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Albero Cafe

23 Aug

The rise and fall of Bocconcini at Oliver and Central has paved the way for another Italian restaurant in its place. Albero Cafe recently opened in the vacant space to give Wichitans a new option for Italian food on the east side of town.

The interior and ambiance of Albero remains similar to Bocconcini. The open floor plan and large glass windows still make the restaurant louder than most. During peak hours it can be hard to carry on a conversation. There is a small patio, but it does not offer any reprieve from the noise as it sits ten feet from Central.

 

Italian Nachos: Epic Appetizer

Italian Nachos: Epic Appetizer

The menu at Albero has everything that you would expect from a typical Italian-American  joint  including salads, flatbreads, soups, paninis, and a number of classic pasta dishes. While they offer a variety of options, the menu is not as overwhelming as other Italian places in town.

We decided to start off with an appetizer order of the intriguing sounding Italian Nachos. They were billed as fried pita chips covered with lettuce, tomatoes, pepperoncini, and a parmesan cheese sauce. What came out was a bountiful heap of indulgence. The pita chips were very crispy and resembled fried wontons. The veggies were tossed with an Italian vinaigrette and the parmesan sauce was

Parpardelle Pasta with Delicious Veggies

Parpardelle Pasta with Delicious Veggies

wonderfully addictive. This blue collar dish was amazing, but left you with a somewhat guilty feeling for having feasted on such opulence. A word of caution: This is a good sized dish and would be perfect for a party of 4 because it left Steph and I fairly satiated even before our main courses arrived.

Despite the fullness from the nachos, I enjoyed my parpardelle pasta. The ample serving of wide noodles was tossed with just the right amount of good cream sauce. The dish also included tomatoes, portabellas, and delicious whole roasted

A Little Chicken Penne Action

A Little Chicken Penne Action

garlic cloves. Steph’s chicken penne pesto was just alright. While the pesto sauce tasted fresh, there could have been more added to the dish.

Albero Cafe fills a void in the eastside Italian scene and does a decent job at it. The food is a touch upscale, but the prices are reasonable. In my opinion everyone in town should try the Italian nachos just to experience a little bliss. And for you oenophiles they have nice selection of wines.

YOLO Grill

8 Aug

There are many restaurants in town to get a burger and fries, so in order to be successful,  an establishment has to set itself apart from the others. Keeping the menu simple and not cutting many corners are two easy ways to accomplish this in my opinion. YOLO (You Only Live Once) Grill is just a simple restaurant making simple food, but they know how to do it right.

YOLO is located on West St. just north of Central in an old Sonic building. It’s conveniently painted a lovely shade of fluorescent green just in case you are having trouble finding it. There isn’t much seating inside the small eatery, so be prepared to wait for a seat during the peak lunchtime hour. The menu is pretty straightforward, but does offer some variety. The backbone of the food offerings are their hamburgers and they have several to choose from.

The YOLO burger with Fried Egg

The YOLO burger with Fried Egg

You can have your simple bacon and cheese or up the ante with a fried egg, pulled pork, hot links, or avocado. There are also fish and chips, a BLT, chicken strips, a lighter grilled chicken wrap, and a reuben sandwich. Sides include delicious fried treats such as fries, O-rings, okra, and pickles. For those preparing for an eating contest or just looking for a challenge, they offer “The Tombstone”, a six patty monster burger.

Luckily we visited YOLO on a Saturday, when the reuben is offered, so I went with it. My sister opted for a cheeseburger with a fried egg, and my son got a grilled hot dog although he was eyeing the basket of suckers on the counter intently.

As an aficionado of Reuben sandwiches, I was eager to sample YOLO’s offering as they make their own corned beef. I am rather familiar with corning beef and was impressed that a restaurant is willing to take the extra time to do this.

Reuben Perfection

Reuben Perfection

Piled high with thick cut corned beef, sauerkraut, swiss cheese, and dressing it tasted like everything you could hope for in a reuben. The tender, flavorful corned beef and indulgent amounts of melted swiss made this one of the best reubens I have ever had.  My only complaint was that the bread wasn’t the traditional rye, but I am willing to overlook this. The basic thick cut fries that came with my meal were perfectly cooked and well seasoned.

The single patty hamburger was a solid effort, that was highlighted by the gently charred crust of the meat disk. YOLO uses an open flame grill for cooking so they can impart that flavor onto the meat as well as keep the grease in check. The burger was a touch overdone, but nothing to really complain about. The fried egg added a little flair to the basic burger.

