4/27/12 After months of rumors Gaslamp Grille has closed. A sad end to what was initially a great fine dining restuarant.
NOTE: Much to my dismay, Gaslamp has dramatically changed its menu around and no longer offers some of the more upscale options we mention in the following review.
Words to live by: A special celebration deserves a special restaurant. For Steph’s birthday we decided to splurge a bit and go to one of Wichita’s fine dining establishments. We picked the Gaslamp Grille because it is relatively new and we had not heard much about it. Gaslamp is located in the old Shadow Lounge at Rock and Central. The owners did a considerable amount of remodeling to transform the space into a classy, upscale place. As you walk into the lounge area you are met by a large wrap around bar with a giant fish tank in the middle. The main dining room is spacious and there appeared to be a second level as well as outdoor seating. All in all a big place.
I had glanced at the menu several times online and was rather intrigued with what I saw. Luckily the menu we were handed was not very far from the online version. Although it was small, it packed a culinary punch that is not seen too often in Wichita. We recently traveled to France and fell in love with the cuisine there. Gaslamp is the best place we have found locally that offers some French influenced dishes. For appetizers they offer escargot, fondue, and pork belly. Main dishes include salmon confit and braised duck breast. We were intrigued by the pork belly with port cherry sorbet and decided to go with it as our appetizer. When it was served there was some alarm on our part because our piece of pork belly was about 1 x1 inch. Rather small for two people. It was delicious though as was the sorbet that accompanied it, if we could have had a bit more pork belly it would have been perfect. All menu items are served a la carte so we hoped that the portion sizes would better than what we had just had as an appetizer. We were both drawn to the braised duck breast, since both of us had wonderful duck in Paris and have been looking for some local place that serves it. Since Steph was the birthday girl I let her order it and I went with the apple bourbon pork chop(surprise surprise I ordered pork). I took a calculated risk ordering the pork chop because I knew that things could go terribly wrong, but I had faith that the Gaslamp would know how to cook pork.
When our food was served I was delighted to see that it was a pork rib chop, which is the Cadillac of pork chops because it contains a nice 2 inch thick center-cut pork loin as well as a back rib. I anxiously cut into the chop to find out what we were dealing with and sure enough it was cooked just right. I would say the internal temp was about 145 degrees which is how you should serve a nice cut of pork. The mushroom pan sauce was great with the pork as were the potatoes au gratin. All in all this was one of the best pork chops I have ever had. Steph’s duck breast was delicious as well, although not on the same level as those severed in Paris. The fruit gnocchi and poached pear were a great accompaniment to the duck. We were both pleased to see that our entrees were of decent portion size. For dessert that night they were offering a goat cheese cheesecake, their signature Gran Marnier pot du creme, and mint chocolate dipped bacon. The fact that they offered chocolate bacon made me want to cry sweet, bacony tears of joy. Steph had her heart set on the cheesecake and unfortunately they had just sold out of it so we decided to pass on dessert at the Gaslamp. One last note about the Gaslamp is the fact that they dry age their rib-eye steaks in-house, which is very impressive. You can either order the 28 or 55 day aged steak. Next time I am going to hit that up.
It is safe to say that the Gaslamp has quickly become our favorite fine dining destination in Wichita. They have the perfect combination of unique, masterfully prepared food, ambiance, and top-notch service that one would expect to find at an upscale restaurant. Make no mistake you will pay a premium for your meal, but you will have the opportunity to enjoy food in a way that you have probably never experienced in Wichita.
On a side note, if anyone knows of a place in Wichita to get a good duck breast I would like to know.