Meddys

18 Feb

Opening a new Mediterranean/Lebanese restaurant is a brave endeavour in a town that is supersaturated with hummus and shawarma. The folks here know how they like their falafel and fattoush so you better be able to do it right and maybe offer a new twist. And that is exactly what the recently opened Meddys has done at Harry and Rock Road.

Delightful Falafel Wrap

Delightful Falafel Wrap

Meddys offers a quick service concept not seen in the local Mediterranean dining scene before. Yes, it’s the closest thing to drive thru hummus you will find and probably some of the best fast food around. The menu has been kept fairly simple to expedite the process, but all of the popular Mediterranean dishes are featured. There are shawarma, falafel, kefta, salmon, and vegetarian wraps for the main dishes. Fattoush salad, hummus, eggplant, and tomato soup are a few of the sides offered. The interior has plenty of seating and one of those fancy touch screen pop machines where you can spend 5 minutes getting your drink.

On our visit we opted to try a beef shawarma sandwich, a falafel sandwich, and a cup of tomato soup. We also ordered the grilled chicken kids meal for our son. The service was quick and after only a short wait all our food had been delivered. The beef shawarma was a flavorful offering that featured a nice combination of ingredients. Besides the tender and well seasoned beef, the wrap had marinated onions, tomatoes, and a liberal amount of tahini sauce. The falafel wrap proved to be another delightful choice. The falafel, which are fried patties of ground garbonzos, lentils. and

Beef Shawarma

Beef Shawarma

seasonings, could have easily been eaten on its own, but in wrap form it was even better. It featured pickled turnips, fresh parsley, tomatoes, and tahini sauce. Meddys offers several house made sauces next to the drink machine to utilize on your food. They include a sriracha mayo, garlic sauce, and more tahini sauce. My favorite was the sriracha mayo, but our wraps were tasty enough to not require much saucing. The tomato

Decadent Tomato Bisque

Decadent Tomato Bisque

bisque was a decadent bowl of goodness. With that much heavy cream it’s hard to go wrong. As far as kids meals go, the grilled chicken kabobs and fries were pretty good despite the chicken being dry. Our son actually ate a few pieces of the well seasoned meat.

Meddys seems to have found a good niche that was missing from the Wichita dining scene. They are able to serve up fast and flavorful ethnic meals that provide a change of pace from other restaurants.

Meddys on Urbanspoon

Lou’s Charcuteria

30 Jan

They had me a Charcuterie. I admit I have an affinity for salted and cured meats, or as the French call it, charcuterie. Proper charcuterie is an art  form that dates back to the very beginnings of civilization. Unfortunately due to FDA/USDA regulations it is tough to find much in the way of traditional dry cured meats here in the US, thus not many restaurants offer good charcuterie menu options. Luckily Wichita has added two restaurants in the past several months that offer some fairly legitimate charcuterie. The newest of those is Lou’s Charcuteria.

Succulent Roast Pork

Succulent Roast Pork

Lou’s is located in the shadow of Intrust Bank Arena directly to the north on Commerce street.  This makes getting to the restaurant and finding parking somewhat tricky, especially when there is an event at IBA. The interior at Lou’s is quite impressive, although as I understand not much was changed from the previous tenets, Walkers Bar and Grill. Ample use of wood gives it a warm feel and a tall table in the center makes it a good place for mingling over appetizers and drinks. There was also a lovely picture of a pig on the wall and I strongly approve of pig based decor.

Our visit here was later in the evening and a KU game just happened to be winding down. For that reason we had to endure Brent Musburger blaring over the speaker system at a ridiculously loud level. After the game I figured there might be a respite in the noise level, but they just turned on a Pandora station although not as loud. I assume the music isn’t typically that loud and will just write it off as a consequence of dining at 10 pm on a Saturday.

Plate Full O' Charc

Plate Full O’ Charc

They were running a tapas bar that night, but unfortunately were in the process of shutting it down so our waitress suggested ordering off the menu. Like any good beer snob I had to peruse the drink menu first of all and was pleased to find a nice offering of beers both on tap and bottled. As far as the food menu goes, it is short and sweet. They have several sandwiches to choose from as well as two charcuterie board options. To get the best of both worlds we went with their most popular sandwich, the Venezuelan roasted pork and a charcuterie board.