My son seemed to enjoy his ketchup laden hot dog and fries. When ordering a hot dog you have the option of having it grilled or fried, while we went with the grilled version, I can imagine you can’t go wrong with a deep fried hot dog.

I was happy to see the pride that goes into the food at YOLO. While the menu offerings are nothing new to Wichita, if you like American comfort food done right this is a great place to check out.

 

Yolo Grill on Urbanspoon

Food Trucks at the Fountain

25 Jul

If you have always wanted to sample some of Wichita’s most popular food trucks, keep in mind the last Sunday of each month. On this day several trucks gather at the Water Walk Fountain in downtown to serve up lunch from 11:30 to 2:30.

The owners of the Flying Stove are responsible for “Food Trucks at the Fountain”, so their truck is a constant each month. There are several other trucks that round out the offerings and provide plenty of options. On our visit B. S. Sandwich Press, Park-n-Pork BBQ, The Waffle Wagon, Brick House BBQ, and Let’m Eat Brats were serving as well.

When we pulled into the parking lot nearest the food trailers it seemed that there was some sort of problem. Apparently in a frenzied rush to order caramelized waffles from the Waffle Wagon, people had simply forgotten how to use a parking lot properly. I present to you Exhibit A:

Massive Parking Lot Fail

Massive Parking Lot Fail

Once out of our car we walked up and down the row of trailers, scouting out the menus. Steph went with a Cobb salad sandwich and the famous crack-laced truffle fries from The Flying Stove. After much deliberation I went with a Carolina style pulled pork sandwich and green beans from Park-n-Pork. There was a good crowd even at 1:30, so each truck had decent queues for both ordering and picking up food.

Cobb Salad Sandwich from Flying Stove

Cobb Salad Sandwich from Flying Stove

The Cobb salad sandwich was filled with a generous serving of lemony grilled chicken, tomatoes, avocados, blue cheese, egg, lettuce, and dressing. The chicken, while somewhat overcooked, had very good flavor. The rest of the ingredients worked as well together as in a traditional Cobb salad. I was most impressed with the bun. Laden with this many ingredients it is not uncommon for buns to suffer CBF(Catastrophic Bun Failure) and render themselves a wet mass of mess, but this one held strong. The truffle fries were as delicious as usual. There is certainly no need for ketchup with these perfectly seasoned fried potatoes.

Carolina-Style Pork Sandwich

Carolina-Style Pork Sandwich

My pork sandwich featured a decent amount of pulled pork, a vinegar based BBQ sauce, and coleslaw. I was happy to see that despite sitting in a warming tray for the last several hours the pork was still fairly moist, which is no small feat. The pork had a nice smoke flavor and good rub as well. Overall I liked the sandwich, but I thought there was too much coleslaw overpowering the pork and sauce. The spicy green beans were a disappointment because they were canned and it was such a meager serving. The peppers and garlic provided a good kick, but were unable to save the bits of bean. I think if fresh or even frozen beans had been used this would have been a tasty side dish. For dessert we were hoping to get a caramelized waffle from the Waffle Wagon, but unfortunately that had sold out by then.

I was glad to see that the event was so popular, but the large crowds meant longer waits and food that started running out towards the end. Food Trucks at the Fountain is a good way to scope out the various food trucks that continue to pop up over town.

Watermark Cafe

24 Apr

What’s better than sitting down to begin a new book? How about enjoying a tasty sandwich or salad while enjoying your book? Watermark Books and Cafe, located at Oliver and Douglas,  is the place where you can make this happen. Watermark is one of the few remaining independent book stores in Wichita and perhaps some of their success can be attributed to the popular cafe that is housed inside.

The Great Expectations: Could Dickens Describe it in Less Than 500 words?

The Great Expectations: Could Dickens Describe it in Less Than 500 words?

The scope of the cafe’s offerings is impressive for a small place and includes dine-in or carryout options for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, fresh baked pastries and breads, and catering. The menu consists of various sandwiches and salads cleverly named with book titles, soups, several breakfast offerings, daily desserts, and a number of specialty drinks.

On our visit I went with the Great Expectations, a Dickinsonian delight that consisted of turkey, apricot-curry mayo, lettuce, and chopped walnuts. It was a sandwich that even Pip would have been pleased with. The apricot-curry mayo and walnuts were a nice combination that livened up this sandwich. Steph ordered the Catcher in the Rye, which included turkey, salami, swiss cheese, and sundried tomato mayo served on rye bread of course. This hearty and warm sandwich was quite tasty, although the rye bread was not as good as other versions in town. We also ordered a PB and J kids meal for our son, which in hindsight may not have been the best decision. Imagine a small child with PB covered hands and face running off into the kids section of the store. Lesson learned.

