabs served with tomato bits, leafy greens and balsamic reduction.
Such was a series of miniature appetizers from t•a•s•t•e, 7938 Santa Fe Drive, in Overland Park, served on white plates, bringing to mind an image of artists’ palettes.
“We want to offer something new to the area,” says chef/owner, Jonathon Dallen. “We’re offering world cuisines in tastes.”
Ten entrees ranged from Brick Chicken ($14) to My Surf and Turf ($35). There were also two-dozen First Tastes, plus our Chef selection of foreign and domestic cheeses ($9) and Chef’s tasting-sampling of chef’s favorites ($15).
I ordered another First Taste — lobster and crab crepes in a rich bourbon cream sauce ($12) — and a dinner salad with Cilantro and Peanut Vinaigrette for dinner. Tender, moist shreds of lobster and crab topped two delicate, generously filled crepes with rich, seductive sauce. The salad paired mixed greens, red onion, cucumber, and tomato with the light, subtly flavored dressing.
Ellen and I ordered the “Choose Three for 11” (dollars) at lunchtime. She sampled:
- Mini pan-seared coriander tuna steak sandwich, served rare, with
Asian slaw and hoi sen sauce, which was perfectly seared and served
with a light, fresh slaw
- Mini bleu cheese burger with caramelized onions and t•a•s•t•e’s
special condiment blend sauce, where the surprise was a little burst
of bleu inside the medium burger, which didn’t flavor
every bite, and a few caramelized onions beneath
Four small pieces of medium rare meat characterized Mark’s Rack of Lamb at dinner ($24), served atop corn polenta, full of fresh kernels, and sautéed spinach and mushrooms in subtle thyme sauce.
Stephanie’s Seared Crab Cake ($16) was light, fluffy and 5 inches in diameter with savory lobster whipped potatoes, spinach and mushrooms in carrot butter sauce and a spicy, pale pink rémoulade whose heat intensified with each bite.
Jessica enjoyed three large slabs of salt- and pepper-seasoned Seared Halibut, Mahi Mahi and Sea Bass ($23), whose tips touched in the center of the plate and atop savory, al dente lobster risotto. This time, a light lavender plum wine sauce dressed sautéed spinach and mushrooms.
We then shared a Crème Brulée Tasting ($8) and Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate, White Chocolate ($10). Blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, butterscotch, and chocolate brulé filled five shallow dishes, and the blueberry and chocolate offered the deepest, most distinct flavors.
The second sampler featured creamy peanut butter and white chocolate fudge, chocolate caramel torte in a rich, dark chocolate candy “crust,” a scoop of chocolate ice cream, and another sample of chocolate crème brulé. At lunch, we sampled the Warm fresh Cookie Tasting ($7), which included cranberry-oatmeal, chocolate chip, chocolate chip, peanut butter and gingersnap varieties, a small scoop of vanilla ice cream and about 6 ounces of whole milk.
t•a•s•t•e still has a glass-faced garage door along its front wall from a previous venue, and we kept our coats nearby during both visits. Polished hardwood floors, dark wood tables and chairs, sage booth upholstery and exposed brick walls surrounded us, as well as several large wall-mounted televisions, and smooth jazz played overhead. The restaurant offers live music on the weekends.
Service was good during our dinner visit, but a little uneven at lunch. We asked twice for water and had to request blue cheese dressing for the wings. And although the warm cookies tasted terrific, we didn’t learn we’d wait about 15 minutes for the sampler until we’d already waited 10. But for a restaurant that’s only been open 14 weeks, t•a•s•t•e is off to a really great start.
Lisa Waterman Gray can be contacted at email@example.com.
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