Sama Zama: 425 Westport Rd

 Posted by at 12:45 am
Jan 242012
 

South Overland Park’s One-Bite Japanese Grill has re-made itself and set up shop on Westport road as a classy but casual joint specializing in unusual small plates, noodles and okonomi yaki, among other things. The previous tenant, Matsu Sushi, had not aged well by the time it closed a couple years back. Happily, the space (half of what Matusu was) has been completely stripped down and redesigned in a tastful, minimal style. The east wall is exposed brick, the ceiling is painted tin and a small, orange counter sits near where the sushi bar used to be. Attractive dark wood tables complement the modern chairs. The dining room is almost exclusively 4-tops and 2-tops. One seating area by the front window could perhaps seat 8.

This clean, hip decor is accentuated by the soft but noticable strains of a Sirius dance music station. It feels like they are trying a little too hard in this aspect, but at least there were no lyrics to distract me from the business of stuffing my face.

I was initially confused by their choice to name the place “Sama Zama” because it sounds gimmicky. But a quick Google search informs me that the term means “varied” in Japanese, which I admit is a perfectly acceptable and appropriate description of the menu. It takes a while to figure out what to order. There are many choices in various configurations: lunch specials, entree portions, appetizers, soups, noodles, desserts, sides and nearly all of them were unfamiliar to me. So it takes time to read and process what is being offered. My dining companion and I each ordered a lunch special which includes two dumplings and a salad with a smaller portion of the main entree. A good selection of regular entrees are available as lunch specials: ramen (spicy or regular), udon, teriyaki, and the aforementioned okonomi yaki in a number of permutations.

The raw, marinated octopus appetizer I ordered exhibited wonderful flavor: savory soy punched up with wasabe. It was presented in a small bowl and garnished with strips of nori. I found myself wanting a different preparation once I took a few bites, not because it was bad but because I grew weary of the consistency of the straight-up octopus chunks without rice or more vegetable to provide a balance of texture. Raw octopus is pretty slimy and doesn’t look very appetizing to the Western eye so all you whities out there should excercise caution if you aren’t feeling a little adventurous.

Takowasa

While we ordered the spicy ramen and pork okonomi yaki as lunch specials, we were mistakenly brought full-size portions due to an error by our server who was otherwise quite good. I honestly didn’t realize what had happened until halfway through the meal. The price difference was minimal so I didn’t make a stink and somewhat enjoyed the huge portions we received. Seeing the specials being delivered to other tables, I noticed the portions were much more reasonable and appropriate for lunch.

The okonomi yaki is a crazy thing to behold: a pancake topped with meat and vegetables topped with a fried egg.

Okonomi yaki

You can choose to further adorn the dish with bonito flakes or little fried wonton strips. I recommend the former. I was somewhat disappointed that the flavors weren’t punched up very high for something so divinely wacky in concept. The pancake portion was exceedingly gummy, leading me to believe that it had been undercooked. Perhaps that’s the way it’s supposed to be? I think it is worth getting if you have never eaten it, but I’ll be ordering differently next time.

The broth of the spicy ramen, while exhibiting plenty of heat, was similarly lacking depth of flavor. Maybe I’m just a Guy Fieri-esque Phillistine who needs every dish laden with bacon and smoke and spice.

Spicy ramen

The noodles themselves were perfectly cooked and accompanied by delicious, tender slices of pork shoulder. This is the perfect dish for frenzied chopstick slurping.

Both entrees apparently came with little fried spring rolls which, while good, were pretty typical of most better Asian restaurants.

spring rolls

I’m not accustomed to posting about restaurants when they have been open less than a week but I decided to share my thoughts here nonetheless. Because I hadn’t planned on posting, I can’t recall the specific prices of the things I ordered. I think the ramen was $13 and the okonomi yaki about ten bucks. I want to say the lunch specials are about $10 as well. I hope Sama Zama does a good business and I suspect I’ll be back to eat again sooner rather than later. While my experience wasn’t perfect, the menu has a lot to offer and there really isn’t anything like it in town.