The roasted pork sandwich featured pork shoulder, chimichurri sauce, cojita cheese, and garlic aioli on a nice crusty baguette.  The pork was tender and succulent with mild seasoning, but it seemed like the aioli dominated too much. I would have liked more chimichurri sauce to bring out additional flavors. The chips that were served with the sandwich were nothing special, but edible. The charcuterie board was an impressive array of bread, crackers, cured meats, pickled vegetables, olives, and various sauces. The meats were a mix of fresh, wet cured, and dry cured pork based sausages and ham. Both hams are made in-house and were quite good. The hard cured chorizo was a delightful melding of meat and fat. The only disappointment was the slightly overcooked fresh sausage. The homemade coarse mustard went very well with the meats as did the pickled onion and peppers. The deviled eggs were a nice touch and much better than most. Oddly the only thing missing from the plate was a selection cheeses, which are usually a staple of charcuterie boards. Perhaps the chef was all cheesed out after a long shift.

I was impressed with the quality and uniqueness of the food at Lou’s. Although the menu is small it allows them to focus on putting out good products. The atmosphere is perfect for an evening out with a large group or pre-partying before the next [insert any country artist] show at The IBA. I hope that Lou’s location won’t be a detriment and that Wichitans will flock there for their delicious cured meats.

 

 

 

Auntie Mae’s Cafe East

12 Jan

I find that American diner food can be really hit or miss. Since most of the dishes served at these places are simple comfort foods it all comes down to how they are prepared and presented that really makes a difference between a mediocre meal and a delightful taste of Americana.

Egg Salad with Chicken

Egg Salad with Chicken Sandwich

Auntie Mae’s Cafe, originally opened up at Central and Tyler several years ago and recently they expanded to an eastside location tucked away on the northeast corner of Harry and Webb. The new location was the home of a previous diner, so not many changes were needed outside or in. The interior is done up in classic 50s style with vinyl red and white booths. Assorted memorabilia adorn the walls reminding you of the good ole days. The only thing that seems out of place are the flat screen TVs, one of which appeared to play a continuous loop of  Auntie Mae’s commercials, just in case you needed further reinforcement to continue your dining experience here.

The menu at Auntie Mae’s is a greatest hits of classic diner food. There are breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes from pancakes to burgers to chicken fried steak. They even sneaked a few salads onto the menu for those looking for something a bit lighter. Although their specialties are a cinnamon roll the size of a small child and chicken fried steak, after our holiday feasting we were looking for something not quite as heavy on our visit. They had several intriguing sandwiches and we ending up ordering a chicken salad sandwich and Michael’s Caramel Glazed Turkey.

Caramel Glazed Turkey Sandwich

Caramel Glazed Turkey Sandwich

The restaurant appeared to be moderately busy on this particular Sunday afternoon, but we ended up waiting nearly 45 minutes for our food to appear. Steph reported that the chicken salad was more like egg salad with some chicken mixed in. There was also a lack of grapes in the salad, which were mentioned on the menu description. While the sandwich wasn’t a total disaster, it wasn’t anything we would want to order again. My caramel glazed turkey sandwich was underwhelming as well. It was just chopped turkey with some shredded cheese and a small bit of caramelized onion. The single lettuce leaf and raw white onion on the side was a feeble attempt at a garnish I guess. The turkey was moist and flavorful, but it was not enough to save this sandwich from mediocrity. We both received large baskets of fries with our sandwiches, but for some reason only half of them were crispy. Those that were properly cooked were nice thick cut fries. Our sons mac and cheese looked and tasted very similar to something that came out of a box. One person in our group did order the chicken fried steak and reported that it was good. The portion sizes are large at Auntie Mae’s so there will be plenty of food to go around.

The long wait time and mediocre food were quite disappointing, but perhaps were ordered the wrong items. Maybe we needed to get a burger, or pancakes or one of the colossal cinnamon rolls, but after our first experience it will be hard to go back anytime soon. They did help us recover a toy that had fallen between the booths, so they get some points for customer service.

 

Auntie Mae's Cafe East on Urbanspoon

Dempsey’s Burger Pub

28 Dec

Dempsey’s Burger Pub is Wichita’s newest addition to the upscale hamburger restaurant category. For those familiar with Lawrence, Dempsey’s is an offshoot of the popular restaurant of the same name there. The Wichita location is part of the compact Clifton Square shopping center, which means parking can be tricky during peak hours.