Watermark Cafe offers decent and unique sandwich and salad options for quick dining. They also get bonus points for having creative names for their menu items. In fact I took the liberty to come up with a few more suggestions for possible new items:

The Heart of Darkness: Baked tilapia, fried plantains, and mango salsa served on a whole wheat tortilla

A Christmas Carol: Thick sliced turkey, smoked gouda cheese, and a walnut cranberry pesto

The Grapes of Wrath: A mixed green salad with grapes, toasted pecans, and a buttermilk vinaigrette

 

Watermark Cafe on Urbanspoon

http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/329/1346128/restaurant/Watermark-Cafe-Wichita

Copper Oven Cafe and Bakery(Don’t Leave Without Dessert)

20 Jan

In my opinion some the most unpredictable dining adventures you can have are at cafes and diners. You never know if the place just pulls everything out of the freezer or if they actually take the time to prepare homemade food. It’s the difference between enjoying a tasty comfort food meal or something that leaves you wondering why you didn’t just go get some Pho. Copper Oven Cafe and Bakery, located on 13th just east of Meridian, happens to be an establishment where you won’t go away doubting the state of traditional American cuisine.

A Perfect Reuben with a Mound of Ranch Potatoes

A Perfect Reuben with a Mound of Ranch Potatoes

Copper Oven is located in  an older strip mall, but inside is a spacious and inviting dining area. Besides the restaurant there is a bakery that of course you must go  by to get to your seat. It’s a great idea because after glancing at their wide variety of cakes, cookies, pies, and pastries you will be hard pressed to pass up dessert. The menu has all the items you would expect from an American style cafe, but also some surprises like ceviche, upscale sandwiches, and several signature salads.  Breakfast is also served till 2pm each day and they have many hearty egg dishes to choose from.

On our visit we both decided to try a couple of their sandwiches. I ordered the iconic Reuben and Steph went with a grilled chicken pesto on focaccia.  The first thing I noticed about the Reuben was the thick cut rye bread it was served on. Good rye bread is essential for a proper Reuben and is all too often overlooked. Well not at Copper Oven, these people don’t mess around with their rye bread. Tender corned beef, plenty of melted cheese, sauerkraut, and of course the grilled rye made this one of the best Reubens I have

The Chicken Pesto Sammie

The Chicken Pesto Sammie

had. The chicken pesto was close to being a really good sandwich, but we thought it was held back by the focaccia. It was thick compared to the rest of the ingredients and could have benefited from being toasted. Other than that it was a tasty sandwich.  The pesto was fresh and had a strong basil flavor, and the fresh veggies were a good touch. Both of our sandwiches came with a large pile of Ranch potatoes, which were just basic fried potato cubes. We didn’t hear any complaints from out son who finished off quite a bit of his grilled cheese. The  biggest decision of our visit and probably our week was what to get for dessert. After some deliberation we ordered a slice of chocolate peanut butter cream pie. The coconut cream was a close second and I will be back for some of that action soon. Anyway, the

Decadent Chocolate Peanut Butter Cream Pie

Decadent Chocolate Peanut Butter Cream Pie

chocolate peanut butter pie was money. Good crust, great flavor, and some sinful whipped cream on top is about all you can hope for in a cream pie.

If you are looking for simple American fare done right as well as great desserts, Copper Oven is a place to check out.
http://copperovencafe.com/

Copper Oven Cafe on Urbanspoon

Cow and Sow Deli

11 Jan

It seems like the Wichita dining scene has a lag of several years when it comes to new trends. We are just now getting over the great food truck explosion of 2012/2013, Gastropubs are a relatively new concept, and everything is served on a pretzel bun now. At this pace you can expect Cronuts coming to a bakery near you in 2020. Another one of those trends that is starting to catch on here is the locavore movement/diet/religion/whathaveyou. This admirable trend tries to focus on sourcing as many ingredients as possible from local producers. With all the great meat and produce that Kansas has to offer, I am surprised it took this long for the movement to come into full swing. Cow and Sow Deli is the newest in a growing list of restaurants that offer local produce, breads, and meat.

