Taste and See started off with humble beginnings tucked inside of the old Wichita Mall on East Harry. At this outpost Chef Jason Febres made a name for himself with his open kitchen restaurant design, creative South American fusion cuisine, and elaborate intimate dinners. I had my doubts whether such an audacious venture would be able to sustain itself in South Wichita, but things appear do be going well since there is now a Taste and See in Old Town as well as at McConnell. Since the opening last year of Taste and See The Restaurant in Old Town, the original building is now known as the Venue where cooking classes, private dining, and special events are held.
The Old Town location offers a large and open dining area with less emphasis on the whole stadium kitchen concept that was prevalent at the original location. There is still a large projector screen although it was turned off on our visit. The interior is decorated with vibrant colors and plenty of pictures of food porn.
Taste and See bills itself as serving global cuisine and the menu certainly backs that up. The dinner menu features everything from pho to steak and potatoes making it one of the more eclectic and trendy you will find in Wichita. If you are looking for an upscale dining adventure this is the place to come, if you
want plain old chicken fingers look elsewhere. So many of the dishes looked great; from the Chicken and Waffles to the Duck Pad Thai, but ultimately we opted to do some tapas.
Tapas, a wonderful Spanish invention, are simply small appetizer dishes that are shared amongst the group. Usually several different tapas are enough to make a meal. Traditionally in Spain the tapas are free as long as you are ordering alcohol, unfortunately that has not caught on in the US. Taste and See has a long list of tapas options and we had difficulty narrowing it down to four. After some thought we ordered a ceviche cocktail, dates mignon, duck springrolls, and the fromaggio and prosciutto plate.
Our first dish was the eye grabbing ceviche, which came out in a martini glass. Instead of the typical tortilla chips, fried plantains were used as dipping devices. The plantains were non-greasy, had plenty of crunch, and provided a neutral base for enjoying the ceviche. The ceviche itself was a solid effort. Chickpeas added another
texture dimension to what was otherwise your typical ceviche with shrimp, cilantro, avocado, and lime. Next out were the Dates Mignon and at the risk of sounding blasphemous I would put them up against their beef counterparts any day. The warm and tender dates were wrapped in a sweet and salty blanket of pancetta, goat cheese, and a balsamic glaze to create a pleasurable experience in your mouth. The fromaggio and prosciutto tray consisted of five different types of cheese, strawberries, mango, a date, buttery toast points, a bit of prosciutto, and sweet sauce drizzled across the plate. The cheese types consisted of feta, goat cheese, Gorgonzola, and Gouda I believe. While each was good, I was hoping for some more exotic selections. The best combination we found was spreading goat cheese on the toast and then soaking
up some the syrup with the toast as well. I did wish that more than two slices of prosciutto came with the meal, but then again I can never get enough dry-cured pig. Our last tapa were the dusk spring rolls, which proved to be a nice riff on a traditional Asian treat. The thinly sliced duck went well with the crisp veggies and herbs. The peanut dipping sauce was underwhelming, but the sweet and spicy orange sauce was a great foil to the cooling spring roll.
Taste and See offers a somewhat daunting selection of upscale fusion food, but it’s nice place for people to experience new flavor combinations. The restaurant is also one of the more vegetarian and vegan friendly places in town.