Like most of the buildings in Clifton Square, Dempsey’s is small, but does offer two levels of dining. The open kitchen is located on the top level with a few tables, while the bar is downstairs with additional seating.

Mushroom Swiss Burger with Sweet Potato Fries

Mushroom Swiss Burger with Sweet Potato Fries

The menu features all things burgers and not just ones made out of beef. Besides offering mushroom swiss, fried egg, or pepper hamburgers, there is salmon, portabella mushroom, and even a quinoa patty that sounded like it wouldn’t be too bad. No upscale burger joint would be complete without the mandatory Kobe beef burger of which Dempsey’s has two. In my opinion “Kobe beef” is just a reason to add another dollar or two to the price. It’s not real Kobe beef from Japan and probably just comes from US raised Wagyu cattle, so there is really not going to be a huge taste difference especially in ground form. French fries are sold separately from the burgers and come with your choice of several different house made dipping sauces. Since nothing goes better with a hamburger than a cold beer, Dempsey’s offers a very good selection of craft beers both on tap and in bottles.

We visited during a fairly busy lunch time crowd, but were promptly seated. Unfortunately we were forgotten for  about ten minutes before a waitress came over to take our order. There seemed to be quite a bit of chaos amongst the servers and staff. I noticed several orders that were sent back to the kitchen. We had plenty of time to decide on what we wanted to eat and drink. I went with the mushroom swiss, while my mom had the bleu burger. We also got a side order of sweet potato fries. As for beer, I went with Warbeard Red, a local offering from Walnut River that is not available at many places in town.

So Many Sauces

So Many Sauces

Both of our burgers were ordered medium rare, which I typically am not afraid to do at a nicer place because of the hopefully better quality of meat and the fact that usually burgers are overcooked anyway. I was very pleased to see our large meat disks were cooked to perfection, with a nice pink center. The mushroom swiss burger came with generous amounts of cheese, bacon, and mushrooms piled onto a thick, half pound patty. The only complaint is that the beef was just a touch under-seasoned, but that did not keep this from being a very good burger.

Evidence of a Properly Cooked Burger

Evidence of a Properly Cooked Burger

The bleu burger was solid as well. It came with plenty of melted bleu cheese, bacon, and sauteed onions. At $8.50 and $9 dollars these burgers are on the high end, especially not coming with any side, but they are large and will easily satisfy most appetites. The sweet potatoes fries were a good effort, but nothing exceptional. As for the various dipping sauces, my favorites were the chili powder based ketchup, and the truffle cream. Our waitress was very apologetic about our wait and ended up comping our beers, thus redeeming the customer service experience somewhat.

We tried Dempsey’s just two weeks after they had opened, so I understand the rough service to some extent. Hopefully they will get their issues figured out, because if there is one thing Wichitans will not tolerate it’s poor service. Dempsey’s serves up very good burgers and should be given a try by all those discerning burgerphiles out there.

Dempsey's Burger Pub on Urbanspoon

Fork and Fennel (Vive la France!)

5 Dec

Wichita and I have waited a long time for a restaurant concept such as Fork and Fennel’s to come along. When I heard that the owner of The Anchor and Douglas Ave Chop Shop was behind it, I expected good things.  The combination of a trendy French inspired menu, good craft beer selection, relaxed atmosphere, and emphasis on quality locally raised products make this a unique establishment and the perfect place to celebrate my birthday or yours.

Shrimp in Trendy Pickled Form

Shrimp in Trendy Pickled Form

Fork and Fennel is located on east Douglas in what was once a Taco Tico. Although the building still retains some of its Southwestern architecture, the inside has been completely redone with a nice modern feel to it. They even put a small bar in the front for those who want to watch their fancy cocktails being made.

The drink menu features several unique cocktails, a nice selection of bottled craft beer, and limited and seasonal release beers on tap. I sampled a couple of delicious brews, including a 10% beast from O’Dell called Dr. Acula.

The food menu is small, but packs a rustic French punch. The highlights are Coq au Vin, pork and beef steaks featuring locally raised meat, roasted bone marrow, charcuterie and cheese plates, a burger with pork belly, and sandwiches featuring cured meats.

