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Story’s Soft-Shell Crabs (while they last)

It was probably one of the best unplanned dinners I’ve ever had. Normally when you experience an amazing meal of fine culinary prowess, you had it planned, made reservations well ahead, and had been anticipating a great meal.
But my dinner this week at Story, in Prairie Village, was a spur of the moment decision. You see I was heading home from work thinking about the ultra-healthy grilled chicken I was planning for dinner when I peeked at Twitter while stopped at a light. Just a few scrolls down and there it was – beautiful golden-fried soft shell crab topped with sweet corn.

It was as if Chef Carl had announced it to all the Twitter-verse yet spoke it specifically to me: Soft-shell crab season wasn’t quite over.

You see, I took my family to eat at Story in early summer and the soft-shell crabs had just arrived. At our servers suggestion, we ordered one as an appetizer and loved it so much we got another! It was a highlight of the meal.

So there I am driving home with  a grocery sack of just purchased chicken breast next to me and all I can think about is the amazing soft-shell crab that others would be eating at Story that night. And I knew this had to be the last ones of the season.

“Should I go? Well I already had dinner in hand. Can’t I save the chicken for another night? Yes, but what about the clean-eating I had pledged for this week? I had no one to go with. But I’m a big girl and I can dine alone, right?”

The thoughts just wouldn’t leave my head. I walked into the house, sat the chicken on the counter and stood frozen. “I’m a confident, childless foodie, whose husband is outta town,” I thought. “Why in the world wouldn’t I go eat an amazing preparation of a very limited delicacy before it was too late?!?!”

So I drove the half-hour South and got a table for one by the window. I soon realized I was lucky to get such a nice seat. The dining room was nearly full on a Tuesday night. From there my evening just kept getting better.

I was presented a special wine list of higher-end bottles that were being featured at a discount. The best part was they were available in a 2-ounce taste, by the glass or by the bottle. So I started off with a glass of the 2002 Pierre Peters Blanc de Blancs. It was phenomenal!

Soon I had what I came for. A lightly dusted and perfectly topped masterpiece of crab. A fresh relish of sweet corn, zucchini and mint topped off the marvelous creature which sat over a lemon creme fresh. Wow! It was everything I had hoped for – rich yet light and balanced with the fresh corn relish.

I may have to go back for more this weekend. Chef Carl said he would be serving the soft-shell crab Friday and Saturday. After that its anybody’s guess. You might have to wait till next summer to try this plate of pure pleasure!

I could have packed up and gone home a happy camper after that dish. But, ya know, I drove a half hour and have a hard time resisting great food. So I went for a second course.

That presented me with the unexpected indulgence of the night – the foie gras. It wasn’t on the menu last time I was there and I was excited about it being back. (Thanks heavens our fair city hasn’t tried to outlaw it.)
Just reading the preparation, I wasn’t overly excited but decided it was likely worth the adventure. Peaches aren’t really my idea of the optimal pairing for foie gras. But boy was I in for an experience!!

These Missouri peaches alone were absolutely impeccable. I’ve never had better. And the foie gras was just as impressive. Delicately perched on a mini slice of brioche, the liver was perfectly seared and accompanied by a few strokes of honey smeared onto the plate. The first bite was like no other. Ethereal and provacative! Smooth and rich! Savory and succulent! It was heaven. I closed my eyes and took in all the flavor and delight.

Well as you might expect, I didn’t end the dinner there either. I ordered a glass of the featured cabernet and had some short ribs. An excellent choice if I do say so myself. Wonderful food, outstanding service and a lavish treat that came from a Tuesday night craving.

In the end, dining alone was actually a blessing in disguise. You see, the problem with having an amazing meal in the company of others is that you have to take your attention away from the food and be polite when they talk.

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