Mushroom and Kale Soup: It tasted better than it looked

Mushroom and Kale Soup: It tasted better than it looked

Cow and Sow is located downtown on Douglas, inside the Renfro building. It is a small space, especially on a busy day, but there is plenty of seating in a separate dining area next door in the Renfro Studio. Besides serving food Cow and Sow also has a very small market where you can buy various food products from local producers. At the time of our visit it looked a bit bare, but January in Kansas is not known as one of the more bountiful months for fresh food.

The lunch and dinner menu consists of a few sandwiches and one or two soups of the day. There is also a self-described “salad trough” that features unique homemade vegetarian and vegan options.  The sandwiches feature locally baked bread and greens, while the soups are all made in-house daily. They also offer a small assortment of pastries, coffee, and desserts.

During the winter months I am hopelessly addicted to homemade soups of all kinds, so I of course ordered a bowl of the mushroom and kale soup as well as half of the Tangy Beef sandwich. My mom also ordered a bowl of the kale soup. Not long after ordering one of the owners came out to tell us that we had cleaned them out of soup for the day, so to make up for the lack of soup they brought us out another half Tangy Beef and a Mooffaletta.

Tangy Beef with fresh lettuce

Tangy Beef with fresh lettuce

Although we got the bottom of the soup pot, it was still delicious. For being a vegan friendly soup I was surprised at how creamy it was. Unfortunately most the mushrooms and bits of kale were tiny, but I’ll chalk that up to it being the last bowl of the day.  The tangy beef sandwich was impressive as well. It consisted of thinly sliced top round, local hydroponic lettuce, a horseradish chive cheese, horseradish sauce and a fresh pretzel bun. I have to say that the lettuce nearly stole the show from the beef. It tasted very fresh and certainly will spoil you from buying greens out of a bag again. There was just enough horseradish spread to give the sandwich flavor, but it was not overwhelming. All and all this was a light tasting, yet filling sandwich.  The Mooffaletta was certainly a heavier sandwich, but satisfying on this crisp day. It consisted of salami, ham, mortadella, mozzarella and provolone cheeses, and an olive spread. All of this was served on toasted focaccia bread from Crust and Crumb. With this list of ingredients one would really have to work hard to not make it delicious and luckily Cow and Sow didn’t. I thought the prices were reasonable given the quality and quantity of the food.

Apparently we hit Cow and Sow on one of their busiest days, but despite that service was friendly and attentive. I can’t wait to visit Cow and Sow during the summer when local vegetables are in full swing. I’m sure they will be serving up some good stuff, but until then I could go for another bowl or three of their soup.

http://www.cowandsowdeli.com/

Cow and Sow Deli on Urbanspoon

Banh Mi Ngon

10 Nov

Previously Published in the Wichita Eagle:

It used to be in order to find a Banh Mi sandwich in Wichita you had to travel to midtown, but now with the recent opening of Banh Mi Ngon things have changed. This small eatery, located at Central and Woodlawn, specializes in the delicious Vietnamese sandwich as well as serving up in-house pastries and drinks.

The dining room, if you can call it that, has the feel of a small coffee house. There are plush couches and chairs, just a few tables, and Wifi. It is a perfect space to relax, enjoy good food, and perhaps get some work done.

One of Wicita's Top Banh Mi

One of Wicita’s Top Banh Mi

The menu centers around Banh Mi, the traditional French influenced Vietnamese sandwich. There are several different sandwiches offered with meat options that include beef, chicken and pork. Each sandwich comes with jalapenos, sliced cucumber, cilantro, carrots, and Vietnamese mayonnaise. Homemade French baguette is the vessel by which all these ingredients are conveyed unto the diner. In addition, Ngon offers croissants stuffed with cream cheese or chocolate, a savory pastry called a Bird’s Nest with sausage, onion, cheese, and shredded chicken, spring rolls, and a daily special.

On our visit we ordered the traditional combination sandwich ($4.25) with ham, pork roll, and charisu pork (thinly sliced braised pork), a grilled pork sandwich ($4.25), a savory pastry ($2.49), a

Perfect Drunk Food

Perfect Drunk Food

chocolate filled croissant ($1.99), and a glass of their homemade soy milk. I was impressed with the quality and quantity of the ingredients in our sandwiches. The veggies were fresh and crisp, while the meat was tender and lean. I was especially impressed with the ham that had small pieces of pickled pig’s ear mixed in. For the less adventurous I recommend the glazed pork Banh Mi.  The sweetness of the thinly sliced pork balanced nicely with the jalapenos. The baguette was appropriately sized as to not swallow up the filling of the sandwich, and while it was high quality bread I would have liked it to be crustier. The Bird Nest pastry used the same bread as the baguette and was a delicious snack. One could make a killing selling these outside of bars at two in the morning. As for the dessert croissant, it was amazing. You really can’t go wrong with a good pastry filled with semi-sweet morsels, although it was not as flaky as I like. The homemade soy milk had a hint of ginger to it and was refreshing.