The Crusty Italian: Delicious Cured Sausage and Baguette

The Crusty Italian: Delicious Cured Sausage and Baguette

Unfortunately on the night we visited they had a plumbing issue earlier in the day that prevented some menu items from being available, namely two of the dishes I had my eye on, the Coq au vin and bone marrow. Nevertheless we still had difficulty making our selections, so we ended up ordering the fennel salad, charcuterie plate, Crusty Italian, and the pickled shrimp.

The fennel salad was a light dish that featured grilled fennel on a bed of lettuce and herbs with lemon zest and Italian cheese. Fennel can be a strong and pungent vegetable, but in its grilled form it was very palatable. One of the more popular culinary trends currently is pickling, and Fork and Fennel’s effort involves whole shrimp that have been lightly pickled with lemons and herbs. I was disappointed the dish did not have as much pickled goodness as I had hoped. Instead of a salty and briny taste, it was more of a subtle citrus flavor. The Crusty Italian was a simple sandwich with several kinds of cured meat, cheese, eggplant spread, and lettuce. The sausage stole the show on this delicious sandwich as it should have. Some homemade potato chips were served on the side, but lacked much in the way of seasoning.

Authentic Charcuterie: Happy Birthday to Me

Authentic Charcuterie: Happy Birthday to Me

The highlight of our meal was the hardcore charcuterie plate. Included on the platter were ample servings of four cured meats, lardo, pate, pickled cauliflower, and some crusty bread. Each of the cured pork products were outstanding, the best being a fennel sausage. I believe that Fork and Fennel sources some of their charcuterie products from one of few places in the country that dry cures meats nowadays, La Quercia. The lardo, which is cured pig fat, was a rich and decadent treat spread over a piece of baguette.  Equally pleasing was the pate, which is hard to find around here. While many people find it disagreeable, I am down with it in all its pasty goodness.

I was happy to find that Fork and Fennel had lived up to everything I had hoped it would. It certainly fills a void in the Wichita dining scene and offers patrons the opportunity to experience some new flavors. While the prices are a bit on the higher side, you are paying for quality ingredients. One of the downsides is the small kitchen area, which limits how much food can be produced each night, so some of the more popular dishes are prone to being sold out. If you are looking for the closest thing to classical French cooking Wichita has to offer, go to Fork and Fennel order a craft beer and a charcuterie plate and thank me later.

Fork and Fennel on Urbanspoon

Emperor’s Japanese Grill

21 Nov

When it comes to Americanized Japanese/Asian food Emperor’s Japanese Grill has it covered. Their three locations offer quick, made to order dishes that can be enjoyed by dining in or carrying out.  We visited the east side location at Central and Greenwich for lunch. The other two locations are out on the west side.

Hibachi with Calamari

Hibachi with Calamari

The menu at Emperor’s is not just relegated to Japanese style dishes, in fact most of the options are more Chineseque in my opinion. The main features of the menu are the teriyaki and Hibachi stir fry dishes. You can choose your meat or seafood and most meals come with a drink and fried rice. There is also Lo Mein, sweet and sour chicken, fried rice options, broccoli stir fry, egg rolls, and crab rangoon. The prices and quantity of food are reasonable with meals ranging from $5 to $14. It appeared from watching the open cooking area that each dish is prepared to order on their large flat top grill.

On our visit we ordered the Hibachi grill with calamari, the Chef’s Special stir fry with shrimp, and a couple of crab rangoon. We noticed a small fridge located next to the counter that contained small plastic tubs of several different sauces. We grabbed a ginger, sweet and sour, and spicy mustard  just in case our food needed some help.

The crab rangoon were fresh, tasty, and stacked up well with other versions in town. The sweet and sour sauce was very good and added the right amount of sweetness and heat. We were less impressed with the Hibachi with calamari. While the veggies and calamari were cooked properly, the sauce was weak and the dish was bland. Luckily the garlic and spicy mustard sauces we had procured earlier amped up the food. The fried rice that came with the stir fry was fine, but nothing spectacular. The Chef’s Special was much better, although the shrimp were few and far between. The slightly sour sauce went nicely with the stir fried cabbage and carrots.

Chefs Special with Shrimp

Chefs Special with Shrimp

While we were not blown away by Emperor’s offerings, their made to order menu is certainly better than something that has been sitting in a warning tray for hours. If you are in a hurry and need an Asian fix, this is a suitable option.

