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AVI Seabar and Chophouse

23 Jul

Tucked away inside the newly remodeled Broadview Hotel at Douglas and Waco is AVI Seabar and Chophouse. Although this upscale eatery has only been open since late last year it has already undergone a menu revamp, received mixed reviews, and been subject to rumors of closure.

Refreshing Cocktails

The interior of AVI can be described as modern industrial perhaps? High ceilings and exposed duct work is fashionable these days. A large fireplace in the center adds a hominess feeling to the restaurant. Although there were plenty of tables available on the main level, Steph and I were taken to the more intimate second story for some private dining.

Since it was a special occasion we decided to kick off the meal with some $8 cocktails. Steph ordered the Orange Julius while I opted for the Mint Julep. Both drinks were quite refreshing and contained a decent amount of alcohol.

The menu covers all the typical bases with salads, sandwiches, steaks, seafood, as well as some poultry and pork dishes. Some of the highlights include a cheese and charcuterie platter(this may be the only restaurant in town that has sweet, delicious charcuterie on the menu), a croque monsieur sandwich, a smoked duck

The Extravagant Salmon Wrapped Scallops

breast, and salmon belly wrapped scallops. I was pleased to see that some actual French inspired dishes were on this menu. If there is one cuisine type that Wichita is really lacking in, it would be classic French. While most dishes will run you about $15-$30 there are several in the $8-$15 range. Since AVI is billed as a seafood and steak place, we figured we should at least try one on these proteins, so Steph went with the extravagantly named Salmon Belly Wrapped Diver Scallops. Once I saw that a smoked duck breast was on the menu that was the end of the decision making process for me. Duck breast is one of my favorite splurge dishes since it is a meat that is difficult to obtain fresh around here, unless I take up duck hunting.  The scallops were served with creamed spinach and “griddle potatoes”, while the duck came with roasted asparagus and a parsnip puree.

Duck Breast: Overcooked, But Still Delicious

While waiting for the meal, some homemade roasted garlic bread was brought to our table. Whole cloves of garlic baked into the loaf made it an impressive pre-dinner bread offering. Both of our main dishes received high marks for presentation, although I immediately noticed that my duck was overcooked. Due to the low fat content of duck it really shouldn’t be cooked past medium rare, but this breast looked to be on the high end of medium. Despite this error, it still tasted wonderful. The meat was tender, the skin delightfully fatty, and the smoky, sweet flavor was perfect. Bonus points to AVI for using apple wood to smoke the duck. The asparagus and puree parsnips were good as well, although a larger portion would have been nice. The parsnips tasted very similar to mashed potatoes. Luckily the scallops did not suffer the same fate as the duck, they were cooked perfectly. The tender salmon belly was a good accompaniment for the scallops. While we were not impressed with the griddle potatoes, the richness of the creamed spinach complimented the delicate scallops nicely.

Overall our experience at AVI was positive. We did not have any problems with the service like some have complained about in the past. Hopefully they have smoothed out the operation and will be able to remain in business. When looking for a special occasion restaurant keep AVI in mind.

AVI Seabar & Chophouse on Urbanspoon

The Hereford House – Andover KS

25 Nov

For my birthday I decided the family would eat high on the hog or in the case of the Hereford House it would be upper-middle of the cow. I talk of that magical area on the cow where the succulent ribeye cut comes from. The Hereford House has long been a KC mainstay with several locations in the metro area, although the original downtown location mysteriously burned to the ground a few years ago. The owners recently allowed a third-party to buy the name and open a location in of all places Andover. It is located in the opulent and sizable Terradyne Country Clubhouse. Due to the layout of the clubhouse there is a decent walk between the parking lot and the entrance. If you are lucky you can get a ride in the golf cart shuttle. Just make sure you keep your hands and feet inside the cart at all times. The decor of the restaurant has a western theme to it, yet still remains upscale. Large windows make up the north side of the dining area allowing you a glimpse of the golf course. While you enjoy a nice medium rare filet, you can watch the poor guy who has just lost his 20th ball due to the unforgiving links style nonsense of the golf course.

Alright, so if you go to the Hereford House you should probably order a steak, because that is what they are known for. As a recovering Filet Mignon addict I decided not to tempt fate and went with the ribeye (medium rare of course).  It had a great flavor and was cooked to perfection. My only gripes about the restaurant are the fact that their side dishes are rather underwhelming and their steak is about $5-10 more than it should be. My mashed potatoes were rather lacking, they came with no gravy and were devoid of any seasoning. Steph was also upset that they were no longer offering what was probably their best side dish, mashed sweet potatoes. I won’t dwell on their deliciousness since they can no longer be enjoyed here.

So the HH serves a good steak, but I would not say it is a life changing experience like some steaks can be. The high price makes it a tough place to visit often, but if you were ever in need of a date night location, the HH would be sure to impress. To put the HH in perspective I would rank it maybe a touch above the Scotch and Chesters, but they are all very close. Remember, if anyone should ask you where they can find the best steak around here,  tell them to drive to OKC or Omaha. It’s worth the extra driving time.

Hereford House on Urbanspoon


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