The Sama Zama website is still under development so the place to go for info right now is their Facebook page. They are open Sunday – Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Sama Zama on Urbanspoon<


/a>

The Recordbar: 1020 Westport Rd

 Posted by at 1:30 pm
Sep 022009
 

Preliminary note: I recently lost a ton of photos taken with my phone over the last several weeks. This included photos of numerous restaurants I intended to review, Recordbar included. As I return to these places I’ll add photos to these posts. In the meantime please accept my apologies for the upcoming text heavy reviews and enjoy the images I have repurposed to spice up this entry :)

I have eaten at Recordbar dozens of times in the evening but only recently did I pop in for lunch. I really had no idea what to expect. This is primarily a bar and music venue after all, and I associate the place with late night rock music and drunkenness more than sober, quiet midday meals. Indeed, eating there has usually been a matter of convenience or pure necessity (e.g. “I had better eat something before I take my pants off and jump into the photo booth”).


photo courtesy of Al Herrmann on Flickr

When I first moved to Kansas City and learned that hipsters were flocking to a new bar in a strip mall I was not at all hopeful. For those unaware, Recordbar sits next to First Watch in Wesport’s ‘Covered Wagon’ shopping center (whatever it’s called) along with Westlake Hardware, Half Price Books and Ye Olde Dollar Tree. After visiting I was quickly won over by the cozy interior, friendly staff and good prices. Now that I’ve been indoctrinated by KC denizens for the better part of three years I even find myself vocally appreciative of the ample parking out front.

A sandwich board at the entrance advertises the daily lunch special. If you are on Twitter, you can also follow Recordbar and receive tweeted lunch specials at about 12:15, when many working people have already decided where to eat and even ordered their meals. Nonetheless, kudos to them for being on Twitter.

On my recent visit at the height of lunch hour the room was virtually deserted when I arrived, inhabited solely by a cook, a bartendress and one guy at the bar. It felt like, well, a bar the day after a raucous night. I’m fully convinced that buildings can have hangovers too. The interior is pretty dark during the day although a small patio out front mitigates claustrophobia somewhat, as well as providing smokers with a place to do their deed. The tables were all arranged and set with silverware rolled in cloth napkins. This was a nice, welcoming touch. Despite it being empty, it told me that this is a lunch spot; they are ready for people to eat.

The loose theme of the place is music, and records more specifically. As a result various jaunty displays of album art adorn the walls, like an array of Herb Alpert’s most famous album cover.

The menus are even bound inside vintage record covers. It is always interesting to see which album you are going to get. My last visit had me peering into an old Lily Tomlin comedy record. The mensroom features a couple of truly epic Ohio Players album covers that would even make Tony’s Kansas City blush *. They always have some good music playing at a respectable volume which makes a lonesome lunch a little less depressing.

The lunch specials always seem pretty good but the regular menu is nothing to sneeze at. It focuses on sandwiches, salads, pasta and pizzas which are made with good quality ingredients. The centerpiece of the menu is a huge assortment of vegetables, cheeses and meats that you can mix and match with any pizza and any salad. Hell if you want gruyere, jalepeƱos and capicola on your salad you can get it.

One of my favorite things to do is create an antipasto-type arrangement which you can get with 3, 5 or 8 items. Some hummus, olives, prosciutto, chevre and artichoke hearts and I’m set. They even thrown in homemade crackers, pickled garlic and onions and some spicy mustard for $9.

If you want a more traditional lunch, the meatloaf sandwich is one of the best around. I even think it surpasses the one at the Brick, despite the fact that it is intended to come with mayonnaise. I have probably eaten it 20 times and asked for it without mayo every time. They have never screwed it up. The meatloaf sandwich is officially called the “Bat Out of Hell,” since most menu items here have music-themed names.

The Turkey “I Melt With You” sandwich is also quite nice.

There are only a few specialty sandwiches but for $8, you can put together any sandwich you want with 3 ingredients from their list. Fries, Tater tots or side salad is included. Their fries are very good but I have a weakness for tots. The portions are pretty generous, you won’t leave hungry. The pizza at Recordbar is also surprisingly good, though may take more time than lunch allows.

It’s hard to judge the service since I was the only person eating in the place, but my past visits have convinced me that Recordbar has a really good staff. Their employees lack the pretension of those at other hipster venues I’ve attended and can really crank out the food and drink when the joint gets crowded. At lunch I was in and out in half an hour, refills were plentiful and my check was provided promptly. No complaints.

And the food here really is quite good. I love the mutability of the menu. It’s a great place for picky eaters, vegetarians or those who need something tailored to their diets. Judging from my visit, you could easily take a big group there without worry. Though I would not call it a rousing good time, it’s nice to have Recordbar open for lunch.

Record Bar on Urbanspoon


* Not really

Mar 052009
 

UPDATE: As of Feb. 11, 2010 Blanc’s Westport location has moved to the Country Club Plaza, 4710 Jefferson St.