Emperor's Japanese Grill East on Urbanspoon11330 E Central Ave
Wichita, KS 67206

Gorditas Durango

24 Oct

When I am in the mood for a new authentic Mexican restaurant, I always start my search in the north-central part of town. The area bounded by Waco, 9th, Broadway, and 29th streets holds a treasure trove of street tacos, menudo, mole, and salsas just waiting to be consumed. My target on this day was Gorditas Durango, a eatery located on 13th just across the street from North High.

A Solid Al Pastor Burrito

A Solid Al Pastor Burrito

Gorditas Durango is a cozy place with limited seating especially during lunch time. All the ordering is done at the counter, but the menu is fairly brief and has pictures to assist you. Included are tacos, gorditas, burritos, sopes, enchiladas, as well as a basic hamburger. There are several different meats to choose from including carne asada, al pastor, barbacoa, and chicharron. Everything is very inexpensive with most items under $5.

Carne Asada and Chicharron Gorditas

Carne Asada and Chicharron Gorditas

On our visit we created our own sampler platter that included an al pastor burrito, a rajas and queso(peppers and cheese) sope, a barbacoa taco, a carne asada gordita, and a chicharron gordita. It seemed like a lot of food, especially after it took multiple trips by the waitress to deliver it, but everything sounded so delicious it was hard to narrow down. The great thing was it only cost $15.

The burrito was filled with a generous serving of al pastor pork as well as beans and cheese. On top was melted cheese, salsa, and cilantro. This burrito was very filling and good, but I thought the al pastor was not quite as tasty as what you can find at other places in town. The barbacoa taco was served in the traidtional manner with a couple corn tortillas, onions, and cilantro. The barbacoa itself was top notch as it was tender and flavorful. The gorditas were simple soft corn pouches filled with meat, cheese, onion, and cilantro. The carne asada filling was alright, but nothing spectacular. The chicharron on the other hand was amazing. Instead of the typical fried method, this pork skin had been slow cooked with some spices and chiles until it was rendered into tender bits of deliciousness. The richness of the pork fat and the subtle heat from the chiles

Top Notch Sope

Top Notch Sope

made me want to take a vat of this stuff home with me. Most sopes suffer from being a dense cake of corn dough, but not at Gorditas Durango. Their version is a light and crispy disk that provides an excellent way to convey the rajas and queso topping. The peppers were slow roasted and mixed with more of their white melting cheese to create a very flavorful dish. Lettuce, tomato, guac, and sour cream added more flavors to the party. This was the best sope I have had in town. A large bowl of roasted  salsa verde came with our meal. Although it was spicy, I found myself putting a little dash onto much of my food. To round out our meal we shared a large cup of homemade cinnamony Horchata.

Lke many places, Gorditas Durango has some hit and miss dishes, but in this case the chicharron gordita and rajas sope make it worth a trip down 13th street. The next time you crave authentic Mexican food Gorditas Durango should be on your short list.

 

 

 

Gorditas Durango on Urbanspoon

2014 Wichita Restaurant Week Sneak Peek: Reverie Coffee Roasters

8 Oct

WichitaRestaurantWeekLogoFinal2014The annual Wichita Restaurant Week starts on Friday and looks to build upon the success of the inaugural 2013 event. With over 20 restaurants and specialty food stores participating, there is a wide range of opportunities to get out and experience some great local food and support a worthy cause as well.

Restaurant Week will run from October 10th through the 19th and features prix fixe meals of $10, $20, and $40. Each restaurant has a specific menu or special that they will be serving throughout the week. All you have to do is go to a participating business and ask for the Restaurant Week special. As an added bonus 10% of sales will be donated to the Boys and Girls Club of South Central Kansas. Last year the event helped to raise over $7,000 and this year organizers are confident that much more will be raised. For a complete list of participating restaurants and specialty stores as well as their menus check out this site:

http://wichitarestaurantweek.com/

Fresh Ground Beans are Ready to be Brewed

Fresh Ground Beans are Ready to be Brewed

This week I was treated to a special preview of Reverie Coffee Roasters courtesy of Go Wichita. In the interest of full disclosure, I am not a coffee drinker and I know very little about the process of producing a good brew, but after my experience at Reverie that may change. This coffee shop opened up on Douglas just east of Grove in the summer of 2013 and has developed a passionate fan base one mug at a time. Calling Reverie a “coffee shop” seems a bit misleading though, it’s more like a craft coffee shop/classroom/community center. They roast their own beans that are sourced from all over the world, sell their own specialty blends, distribute coffee all over the state, and offer live music and other events throughout the week. For someone not familiar with the coffee world this is a perfect place to go and learn, from the eager employees, the steps that are involved in a top notch brew.

