city fare
August 26, 2005

Nearly a work of art
by Lisa Waterman Gray

Hannah Bistro Café moved to 7070 W. 105th St., Overland Park, about two years ago from its original location at 39th Street and State Line Road. A 25-year veteran of the restaurant business, owner Patrick Quillec also owns Café Provence in Prairie Village. He designs menus and presentations for both spots and has started work on a cookbook. Hannah Bistro Café also will soon begin selling the sauce that accompanies its Brittany-Style Mussels — a “small plate” with a huge following.

My older daughter, Jessica, and I took my parents to lunch at the restaurant during their recent visit from Pittsburgh, PA. Several friends had raved about the place and we weren’t disappointed.

Mom and Jess ordered cups of Florentine Soup ($2.50), which combined tiny chunks of corned beef, slices of artichoke hearts and fresh spinach in a light cream base. Dad tried Asparagus Soup ($2.50) with a light cream base and bite-sized pieces of asparagus. Each was perfectly seasoned.

My Bistro Salad ($5) arrived on a triangular plate with decorative squiggles of dressing at each corner, a large handful of diced tomatoes on top, and Patrick’s vinaigrette — a pleasant, orange concoction with a perfect balance of sweetness and saltiness.

Next, I enjoyed Artichoke Ravioli with Parmesan cheese, wild mushroom fricassee and pesto cream sauce ($9). Invented by Quillec in 1981, it was a wonderful combination of sturdy, yellow-tinged pasta, bite-sized artichoke chunks and mushroom slices in a pale yellow-green medium-thick sauce.

Jess ordered a Hot Turkey Sandwich ($8) on a baguette. The perfectly toasted bread enfolded thin-sliced breast meat, loads of melted Swiss cheese, caramelized onions and a savory pesto/aioli mayonnaise. Hand-cut homemade potato chips arrived light and crispy.

A Chicken Salad plate accented with little chunks of Granny Smith apple, and walnuts
(photo by Sam Garcia)

Mom enjoyed a Chicken Salad plate ($8) that featured at least two cups of tender chicken doused in a generous coating of mayonnaise. Accented with little chunks of Granny Smith apple, and walnuts; this dish also demonstrated a delicate balance of sweet and salt.

To dad came a special of the day, Blackened Tuna with risotto and crawfish sauce ($12). The one-inch slab of grilled tuna derived an almost Cajun bite from its rub. A handful of tiny pink crawfish on top, creamy risotto on the side and cooked shredded squash with red cabbage completed the plate.

We sampled two desserts. Jess’ knockout choice, Chocolate Cake ($8), included two thin triangles of dense, lightly sweetened, dark chocolate cake with blackberries, strawberries, some whipped cream and slivered almonds as accompaniment. I ordered Bread pudding with bourbon vanilla sauce ($7). Three small, soft rounds of bread soaked in a thin sauce with plenty of vanilla and minimal bourbon flavor. Cinnamon and powdered sugar topped the bread.

Butcher paper atop linen tablecloths, fresh flowers in cobalt vases, soft butter, and no sweeteners, salt or pepper characterized each tabletop. Solicitous and prompt characterized our service on that first visit.

Service suffered a bit when my husband, Mark, and I dined at Hannah’s on a Saturday evening. Though plenty busy the restaurant was, by no means, crowded. And, although our waiter was quite cordial, the time elapsed between courses, and dessert and arrival of our bill seemed a bit long.

We began our meal with Duck and Chicken Spring Roll ($9), a moist, savory combination of duck, chicken, green onion, mushroom and cilantro in four crisp rolls the size of my pinky finger. They surrounded a large pile of red cabbage slaw and were complemented by a mild, pale brown peanut dipping sauce.

Mark ordered braised Lamb Shank ($26) as his entree. The plate featured two rich, fall-off-the-bone shanks, rosemary-studded potato wedges with skin on one face, and four small broccoli heads.

We shared an order of perfectly sautéed mushrooms ($5). I also chose the evening’s special, Pecan-Crusted Tilapia ($21) and received a work of art. The fish topped a creamy, Parmesan-laced helping of risotto and julienne onions, carrots and zucchini. A soft, subtly flavored crust of crushed nuts completely wrapped the succulent, flaky fish, while a pool of beurre blanc infused everything on the plate with decadent richness.

I saved half of my entree and shared a Crème Brule ($7) with Mark. At five inches wide and room temperature, this lovely dessert sported a crunchy torched sugar “crust.”

Hannah Bistro Café offers plenty of beverage options, including a large selection of wines, as well as cognac, Armagnac, brandy, cordials, port and sherry. There also are numerous specialty coffee drinks and a dozen martinis.

Add live music, free dance lessons or a magician to the nightly mix, and it’s a recipe for a total entertainment package with food as the highlight.

Hannah Bistro Café

7070 W. 105th St.

Overland Park


HOURS:: Breakfast Mon.- Sat., 11 a.m.–10 p.m.;
late menu until 11 p.m.; food in the bar until midnight

(photo by Sam Garcia)

Ratings: (out of four stars)

FOOD ***1/2
PRICE $$$ dinner, $$ lunch

Key: $-under $10 • $$-$10 to $20 • $$$-over $20


fork, knife, spoon


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