Sunday, September 13, 2009

Kansas City Day 1 - Bice Bistro

Maybe I was just tired from driving the three and a half hour trip or maybe the chef was having an off night. Whatever the case, Bice Bistro (pronounced Bee Chay), just off of Kansas City’s Power and Light District was far from impressive.

Mindy and I arrived optimistic for what would be the first of three dining experiences. Mindy had our second anniversary weekend planned start to finish, and thanks to her excellent taste, I was happy to eat wherever she wanted me to.

Parched from our journey I immediately ordered Kansas City’s own Boulevard Wheat. This choice would be the only good one of the night.

At first glance the menu looked fabulous. Offerings such as Risotto aragosta, Lamb oso bucco and Linguini Carbonara leapt from the page and whetted our appetites. I decided on a personal favorite, Veal Piccata, and Mindy chose Scaloppine (Veal in a Marsala Wine Sauce), both $22 plates. Ordering veal dishes for the both our meals may have been our first mistake, but considering we never make it for ourselves at home, it sounded especially good this night. I chose to order a Caesar Salad as well.

As soon as the waiter had taken our order, the bread arrived. Unlike most Italian restaurants that bring only one type of bread, Bice’s basket held small portions of 3 different kinds; Focaccia, Italian and crispy seasoned bread sticks accompanied by a cream cheese, olive oil and balsamic vinegar dipping plate. This offering, to Bice’s credit, was actually very enjoyable, though it would have been far more enjoyable if we had silverware or appetizer plates (all of which were brought well after our bread had been consumed).

After a short time my salad arrived and though displayed beautifully and topped with a generous amount of parmesan shavings, it may have been the worst tasting Caesar Salad I’ve eaten. The dressing tasted much like mayonnaise stirred with anchovies. Even the parmesan shavings were tasteless. My $4.50 would have been better spent at McDonalds.

Slightly disheartened but still hopeful, we waited for our main course. Once again, both plates were beautifully displayed, but the beauty was only skin deep. My first bite of veal was surprising. The picatta sauce was the strongest I have ever tasted. Thankfully I am a fan of strong tastes or I would not have been able to eat another bite. I would soon be extra thankful as the strong flavor of the sauce helped drown out the bland (dare I say from a box) garlic mashed potatoes and cooked spinach. In most cases I am a fan of spinach. Spinach salads, spinach artichoke dip, spinach almost anything is great, but spinach in and of itself, cooked and soggy as the only vegetable on the plate? I really don’t know what they were thinking.

As if this wasn’t enough, the veal was tough. I had difficulty cutting it, even with a knife.

Mindy felt much the same about her meal, though she did at least have the benefit of grilled asparagus as a side. The Marsala Wine Sauce was good, but not phenomenal. Her veil was tough as well. The highlight of her meal was the Cucumber Martini (but it's hard to go wrong with Hendrick's Gin).

Luckily Bice Bistro is one of the restaurants that accepts our Passport Unlimited Card and we were able to use our card to get one of the entrées for free (this is how we chose the restaurant to begin with). Bice Bistro excluded, we have always been extremely happy with Passport Unlimited choices and look forward to using it every chance we get, but even with nearly 50% off of our ticket, we were both thoroughly disappointed in our meal. We cook far better for ourselves at home at a fraction of the price.

If you know me at all you know I’m not a very negative person and very rarely whiney. It takes a lot for me to say something pessimistic, but in the case of Bice Bistro, there's not much good I can expound upon. I would venture to say that if the restaurant does not shape up, it will not last another a year.

Thankfully, our next night of dining would be the exact opposite experience and restore our faith in Kansas City dining... I'll post my review of "The Foundry" very shortly.

Bice Bistro

Overall Rating - D

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