BlancBlanc is essentially an upscale burger joint, a nice marriage of a classic diner and a fine restaurant. The folks from the Drop who themselves have decent food, are responsible for Blanc, opening it in mid-2008 at Westport Road near Broadway. Blanc has received a fair amount of good press and has apparently been successful enough warrant a satellite location in Leawood’s Mission Farms development, which is quickly becoming the hippest mixed use residential/commercial urban lifestyle center in all of Johnson County, Kansas!

Oh yes, Blanc has a website. Go ahead, click it. Be sure to turn your speakers up nice and loud first.

Anyhow, people love Blanc and it is often crowded. They do a very brisk lunch trade during the week and the weekend evenings are pretty hopping as well because it stays open until 11pm. So I opted to pop in for lunch at a non-standard time: Sunday afternoon.

The space is quite pretty and not as sterile as I remember from my first visit. Sure, there is a lot of white furniture, blond wood and mid-century inspired decorative accents but don’t worry, it’s not like eating in an operating room. After walking in, we were led through the front room toward the back of the restaurant which is a brighter, more casual area with lots of sunlight and fewer tables.

Unfortunately the host stopped in the narrow space between the east wall and the kitchen, seating us at a dark, 2-person table right across from the kitchen door. Not only that but we had a chatty couple about four feet away on one side and the server station on the other. From my seat I could see at least two open tables, roomy and bathed in sunlight, in the back room. Sure they were four-tops, but the place wasn’t full, and it was 2pm. To add insult to injury, I noticed 2 servers wrapping silverware and counting tips back there. So they were apparently good enough for a four-top but we weren’t. To summarize, we had the single worst table in the place. No I didn’t complain and ask to move because if I’m forced to act like a dick it ruins my meal, even if I’m entirely justified. Hosts should just know this stuff, their friggin’ job is seating people.

So the long and short of it is that I got to spend my lunch hour with waitresses inadvertently brushing by my chair on their way to punch orders into the computer and print out checks about one foot away from my hamburger. The chatty couple on the other side was fully in the throes of appetizers and drinks when we sat down. Being able to see and smell the food was tortuous and their lip-smacking exclamations didn’t help much. So yeah, things were not really off on the right foot.

But they quickly got better, beginning with the monstrous beer list. I know it’s kind of a gimmick, but I like being able to try beers I am unfamiliar with, even though I lack the refined palate of others in the local food blogging scene. I ordered an Odell 90 Shilling Ale, which I had never heard of, and it was delicious. So I had two.

Our waitress, who was otherwise excellent, neglected to tell us that they could not make the burger I wanted, so I chose the “Inside Out Burger” on a whim. It came stuffed with blue cheese and topped with bacon, mustard, ketchup, bib lettuce and one large onion ring. The presentation honestly wasn’t much to write home about. Half the topppings had slid off the bun, and the paltry amount of bacon would have made Chimpotle weep.

Blanc

All anxiety ceased when I took my first two bites. I got the most insane endorphin rush because it was so salty, delicious and full of intense flavor. As I ate further I found that the blue cheese overwhelmed everything else, but I didn’t really care by then; I just wanted to eat more, eat it all.

My cohort had the mahi-mahi which was absolutely fantastic. It reminded me of some seaside places I’ve been to in Florida who do really nice, fresh grilled fish sandwiches. And that’s the beauty of Blanc–you know that they aren’t going to screw up the food. Somebody thought about each sandwich, tried it out, perfected it, searched for the right bread, the right condiments and messed with it until it was right.

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

The side dishes here are all good: the onion rings, the truffle fries (!!), and even the sweet potato fries are perfectly executed. And yes they come in widdy bitty shopping carts. They are insanely cute and I’m terrified that if I ever get drunk at Blanc I’m gonna try to walk out with one under my coat.

Oh yeah, so here’s the condiment situation:

Blanc

Aw, it’s sooooo tiny and lonely! This is an attractive little tray of homemade condiments: ketchup, mustard and some kind of chipotle aioli that I didn’t eat because, well, it’s just not for me. Inevitably I use all the ketchup and have to ask for more. The waitress, undoubtedly used to people eating all the ketchup asked if she could bring us some more before it was gone. So she brought out a souffle cup with about five times as much as the original amount. So in the end, we ended up wasting more ketchup than if we had received a normal portion to begin with.

Recently the good folks at Hot Blog on a Stick asked what type of condiment goes with sweet potato fries. I can honestly say that those at Blanc are so good as to require no condiments whatsoever. Seriously.

