tatsu’s wine bar…

Originally uploaded by ulteriorepicure.

Tatsu’s Cafe and Wine Bar

Yesterday was my second visit to Tatsu’s Cafe and Wine Bar in Westport District of Kansas City. It’s the smaller sister to another, more formal dining spot by the same name, Tatsu’s, in Prairie Village, Kansas. Both are owned and operated by a Japanese chef named Tatsuya Arai. 

In the five months that passed (quickly) between the two lunches, the format of the menu has changed from prix fixe to a la carte.

No longer is the chalkboard menu propped up against the bar counter for all to see in read. Menus are the m.o. now. Before, lunch cost a flat $11.99 for your choice of entree and dessert. This also included a drink – soft drink, tea or coffee. It was a smashing deal.

Well, it’s still a good deal, just not groundbreaking.

The cafe is truly just that – a simple space with a bar intended to be a casual lunch or dinner spot amidst the sea of bars, taverns, clubs and other eateries in Westport.  The inside is open and clean, with hardwood floors, tables, and booths in the back.  My colleague and I slipped into one of these cozy bright nooks with a window.

We started with the shrimps Meuniere-style. ($5.95) These were smallish shrimp, sauteed with butter and lemon and sliced mushrooms. The butter was a bit brown – more like a beurre noisette. I wanted more lemon, so I added a fresh spritz from the wedge on the plate. The shrimp were plump and very nice.

For entrees, my friend had the teriyaki chicken. ($9.95) I’ve heard excellent things about it, and my friend likes teriyaki. She said it was good, but tasted like commercial Yoshida sauce. I found it little to sweet, but it wasn’t bad. We both agreed that the chicken was excellent – the meat was flavorful and juicy.

My Salad Nicoise was pretty good – nothing spectacular. ($8.95) The flaked tuna was meaty and abundant. The salad came with Tatsu’s “house dressing,” which tasted curiously like the salad dressing you get at Japanese steakhouses – a watery version of Thousand Island, without the relish, and not as orange-y, with a slight hint of garlic.

The boiled egg and tomato wedges were also a nice add in. I enjoyed the nuggets of boiled potato. They were perfectly done – not mushy – and I could fork them without making them crumble or split. The black olives were a little disappointing. I was hoping for something brinier – like Nicoise olives, maybe?

Not needing terribly more, but tempted by the dessert menu, we ordered Tiramisu. ($4.95) The mascarpone was a light and airy – under a dusting of cacoa powder. Sandwiched between were layers of chocolate cake – I think sponge – which had been soaked in rum and Kahlua. Not being a sweet tooth, I found this dessert to be a happy medium, overall – the creamy mascarpone helped temper the sweeter cake. I wished it had a little more coffee/espresso somewhere in there. I’m not clear if the Kahlua was meant as a substitute for the real thing.

Overall, a nice experience. I would go back – it’s a quick and simple, yet good mid-day meal.  Tatsu’s Cafe and Wine Bar is also opened for dinners Monday through Saturday.  It’s a similar menu, with some more sophisticated options.

You can see all of the photos from this meal on my flickr account.

Tatsu’s Cafe and Wine Bar
419 Westport Road
Kansas City, Missouri 64111

~ by ulterior epicure on November 1, 2006.

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