Back in Love with Gram & Dun
It was the perfect night! A beautiful, sunny Sunday evening greeted us as we returned to KC after spending the weekend at a friend’s wedding. My mind was filled with thoughts of eating Minsky’s cheeseburger pizza on the couch — one of my go-to cheat meals before getting back on the wagon Monday morning.
But then the Hubs suggested dinner on the patio at Gram & Dun. “Really!?”, I thought. It was a great night for outdoor dining and I DO love the beauty of the Country Club Plaza in the spring. But my last meal there hadn’t wowed me like the ones before. Like any smart wife, I know these opportunities of a husband willing to go gladly do exactly what I so often ask are not common. So to the Plaza we went.
And I’m SO very glad we did. It was one of the best meals I’ve had in Kansas City for some time!
The wait for the patio was going to be 15-20 minutes so we grabbed a seat at the bar, got some drinks and ordered our first appetizer. In trying to pick out a wine, the bartender quickly brought out three different bottles of white and poured a taste of each. We swirled and sipped and settled on a favorite. It was a nice touch and an extra step toward great customer service.
I knew exactly which appetizer I wanted because I saw it being served to a table as we walked it. The mini-monster meat on a bone just LOOKED fantastic. Its such an oxymoron because the “Asian Pig Wings” are a set of four plump pork shanks, seared and roasted on a small dainty bone. You just pick them up and eat it like a chicken wing.
They literally will fall right off the bone! It happened as I was biting into one and it nearly ended up in my lap. They were crispy outside with succulent rich meat inside. And the slightly sweet soy reducation was just right. But the pig wings weren’t the only cut of pork to steal my heart that night.
I’m already trying to devise my next opportunity to eat at Gram & Dun so I can indulge in the mind-blowing pork chop again. The meat was extremely tender and flavorful, really intense. The sauce was incredible on its own, but played the perfect supporting role for the chop. The brothy red wine reduction drew on the intense flavors of hamhocks, pork drippings, celery, carrot, onion and garlic.
Even as leftovers, the sprouts and chop were fantastic. And it easily makes for two meals. The chop meat was so good I was eating off the bone. And I picked off every morsel of light yet flavorful breading I could find on it. This is one of the best pork chops I have ever tasted. And my standards are high – only YiaYia’s or Grand Street Cafe made the cut until now.
The pork belly entrée was, again, wonderful. Definitely a better way to experience this cut than the small bites served on Gram & Dun’s pork belly appetizer. The seared belly has just the right proportion of fat to tender meat and is served over a nicely seasoned bed of beans. The simplicity of the pinto beans helps balance the richness of the dish.
Everything else the touched our table was top-notch too! The sweetbreads appetizer was quite well-rounded. The crispy, rich fried sweetbread chunks served atop the pretzel pieces were decadent but no overly “organ-tasting”. And the sweet and sour sauce was the perfect complement.
My salad is a new personal favorite now! The Jackson salad prepares romaine leaves in the most fantastic way – grilled. It’s then topped with a cider mustard vinaigrette, hearts of palm, bacon, blue cheese and artichoke hearts….yummm!
Our server was just fantastic, making great recommendations and keeping our drinks filled and table tidy. I can’t wait for another delicious meal on the beautiful Gram & Dun Patio!