So I’ve written a lot of words here, and it may still be unclear what my overall opinion of Blanc is. Let me say it now: I’m just a giant smartass and I really like this place. The food pretty much rules although it is very rich, very filling and on the salty side. The service has always been good and although the clientele can be sort of douchey, the waitstaff are pretty laid back. And their lunch special is surprisingly affordable: any burger and any side for $8.

Read more:

Blanc Burgers + Bottles on Urbanspoon

Yelp

Matsu: 427 Westport Rd. – CLOSED

 Posted by at 6:30 pm
Dec 102008
 

A few days ago, The Library notified me that there was a book on hold for me. I had come across a review for Asian Dining Rules by Steven Shaw a while back but had frankly forgotten about putting a hold on it. In a nutshell, Shaw explains how to order and eat various Asian cuisines at restaurants. Although not perfect, I love the way the author rebukes American culture for the stereotypes and misinformation about Asian foods.

For instance, he says it is not just silly but insulting that doctors recommend pregnant women avoid sushi. He also says there is no proof whatsoever that MSG has significant adverse effects. He chastises the media for periodic horror stories about the unhealthiness of Chinese food. Aahh, I love me some controversy!

But this ain’t a book review blog. So what’s my point? Well, after reading the Japanese chapter this weekend, I was hungry for some sushi!

I’ve eaten at Matsu several times before, as well as other places like Domo, Friends, Nara, Juns and whatever that place is in Town Center. I think they are all pretty good, I just happened to choose Matsu because it was the closest place at the time.

After reading Asian Dining Rules, I was excited to partake, but still didn’t follow Shaw’s recommendations to the letter. But I will select, condense, misremember and pass them along to you here:

1. Always eat at the sushi bar. You’ll get better stuff if the chef is right in front of you. Pieces of fish have better and worse parts so guess who’s gonna get the ass end of the tuna? Right, the dudes way across the dining room drinking beer. Plus, Shaw contends that sushi is best from chef’s hand to your mouth with as little time as possible in between.

2. Order the combo platters/chef specials. Allowing the chef to decide is always the best way. This will save you some serious dough and you’ll also get the best, freshest fish.

3. Talk to the sushi chef. This is a recurring theme in the book. If you are non-Asian it really helps to get to know the owners and employees. No one knows the good stuff better than the guy touching it all day.

4. Go during off hours. This will give you time to ask questions of staff and the food will be better because they are not rushed.

These are not exclusive to Japanese/Sushi establishments, though he does offer another whole procedure for getting the very best meal at the sushi bar, promising that it would be exorbitantly expensive.

When I walked in and was seated, I passed the sushi bar only to notice a piece of sushi and a half sliced maki roll on the cutting board: no sushi chef in sight. Did he go take a leak? Did he pause for a cigarette? Having recently read that sushi should be eaten as quickly as possible, I started to get a bad feeling. Fortunately the chef returned as we sat down at our table. For a minute there I was worried that our server doubled as sushi chef.

On my meager salary, I went for the Chef’s lunch special, a good deal but still a chunk of change at $14.50. For those insane people among you who do not like sushi (and vegetarians I suppose) there are a few interesting options in the $9-10 range. The donburi in particular looked very good, and Matsu had a few different kinds.

The miso soup is great. It’s much darker and richer than that at other Japanese restaurants. They have the usual assortment of intriguing starters such as daikon pickles, edamame, seaweed salad and even tempura alligator. The salad had a nice tangy dressing, but was virtually drenched in the stuff. The flavor was strong enough that they should have used half as much.

Unfortunately the sushi looked a little limp and sad when it arrived. It tasted good and was well cut but I suspected it was not the freshest available. The pieces were also on the small side. My piece of tuna had what looked like a little soy sauce fingerprint on it. That what I get for not sitting at the sushi bar, see?

The decor here is kinda funny, sort of like what a Japanese restaurant looked like 20 years ago. Various parts of the interior are meant to resemble pagodas. . There is a wooden crisscross frame across the entire ceiling, just below a bunch of exposed duct work and some painted tin. Some tables had funny tray stands carved out of tree trunks decorated with monkeys or zebras.

Our server was very friendly and did a nice job. He was way too apologetic about interrupting us to pour tea or clear dishes. Dude, just don’t say anything and pour the damn tea. A large white man started wandering around about halfway through our meal. He was puttering in the kitchen, the dishwashing area, and periodically perched himself at the sushi bar. I got the feeling he was the owner, since was wasn’t really doing anything productive.