Mmmmm, Chocolate Filled Croissant

Mmmmm, Chocolate Filled Croissant

Banh Mi Ngon is a counter service restaurant and our server/cashier was very helpful in explaining the menu and offering samples. The prices were reasonable as our total meal was under $20. For those you with small children there are no high chairs, so carryout is probably your best bet.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Banh-Mi-Ngon-Vietnamese-Sandwiches/431616720290750

Kimlan Sandwiches

26 Jul

If you are a fan of Banh Mi sandwiches then you should probably go eat at Kimlan right quick. This little place is nestled on North Broadway between two of the more popular Vietnamese restaurants in town, Saigon and Little Saigon. For that reason it may get passed over as people gravitate to the better known places, but if it’s Banh Mi you are after, this is THE place.

Kimlan Combo Bahn Mi

Kimlan Combo Banh Mi

Inside the small restaurant is a plain, but clean dining room with plenty of seating for lunch hour crowds. The menu is displayed at the counter and consists of 15  Banh Mi options, plus a Lo Mein lunch special. The sandwich combinations range from the typical BBQ pork and meatball to the more unique including the headcheese and pork roll variation. The sandwiches are cheap enough with prices ranging from $3.50 to $4. Some speciality Vietnamese drinks are offered including green tea and milk tea. They also have some pre-packaged food items available for purchase. I wasn’t quite sure what most of them were, but I almost pulled the trigger on some amazing looking steamed pork buns for a take home treat.

Not Available at Subway: Headcheese and Pickled Veggies

Not Available at Subway: Headcheese and Pickled Veggies

Feeling that we could each handle a couple of Banh Mi’s, we went with four. I ordered the Kimlan Combo and the adventurous Special Combo. Steph went with the Kimlan Combo as well and the Grilled Beef. Each sandwich is accompanied by pickled carrots, jalapeno, cilantro, and cucumber on the side so you have complete control of your veggie intake.

The Kimlan Combo contained BBQ pork, meatball and pork roll( a type of Vietnamese sausage). This warm sandwich was quite exceptional with its sweet pork pieces and tender meatballs. The pork roll added another layer of porky goodness, while the veggies provided some nice crunch.  The Special Combo is special because it is probably the only sandwich in Wichita that includes headcheese, although I hear Subway might be rolling out a headcheese sandwich of the month soon. For those of you not in the know, headcheese is a cold cut that contains meat from the head of a pig or cow set in aspic. While it may not sound good to anyone who’s not French, it’s really not that bad. The Special combo also comes with ham and pork roll. It was a pretty good sandwich, but I think some Sirracha sauce would have been a good addition. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice the

Babies Love Banh Mi!

Babies Love Banh Mi!

bottle on the  counter until I had finished the sandwich. Steph and our son both enjoyed the grilled beef sandwich. The thinly sliced beef was marinated in a lemongrass-soy mixture that yielded a refreshing savory taste. Each sandwich is served on a perfectly sized loaf of fresh French bread.

Kimlan is an excellent choice for a quick and cheap lunch. Take two people, order 3 or 4 sandwiches and you will be satisfied with both the product and the price. Kimlan also has a good variety of sandwiches that will please even the most finicky or adventurous of eaters. The only complaint was the absence of high chairs. It was tough feeding an unrestrained 15 month old who was more interested in playing with the door rigged with a fire alarm.

KIMLAN Sandwiches on Urbanspoon

Moe’s Sub Shop

11 Jun

Previously Published in the Wichita Eagle:

In this day and age it is increasingly difficult to find local submarine sandwich shops amidst the established national chains. Luckily for Wichitans, Moe’s Sub Shop offers a change of pace when one is in the mood for a classic Italian sub.

Located in a small strip mall on south Hydraulic, Moe’s has been slinging out subs to devoted regulars for years.  With only a few tables, what the interior of the restaurant lacks in size it makes up for in atmosphere. An old arcade game, yellowed pennants, and assorted memorabilia give Moe’s dining area unique character.

