Chow Town

Kansas City Restaurant Week starts Jan. 16

Gumbo at Jax Fish House.
Gumbo at Jax Fish House.

It’s time to start making those reservations.

Kansas City Restaurant Week starts Friday, Jan. 16, and runs through Jan. 25. More than 150 Kansas City-area restaurants are participating this year — view the full list of restaurants and their menus at

This is the sixth year for Kansas City Restaurant Week, an annual fundraiser for the Kansas City Regional Destination Development Foundation and the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association Education Foundation. This year, Restaurant Week also will raise money for these additional charities: BoysGrow, Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired and Cultivate Kansas City.

In 2014, Restaurant Week raised $270,000 for local charities. The event has raised $600,000 since 2010.

If you’ve never participated in Restaurant Week, here’s how it works: Participating eateries offer multicourse lunches for $15 and/or multicourse dinners for $33. The reduced price gives diners a chance to sample more local menus while supporting several good causes.

Restaurant Week can get a little hectic, so reservations are strongly recommended. I usually skim through dozens of mouthwatering menus before deciding where to make reservations. Here are a few droolworthy Restaurant Week dinners I’ve been eyeing:

Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar, 4814 Roanoke Parkway, will offer a three-course dinner menu during Restaurant Week. I’d start the meal with the seafood restaurant’s spicy chicken and crawfish gumbo. I’d follow the gumbo with blackened catfish, bacon-braised collards and corn bread, and finish the meal on a sweet note with the elegantly plated S’Mores dessert.

Port Fonda, 4141 Pennsylvania Ave., will serve a savory three-course meal that starts with a salsa trio (guacamole included) served with your choice of chips, chicharrones or veggies. The chicharrones are tempting, but I’d have to go classic with chips. I’d pick Port Fonda’s famous chilaquiles for the second course and finish the meal with pork tamales.

J. Gilbert’s Wood-Fired Steaks, 8901 Metcalf Ave. in Overland Park, is a good place to go for that decadent steakhouse experience. I’d start with a wedge salad topped with Maytag blue cheese and applewood-smoked bacon. For the second course, I’d skip the steak and order the seared scallops with lobster risotto. And for dessert it’s New York-style cheesecake, all the way.

Lidia’s Kansas City, 101 W. 22nd St., is one of the Italian restaurants participating in Restaurant Week (Garozzo’s is in, too). I’d follow the wild boar ravioli with Polenta Pasticcita, polenta layered with mushroom ragu and Gorgonzola cheese. There’s only one option for dessert, but it’s a good one: Coconut Blondie with bittersweet chocolate ganache.

Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue, with three locations in Kansas City and one in Overland Park, is planning a hefty four-course dinner for Restaurant Week. I’d kick it off with three colossal onion rings, then go lighter for the second course with a spinach salad topped with strawberries and feta. For the third course, I’d pick the barbecue sampler, with chicken, pork spare ribs and burnt ends. Warm carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is for dessert.

Which local menus will you devour during Restaurant Week? Comment here, on Facebook, or tweet us @chowtownkc using the hashtag #KCRW2015.

Contact Sarah Gish via email at or tweet @sarah_gish.