Chow Town

Two Kansas City restaurants named to Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 list for wine, food

Two Kansas City restaurants have joined some of the most famous restaurants in the country on a prestigious list — the Top 100 Wine Restaurants as named by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

Tannin Wine Bar & Kitchen and The Antler Room made the 2019 list, which was announced earlier this month. The two are the only restaurants representing Missouri; none was named from Kansas..

This is the second time in three years that Tannin, at 1526 Walnut St., has been named to the list and the first time for The Antler Room. They join the company of previous honorees, including Brennan’s in New Orleans, Napa Valley’s The French Laundry and Alinea in Chicago.

Tannin General Manager Barry Tunnel was quick to share the credit with his staff.

“This recognition is a direct result of the hard work that the staff has put into Tannin. Their work has been excellent and that is being recognized,” Tunnel said.

I’ve written about my fondness for Tannin’s excellent wine list, especially its by-the-glass program. The Wine Enthusiast was also impressed.

“It’s all about experimentation at Tannin, with almost 90 glass options (available as full pours or ‘tastes’) and many bottle selections under $50. KC locals will want a wine club membership, which gets them a monthly bottle and access to special events and tastings,” Wine Enthusiast wrote.

Making the list even more special is the fact that it encompasses both wine and food. The culinary part of the equation at Tannin falls to Executive Chef Pablo Munoz-Sevilla, who was praised for his seasonal menus that complement Tannin’s wine program.

The magazine singled out Munoz-Sevilla’s espresso-crusted salmon with hazelnuts, poached pear sauce, marinated squash and couscous.

The Antler Room at 2506 Holmes St. is run by husband and wife team Chef Nick Goellner and Wine Director Leslie Newsam Goellner. The Wine Enthusiast noted Newsam Goellner’s passion for international natural wines.

“In Kansas City, things have really started to change as far as overall wine lists are concerned,” Newsam Goellner told the magazine. “For so long, lists were generic big-name wines or lists comprised of placeholder wines. Lists are now starting to become more focused on not just what guests are familiar with, but wines with focus on [pairing with] the food menu.”

On the food front, there was plenty of love for Goellner’s small plates emphasizing Mediterranean, East Asian and Midwestern cuisine with a special nod to littleneck clams with pineapple dashi, XO butter, beef tongue and enoki mushrooms.

The Shokupan from The Antler Room: chicken liver mousse, deviled hearts & gizzards, fried garlic, cilantro. Bonjwing Lee

Newsam Goellner said making the list was a “huge honor.”

“We always wanted to have a wine list that coincided with our food first and foremost. We wanted to make it mostly organic and biodynamic wines to go along with our favorite styles and ethos of wine production,” Newsam Goellner said. “This is honestly even more of an honor because we never saw this restaurant or anything that we have done as winning accolades. We just want to do what we love and are very lucky that our guests happen to love those things, too.”

Making The Wine Enthusiast top 100 Wine Restaurants List is also a feather in Kansas City’s cap, highlighting the breadth and depth of the restaurant community and its dedication to serving high quality, creative, fresh and local cuisine paired with some of the best wines in the world. Congratulations to two of my favorite restaurants in town!

Related stories from Kansas City Star