The Ultimate Moe

The Ultimate Moe

The menu consists of several basic sub sandwiches in three different sizes, plus salads and lasagna. There are customizable options for cheeses, veggies, and condiments on all subs, including the most polarizing of all:  Miracle Whip. This was our first experience at Moe’s so the friendly sandwich engineer directed us towards the Ultimate Moe, their most popular sandwich.  I got it loaded with all the veggies, American cheese, mayo, vinegar, oil, ham, salami, and pepperoni.  We also ordered a meatball sub and smoked turkey sub. The Ultimate Moe lived up to its billing. It was packed with plenty of veggies and meat, but the bread was what really made the difference. Moe’s prides themselves on their fresh baked bread and you could certainly taste the difference. The smoked turkey sub was fine, but you might as well just

The Classic Meatball

The Classic Meatball

order the Ultimate. The meatball sub was very basic, with just provolone and parmesan cheese, but that is all it needed. A quick zap microwave allowed the bread and marinara sauce to meld into an enjoyable sandwich.

Moe’s does not serve the fanciest sandwiches in town, but if you want to enjoy a no frills, old school sub sandwich this is your place.

Moe's Sub Shop on Urbanspoon

The Monarch

17 May

For many years the term “bar food” has been used as a derogatory term conjuring up images of soggy fries and burnt hamburgers, but with the rise of the Gastropub that has started to change. It seems that people are embracing the melding of good alcohol selections and quality, upscale comfort foods and I for one couldn’t be more pleased. Wichita is slowly catching on to this trend with the likes of Public and The Anchor stepping up their game. The newest addition to

Smoke Sausage and Cheese: Not Your Typical Appetizer

Smoke Sausage and Cheese: Not Your Typical Appetizer

this restaurant genre is The Monarch, located on the traffic circle in Delano.

The interior is spacious with plenty of seating both inside and out on the patio that faces Douglas. There is plenty of local artwork adorning the walls and the light fixtures made out of old bicycle rims are quite impressive. TVs, a pool table, and an internet juke box ensure that patrons will be able to keep themselves entertained during a night of partying.

The Monarch’s menu is small and focused, which is a nice departure from some bar and grills that offer a mind numbing array of food selections. I was also quite excited to see that the menu is built around in-house smoked meats. This allows The Monarch to offer some unique dishes,  although they do offer the obligatory Wichita restaurant appetizer, hummus.  At least it’s jazzed up with peppers and served with naan bread. The other apps include decadent items such as stuffed burnt end mushrooms, loaded sweet potato tots, and a smoked sausage and cheese tray. Sandwiches are the  focus of the main course menu, but a couple of soups and salads are available as well including a hardcore chef salad that comes with ham, brisket, turkey and duck bacon. Yes, you read that correctly, duck bacon. Calling this thing a salad probably violates some USDA guidelines, but I’m not going to turn them in for creating such a thing of beauty.

Not An Ordinary Brisket Sandwich

Not An Ordinary Brisket Sandwich

To start off our meal we ordered the sausage and cheese tray. I really wanted to order the stuffed ‘shrooms, but I was outvoted at our table. The tray included two types of sausage, cheddar and mozzarella cheese, and naan bread. The sausages were high quality with a good smoked flavor. I would have liked to see more exotic cheese selections, but overall it was a good appetizer. For our main dishes we were faced with several tantalizing sandwich choices, but eventually we decided on the The Monarch and Chicken Caprese. I went with a side of homemade potato chips and Steph ordered the sweet potato tots. The Monarch featured smoked brisket, sautéed onions and peppers, and provolone cheese served on a tasty baguette. The brisket was nicely done with good smoke flavor and fairly tender. Overall I really liked the sandwich, it was nice change from your typical brisket sandwich that consists of two slabs of white bread and BBQ sauce. Steph’s Caprese sandwich was an impressive combination of smoked chicken, pesto, tomatoes, and provolone. Oftentimes it is hard to keep a smoked meat like chicken moist for very long, but The Monarch did  a nice job of pulling it off. The homemade potato chips were spot on and the sweet potato tots were solid as well.

The Monarch is a nice addition to the Wichita dining scene, especially since they are one of the few places you can get good food late at night. Its unique, yet unpretentious food menu makes it an attractive place for causal American dining options. The only real issue was the fact they did not have any high chairs. I know its supposed to be a trendy bar and grill place, but you could at least have a high chair for those terrible parents such as myself who have no qualms taking their children to bars, albeit at reasonable hours of the day. Perhaps they could commission a local artists to make some out of old PBR cans?

The Monarch on Urbanspoon

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