After this visit, I find that I prefer most other sushi restaurants in the metro, although the Westport location is convenient. I know sushi has come up in previous posts, so where do you all like to go for really good sushi? Or quick, affordable sushi?

For more info on Matsu check out this a very good Yelp review.

Read more:

Matsu Japanese on Urbanspoon

Yelp

Jun 172008
 

This is the same outfit as the Jerusalem Cafe in the heart of Westport and a newer place on 39th Street, but is located down the road apiece toward State Line Road.Jerusalem Bakery is like the Cafe’s older, cooler sister. Maybe a little uglier and less friendly, but the payoff is more satisfying. Rather than a typical restaurant, this place combines a very nice Mediterranean buffet with a retail operation, selling fresh baked goods, foodstuffs by the pound and grocery items. It’s a great place to pick up a pint of hummus or some olives for sure, but the buffet is what keeps me coming back.

This is one of the few buffets that just looks good at first glance. Believe me it’s difficult to make vats of meat, rice, sauces and casseroles look even remotely appetizing. The steamtable is not a vessel conducive to fine presentation. But they do a good job here. Options typically include gyro meat, bone-in chicken, falafel, rice, hummus, baba ghanoush, pita bread, tabouleh, moussaka, as well as some other things that either rotate, or I’m forgetting.

The moussaka is excellent, there’s just no getting around that. I also had something that I think was called “Jerusalem Meatloaf” which was very delicious. It was basically a meat roll with a texture very similar to good Italian meatballs. Light, lots of breadcrumbs and seasonings, probably includes veal or other meat besides beef. It was covered in a nice chunky tomato based sauce. The falafel is also good here, but not as tasty as fresh out of the fryer.


The buffet of course is a serve yourself affair, and you pay down at the end of the line. It costs 9 bucks for all you can eat with drink and 5.99 per pound for take out. I think those prices are right. There are several tables both inside and outside at which to eat. The atmosphere isn’t great but at least they don’t try overly hard. This is just a very solid and dependable Middle Eastern place.

Now, many of you have probably seen or visited “Golden Wraps.” This silly-named establishment is located at the far end of the Jerusalem Bakery but has a separate entrance and it’s own little kitchen. This is where you can get a falafel fresh out of the fryer or a kebab, gyro or whatever. I assume that the owners are the same, but my opinion of Golden Wraps is totally opposite that of the Bakery/Buffet. Of course I’ve never technically eaten at Golden Wraps, but I just don’t like the name and the sign. I’m perfectly willing to change my mind. But when I come to this location, I can’t see passing up this delicious buffet.

Read more:

Jerusalem Bakery on Urbanspoon

Yelp

Feb 132008
 

Exterior

Pretty much everyone loves this place, there are accolades all over the web, extolling the virtues of its ambience, uniqueness and mostly its hamburgers. Without question, the Flea Market is one of Kansas City’s most interesting lunch spots, and well worth a visit for those who have not been there. It’s also a decent place for happy hour, dinner and late nite carousing.

But it’s not perfect, people.

For first-timers, the following is an important aspect of the dining experience to be aware of. While the tables have menus on them and there are plenty of waitresses about, food must be ordered from the register at the end of the bar. Unless you happen to arrive at a slow time, you’ll see the line. You pay for your food at the register, and pick it up from a window when they call your name over the annoying loudspeaker. Waitresses operate only to serve drinks, and these must be paid for in cash on the spot, like any self-respecting bar. The beer selection in excellent, and they offer upwards of 20 on tap if I’m not mistaken. It is basically a bar that allows an external vendor to sell its wares within the confines. In fact, I think that is exactly the situation. The wait for food can be lengthy but not unreasonable for a lunch spot. The menu (pdf) has lots of stuff to offer, but it’s the burgers that are their bread and butter.

Anyone who says the flea market offers the “best burger ever” is just fooling himself, and probably doesn’t get out of town a whole hell of a lot.

Let’s talk burgers for a moment. Burgers are about the whole package–the glorious assemblage of perfect meat, bun, toppings and condiments. There is also the very important notion of how it is cooked. Burgers can be grilled, fried, steamed, barbequed, oven-roasted, submerged in boiling oil, poached, oven-roasted and baked. Well, maybe not poached, that’s gross. Anyhow, this is just to say that even the simplest of foods carries a lot of complicated decisions about ingredients and preparation. Anyone who watches the goddamn food network with any regularity knows that, in order to create the “perfect” anything, you need to consider every last detail. And in the end, the overly perky host always chalks it up to something hokey like “heart,” “love,” or the ubiquitous “it’s in his blood.”

