Westport Cafe & Bar
It was a sunny December afternoon and I was meeting up with a few girlfriends for a late birthday celebration. Being the guest of honor this time, I had chosen to get our gang together at Westport Cafe & Bar. Despite having opened a year and half earlier and hearing great feedback, it was sadly my first time to dine there.
I had been to the location many times when it housed the original Blanc Burgers – a fantastic KC gourmet burger spot. But gone were the white walls, bright booths and contemporary decor. I walked into a room that appeared full of Kansas City history. Located on Westport Road just a few steps from Broadway, Westport C&B holds a rich atmosphere – a cross between a french cafe and old fashioned bar with exposed brick, oversized ornate mirror behind the bar and small round tables with scrollback chairs.
I was the first of our group to arrive, so I chose a cozy table halfway back into the narrow room. I settled into the corner and immediately began studying the cocktail list, one of the accolades most often cited for this place. The choices were great. Time-honored cocktails alongside new and original mixtures, so many of them jumping off the page with creativity. I took the recommendation of the waitress and ordered one of the house specialty cocktails, but had my eye on a drink that only came by the pitcher. Lucky for me to have such fun girlfriends, that was our next round – Pimm’s Sparkling Sangria! It was the perfect drink for a birthday outing with the gals.
A couple of my girlfriends had dined there before and suggested we get the ravioli as an appetizer. It definitely lived up to their description. The rectangular pastas were filled with savory cheese and topped with little peas then bathed in a lightly creamy sauce. They were full of flavor, rich and delicate. We also enjoyed the chicken liver and foie gras mousse. Served in a glass mason jar alongside picked red onions and arugula, the presentation was colorful and fun. I slathered the mixture atop the crusty baguette slices and went to town!
Our server was wonderful. She recognized early on that we were there to relax, catch up and take our time. She was quite knowledgeable of both the cocktail and lunch menus and helped us select some wonderful dishes.
My friends had soup as their middle course – one a curried carrot and the other a split pea. Both said they were great! With bright color and an enticing aroma, the soup is definitely on my list to order next time I’m there.
For an entree, I orderd the seafood bouillabaisse. It was superb with delicate seafood in a lightly seasoned broth. The grilled bread that came with it was the perfect accompaniment. My friends had salads, very large portions which they said were great. But the star of the show that day were definitely the pommes frites. These amazingly done fries were perfection on a plate! The were thin and crispy, but still had substance inside. Salted just enough to bring out the golden potato flavor and served with both ketchup and an herbed mayo. Yum-yum-yum! I want more just thinking about them. It’s funny that a side as common as french fries can be so refined and gratifying that they crown a meal with their simplicity.
After being spoiled with this magnificent meal, I couldn’t believe I had waited more than a year to try out Westport C&B. It’s definitely one of the best two places in town for French cuisine (the other can be found in the Rivermarket) and I won’t wait long to return for more enchanting cocktails, delightfully decadent appetizers and those spectacular, incomparable fries!