During restaurant week Reverie is offering a $10 Solo or a $20 Dopio experience. The Solo is designed for 1 person, while the Dopio is for 2. Both offer a complete coffee experience that includes a 2 oz shot of espresso, a handmade pour over featuring their newest Honduran coffee variety, sparkling mineral water for palate cleansing, and a locally baked pastry. The added bonus is getting to watch the barista make your cup of coffee. It was after this I understood these guys are like the Walter White of the coffee world. A large beaker was procured, beans were ground, words like “chemex” were thrown around, there was taring involved, and 10 minutes later we had an impressive cup of coffee.

The Perfect Brew

The Perfect Brew

We started our tasting out with the shot of espresso. The flavors were complex, much like a good beer. It started out with a strong roasted flavor with hints of tartness that gave way to an almost citrusy finish. Paired with a pumpkin spice pastry from Twisted Confections, additional flavor depth was reached by alternating bites of pastry and sips of espresso. The sparkling mineral water did an impressive job of resetting the palate between sips of espresso. The Honduran coffee was much smoother, yet proved to have just as complex of flavors. It was interesting to note how much the flavor profile changed as the coffee cooled. There was also a slight peat/earthy flavor to the finish of the Honduran beans. The cranberry scone was a nice complement as it was not overly sweet. It was clear, even to a rookie such as myself, that this coffee was top notch.

I found Reverie to be a very unique establishment that is welcoming to both hardcore caffeine addicts and relative newbies alike. The baristas are there to help you find your unique coffee of choice and educate you along the way. With Reverie, the slow coffee or third wave movement is alive and well in Wichita.

The Dopio Experience

The Dopio Experience

Krispy’s Fried Chicken and Seafood(It’s All About the Chicken and Waffles)

19 Sep

If there’s one thing that will keep me motivated on a 20 mile run it’s the thought of enjoying a plate of chicken and waffles afterwards. Until recently it was hard to find this opulent soul food combination in Wichita, but Krispy’s Fried Chicken and Seafood has changed that. This small restaurant is located on south Hillside just north of 31st St and specializes in a simple menu full of fried goodness.

Sadly many people are not familiar with or are turned off at the notion of feasting on fried chicken and waffles served together in a magical syrupy harmony. Let me tell you, it is a wondrous mix of sweet and savory that pleases the soul. The combination of a quality waffle, crispy fried bone-in chicken, and syrup is tough to beat when you are looking to splurge.

Syrupy Soul Food

Syrupy Soul Food

Krispy’s has a small interior with only a few tables and on our visit it seemed like they did more carryout business than dine-in. The main feature of the menu is of course the fried chicken that is available in 2 piece to 24 piece options. Chicken and waffle combos, tenders, fried steak, hot wings, and gizzards round out the poultry offerings. As the “Seafood” part in their name implies they serve fried shrimp and catfish as well as sides that include fries, O-rings, okra, mashed potatoes, and a salad that looks terribly out of place on this menu and probably isn’t a top seller. For dessert there is ice cream and brownie bites, both in fried form. The prices at Krispy’s are rock bottom with two pieces of chicken and a waffle costing about $4. You can buy the 24 piece meal for $27.

On our visit, we ordered two chicken and waffle meals, a side of sweet potato fries, and

Crispy Sweet Potato Fries

Crispy Sweet Potato Fries

a banana waffle for a our son. The sweet potato fries were average, while crisp they lacked any seasoning. The banana waffle on the other hand was quite delicious. It had a slightly crunchy exterior and great banana flavor. Of course the chicken and waffle meal was the highlight of our lunch. The fried chicken was tasty. The breading was not overly seasoned or greasy, while the meat remained moist. The waffle was delicious as well with a slightly cinnamon flavor. With a packet of syrup drizzled over both the chicken and the waffle it was the perfect combination of salty and sweet soul food.

Krispy’s fills a much needed void for a local fried chicken place. While their menu is nothing fancy they do a good job serving solid and affordable comfort food.

 

Krispy’s Fried Chicken & Seafood on Urbanspoon

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.

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