Anthony’s: 701 Grand

 Posted by at 4:05 pm
Aug 162007

Nestled next to a small bluff at the intersection of 7th street and Grand Blvd (“of the Americas”), Anthony’s is a classic Italian joint. I’ve been here for dinner, sampled manhattans and Campari on the rocks, listened to the roving crooner sing “Volare” and eaten linguini and meatballs served by teenage Italian kids in white and black. So, i really like this place because it feels like it should.

I went in for lunch recently and had a decent experience. We were seated by a short, skinny, older woman with the largest hairdo I have ever seen. It looked like a huge, black football helmet. Very very impressive.

The lunchtime waitstaff pretty much consists of middle aged italian ladies who have been around the block a time or two. Our server was very friendly and did everything right. The lunch menu is big and doesn;t really differ much from the dinner menu. You can get pastas, chicken parm sandwiches, meatball subs, spiedini, all that stuff. Prices are ok–anywhere from 7-12 bucks depending on what you order.

The food here is not great: let’s make that perfectly clear. I don’t care what anyone says. The sauce is way too sweet, reminiscent of spaghetti-o’s. There is nothing remarkable about the way things are prepared or the way they are plated. That being said, so what? I would be disappointed if this place was too good. The reason you like Anthony’s has to do with the whole package: ambiance, music, decor, clientele, hairdos…The food is part of that certainly, just not a draw in and of itself.

Oh yeah, before I forget: Sinatra was playing in the restaurant the whole time I was there. On your way out, be sure to stop by the Virgin Mary shrine nestled in the limestone wall in the parking lot. Pay your respects, people. In summation, I would’t characterize Anthony’s as overly fast, or overly fancy. As they say: It is what it is.

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12Baltimore: 12th St and Baltimore

 Posted by at 5:56 pm
Jul 192007

This is the lower-rent cousin of the Hotel Phillips’ esteemed Chop House restaurant. 12Baltimore is meant to be a casual bar/lunch/happy hour spot, and succeeds mightily at least in terms of visual appeal. The place is cozy, yet big enough to handle a sizable lunch rush. The dining areas are quite attractive with natural wood paneled columns, tasteful, sparse artwork and nice soaring bar filled with gleaming top shelf liquors. Mmmm, liquors.

The menu itself seemed to offer a small but very appetizing number of options for diverse palettes. Several entree salads, a burger, crabcakes, fish & chips, shaved prime rib sandwich–all sounds like good stuff to me.

Unfortunately, our dining experience was somewhat tarnished by strangely inattentive service, and food that should have been better for the price. I ordered a chopped salad–those of you familiar with the noble classic, cobb salad know what I’m talking about. Basically a cobb for restaurants too cheap to spring for avocado. It featured romaine lettuce topped with chicken, crumbled bacon, blue cheese, hard boiled egg and tomato. Sounds great right? Well it would have been except that the chicken was deep fried. That’s right a breaded and fried chicken breast, sliced expertly and placed upon this otherwise glorious mound. What should have been a very nice meal turned into a glorified Wendy’s salad in a box.

For the second meal this week, I was not offered a refill on my overpriced little glass of coca-cola. And worst of all, we must have waited 20 minutes for our check. I don’t know why it is so hard for people to hand over the bill. true professional waitstaff do not commit this egregious error. Why? Because it gets you in and out quickly, and turn-over is the name of the game when you make a living waiting tables. But this is a problem I;ve run into at a bunch of lunch spots in Kansas City. Don’t they get it? Lunch is about speed, people have to go back to work or school or masturbating or whatever charmed life they lead. Certainly many 12Baltimore diners come from the adjoining Hotel Phillips, and those folks may not have a tight time frame. But I’m sorry, if you serve lunch, don’t make your customers wait for anything. Moreover, if you make your waitstaff wear stupid black business suit uniform-type things, at least train them how to deliver a damn bill in a timely fashion. And when they do, train them to at least acknowledge that they have made you wait.

I wouldn’t rant like this at a smaller restaurant, at least not with such vehemence. But if a restaurant is going to give off airs of being classy, it has to deliver. Experiences like this make me remember why I started blogging here in the first place. Finding good restaurants is fun, but bitching about them is much more satisfying.

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Drum Room: 13th and Baltimore

 Posted by at 2:00 pm
Jul 182007

I had never been to the Drum Room and had heard nice things about it. Of course the Drum sign is an absolutely essential selling point, but I found the interior to be surprisingly modern, and completley lacking in old school charm. This was actually fine since the hotel itself offers plenty of that, including a cute archival display of old hotel relics like china, room keys and photos.

Unfortunately, the service during my visit was absolutely abominable. I’m not a bad diner mind you. I typically give every server the benefit of the doubt. I;ve waited tables and I know it sucks. I know what it’s like to be busy. But this shit was ridiculous. No one was rude, just oblivious and uncommunicative. My co-diner and I stood for about 15 minutes before anyone acknowledged that we were waiting for a table. Finally we were sat and given water and the made to wait at least 20 minutes for a server to pay attention to us. I was sucking ice cubes at that point and had changed my mind about what I wanted to order at least 5 times.

The waitress was extremely friendly and apologetic when she finally noticed us, but the offenses continued. After bringing drinks and taking our orders, we never saw her again. I was hoping for a refill on my $2.50 coke in an 8oz glass full of ice, but was never offered one. The food was excellent and reasonably priced for a fancy joint. Sandwiches run from 7-12 bucks. Add in 2.50 for your drink and a small tip for shitty service and there you have it.

I was very disappointed because when I go to a nice place, I am prepared to pay more. But for that money I expect better food and better service. The staff in the Drum Room had no idea what they were doing. A guy across from us got a free meal and an apology from the chef because they screwed something up pretty bad with him. I would have been happier if they completely ignored us so at least I wouldn’t have to pay for such a mediocre experience. But oh well.

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