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Tannin Wine Bar

TanninShawarma

My visit to Tannin Wine Bar was my first of many reservations I made for Kansas City Restaurant Week. While it was moderately good, I hoped I had saved the best for last.

Excited to try some new places during Restaurant Week (KCRW), I met up with friends for a weekday lunch at Tannin. I had enjoyed JP Wine Bar when it was at this downtown location. An easy stop with a great wine list, it always made for wonderful happy hours. I was sad when restaurant closed and was unsure why since I knew so many people that loved the place. So when I saw that Tannin had opened and heard it was a similar concept, I put  it on my list to try. I was hoping it would be just as good.

Since KCRW benifits Harvesters, I wanted to try food from the Restaurant Week menu which I was pleased to see  included standard fare from the regular menu (not something special that normally isn’t served). In addition, I wanted to taste something not on RW menu just to ensure I’m getting a sense of whether I like the food I normally order, not just those items on special.

Bypassing the blue cheese nachos, we started with the crab dip. It was truly the most disappointing part of the meal, a sad way to begin. The dip was basically void of flavor with the oversized bacon garnish as it’s only redeeming value. The bland bowl of creamy white had the consistency of a thick soup with little flecks of green herbs mixed in. I’m not sure what kind of herbs since I couldn’t taste them at all. There were small bits of crab that seems to be drowning in the boring ocean of dairy.

Luckily our meal improved from that point. The Truffled Mushroom Cream Soup had been calling my name since I saw it on the KCRW website and it also came at the recommendation of the waitress. It was very nice, warm and savory. The creamy smooth blend had a smokey mild flavor. It was served with a soft, warm, cheese covered baguette slice, great for dipping. My friends really liked the beet salad, bright and colorful with mandarin oranges, walnuts and brie on top.  

The main course was a tough decision between the chicken shawarma and the burger. I’m one who likes to sample and, lucky for me, my friends offered a taste of their chicken so I settled on the burger. The fries were really the better part of the main course. They had the look of handcut fries – the kind with the skin still on – with bits of seasalt and parmesan clinging to each. There was a bit of greasy aftertaste, but that was well-disguised with a little dip into the delicious garlic aioli. The thick burger was topped with perfectly crisp bacon but didn’t live up to my expectations. For Wagyu beef, this patty was rather flavorless as if no seasonings were used. I really didn’t care to have a third or fourth bite.

My friend’s chicken shawarma was quite yummy. The soft pita was filled with hummus, well-spiced chicken, cucumbers, tomatoes and feta. It was a great combination, nice and simple. I would order this pretty plate again.

Service was okay at Tannin. The waitress was somewhat slower in returing to the table early on than you would hope for a weekday lunch. And she stacked the plates to be cleared off the table on top of one another, right in front of us, silverware clanking and protruding from her fists. The food came out rather quickly and our drinks were refilled regularly.

While Tannin wasn’t my best dining experience of late, I would go back to try it out for happy hour or a pre-dinner drink. The wine list appeared to be very nice and sometimes it’s best if you just know a restaurant’s strength and play to it. A wine flight, a few appetizers – maybe something with that wonderful garlic aioli – and of course good friends could be just what your night requires.

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