It Takes A Village
It wasn’t all that long ago that going to dinner—or lunch for that matter—meant few inspiring dining options in Prairie Village.
It was easy to bypass the hamlet heading straight for the Plaza when looking for a restaurant.
That’s all changed.
Prairie Village now boasts a number of establishments that will make you fat and happy.
Thanks goes, in part, to Bread and Butter Concept’s owner, Alan Gaylin, throwing his hat into the ring with BRGR and Urban Table.
Fact is, Corinth is the location for both, making it easy to decide if it’s burger on bun or an evening of more expanded fare.
This discourse revolves around breakfast, lunch and dinner at Urban Table.
I generally ease into a fresh opening, letting it marinate and the bustle, ebb.
I was a lone ranger one morning when I thought the dust had been tamped since the restaurant’s opening last summer.
I’m sure to Mr. Gaylin’s delight, the place was hopping. It was 7:30ish, on a Tuesday. You would’ve thought it was black Friday with the hubbub and a line nearly out the door.
First, as a visual person, I couldn’t help but gloat over the interior.
I ordered quickly (no dallying) from the overhead menu brimming with fresh fruit, eggs, parfaits, oatmeal, etc. I paused to grab water from the big carafe filled with cucumbers, then continued to peruse the busy space with a mere 21 tables.
Neutral scheme, white subway tile, open kitchen, shared tables, some with industrial lighting overhead, cushy banquettes and then a surround of seating in the netherworld between outside and in.
I hiked over to a community table (in itself rather new in JoCo) then popped up onto a stool. “Great idea, maybe I’ll meet someone interesting,” I thought.
The place buzzed.
My server, pert and friendly, brought coffee and then my frittata ($8.50). A handsome slice, looked pretty appetizing...but it was cold.
Back it went to my bemused server, wilting.
The second try was much better.
Tastebud and I decided on dinner. It was fall, late and slightly chilly.
Seated outside/inside in the greenhouse, as I call it, we were cozy.
It’s a different scene entirely at Urban Table after 5. There’s a full-service menu instead of a fast encounter at the counter.
I decided on Shrimp Buena Terra ($10); Bruschetta for Tastebud ($13.50) “Oh, and a glass of Frog’s Leap chardonnay,” she added.
A big, white bowl up to the rim appeared with roasted corn, greens, bacon, tasty seared shrimp and buttermilk pesto dressing. It was perfect and tepid, the way it should be.
“This is swell,” said Tastebud, ogling her Bruschetta spread of bread dressed with various couplings. Creamy Brie and slivers of pear, goat cheese, beets and almonds, roasted chicken, apricot jam and Fontina, Gorgonzola, honey and olive oil.
“May I?” clearly begging. “I am your mother, after all.”
“Save me the Brie,” she eyeballed nervously.
Big, fat cibatta bread, an inch of exceptionally good pairings? Fat chance.
“This is really a dish for two, you know,” I said in my best parental mode.
A couple of Buds and I brought our out-of-towner here.
After ordering from a variety of soups, sammies and salads, we snuggled into a banquette. On either side we overheard juicy conversations mid-stream so we ramped ours. That’s partly what makes this place so lively—constant conversation.
“This is fun—kinda like New York or LA,” the visitor intoned.
“It’s not like Kansas City,” I thought but hey, that’s okay. We need new places that catch up to the coasts.
“That’s exactly what our intention was,” said Mr. Gaylin. “We like the idea of trying to emulate a bit of an urban feel into suburbia. It’s what we are; not where we are.”
In a warmer clime, gardens were bursting with bounty. Surely (then) chef Danny White had heirloom tomatoes hand-picked ($9.50). It was beyond good.
Since I am forever driving past this neighborhood, I gauge the parking lot to see if the fans still favor the fare.
Apparently, they do.
The New Year has brought a few changes with the new menu rollout but the concept, “Serving fresh, seasonal food hasn’t changed,” says Lauren Martin, the relatively new Executive Chef.
I have a friend who confesses she only orders the chocolate French toast—not sure how seasonal and sane that is, but Gaylin has made a friend for life with this dish.
I’m sure the lines will continue to form for breakfast and lunch. Dinner will be equally convivial.
The coffee’s good, dessert’s appealing and the entrees, even with a kink or two, aren’t deal-breakers. Mr. Gaylin and his concept are a hit in suburbia.
Listen and learn at your own community table. I’ll continue to do my share.
8232 Mission Road
Prairie Village, Kan.
Gloria Gale is an Overland Park-based food writer. “On the Menu” is not a restaurant review; rather, it is a summary of dining out across the metro area.