While the burgers at WFM are excellent and I crave them periodically, they lack the complete package. The meat is excellent, freshly ground from McGonigles and has a texture and a flavor that is hard to parallel. But condiments and toppings are a do it yourself affair; the Flea Market has a fixins bar with the usual assortment of toppings: tomatoes, lettuce, onions, pickles, etc. But the bar pretty much sucks in terms of quality. It features shredded iceberg lettuce (ever try keeping that on a bun?), and the lamest pale, thin-cut tomato slices ever. The whole bar is vaguely unappetizing, with the contents of the tomato container veritably disintegrating into a mass of disjointed, flaccid flesh. Thick cut, yellow onion slices don’t really do it for me either. I usually just get some pickles and make my way back to the table. Likewise the bun is unremarkable, slightly undersized and doesn;t seem up to the task of delivering this wonderful meat slab into your mouth.
The ‘flea market burger’ is quite large, and difficult to finish even for someone of my appetite and ever-increasing girth. I typically go with the mini-burger and some onion rings. The rings are excellent, not overly breaded, very crispy and taste like they didn;t come frozen out of a brown paper bag. The curly fries are what they are. Kind of boring, but with all the hallmarks of being homemade. Definitely try the deep fried pickles–the best I’ve had.

Oh, did I mention that there is a flea market? yeah, and quite a sizable one at that. I don’t know the history of the place, but it definitely is incredibly original as a concept. It’s neat to have a few beers and a burger, then walk around the stalls looking at old stuff for a while. Also a great way to kill time while yer food is cooking. Like most flea markets, the booths are slightly overpriced, and the proprietors seem lacking in most social graces, but it’s fun nonetheless.

A few years ago, the Westport Flea Market was in danger of going away, subsumed by the onslaught of westport gentrification. But apparently some kind gent bought the place and pledged to keep it going in the same vein as before. By all accounts, this effort has been successful. So even if the burger isn’t perfect, it’s still damn good and worthy of your discerning little mouths.

Read more:

Westport Flea Market on Urbanspoon

Yelp

Nov 272007
 

With a name like this I can’t believe it’s not owned and operated by white people. Housed in one of westport’s most doomed restaurant locations on Pennsylvania just north of Westport road, this little taqueria dishes up some really good mexican food in addition to some less adventurous standards. I know that Mexican food and BBQ are overrepresented on this blog, but let’s face it, they are overrepresented in my life.

Cancun has a very pleasant little interior–I think the place used to be a gas station or garage because it’s small and there is a big overhead door to the outside. Not sure if this opens in the summer, which would be nice. Regardless, there is some outdoor seating with delightful views of that weird bar with the volleyball courts, not to mention giant semi-trucks parked in front of the Beaumont club and roadies showing how big their dicks are by carrying the heaviest gear as quickly as possible while simultaneously smoking cigarettes and cracking wise about the next guy’s mom. Well, it’s not exactly sitting outside season, but in this town you never know. It was 70 a week ago.

The people who work at Cancun Fiesta Fresh (god, it’s hard to write that name with a straight face) are super friendly. They have counter service, but typically bring out your food to the table. They have several salsas to choose from, including one that is actually hot.(from now on, due to the silliness of its name, I’m going to refer to this restaurant in all caps, i.e., CANCUN FIESTA FRESH!). What you want here are the so-called ‘street tacos.’ They feature your choice of meat, including carne asada, pork, chicken, lengua (tongue), and beef cheek. Yes, beef cheek. Anyone who watches enough of those food shows on the travel channel knows that the animal’s cheek is always the best stuff. Street tacos at CANCUN FIESTA FRESH! also come on steamed corn tortillas, the way it should be. You can be a jackass and get hard tacos with shredded lettuce and cheese and so forth, but you might as well go to taco bell. Or most any other mexican joint in KC for that matter.

Tacos, rice and beans

Tacos

Chips & Salsa

The fish tacos are delicious as well. Lightly breaded whitefish served on corn tortillas, topped with a sweet and tangy shredded cabbage mixture. These are really really good. The refried beans at CANCUN FIESTA FRESH! are excellent as well, no doubt due to their use of lard. That’s why they always taste better in restaurants. Kind of like MSG in that respect. So this is a great lunch alternative to the host of other places in Westport. It doesn’t really have that dinner vibe, but it is open until very late–I think 2 or 3 a.m. at which point street tacos must be absolutely divine.

And dude, they also deliver.

Read more:

Cancun Fiesta Fresh on Urbanspoon

Yelp