Three Little Pigs
Pig & Finch is now roosting in the space previously occupied by Trezo Vino in Park Place.
Actually, I thought Trezo Vino was pretty good – until it wasn’t anymore, then poof, it vanished.
I suppose that’s when Iowa restauranteur Jimmy Lynch started eyeballing the space. He makes no bones that the Leawood demographic is a perfect match. And with his 801 Chophouse such a hit next door, why not try something new?
“A first for us,” confirmed Jacob Westland, general manager of the new Pig & Finch. “And for us,” we said, politely herding inside.
Pig & Finch is billed as a “gastropub.” Translation: pairing the right food with the right beverage.
Even before we were seated, we admired the ambiance: “Homey, not Cracker Barrel-homey, but Crate & Barrel-homey,” I said, admiring the dark woods, good views, soft lighting, even a long chef’s table — all in all, very pleasant.
We were seated at a table within eyeshot to the open kitchen. Bustling. As was the room, busy for a Tuesday night with loads of servers who all seemed to know what they were doing. Good sign.
Soon, our server, Nick, greeted us. We schmoozed, reviewed the menu, then Piggy No. 1 piped she was ready to imbibe. Her choice, a glass of “If You See Kay,” an interesting moniker for a juicy, smooth Italian cabernet. Piggy No. 2 chose a glass of pinot from Toad Hollow she noted as “silky.”
Travis Pyle, chef du cuisine, introduced himself and handed us bacon nut brittle pub snacks bagged in clear cellophane ($6). Then he proceeded to explain the concept as I took a bite of the sweet and salty treat: “Our menu features a blend of French and British with a dollop of American.”
We snacked on the brittle until bites of oozy Camembert croquettes with pickled apple arrived.
“There’s no reason for bread when you have something savory and sweet to stave off hunger, is there?” sniffed one Pig, dipping into the piquant Maderia mustard ($10).
That was until a healthy-sized bowl of steaming P.E.I. mussels appeared. The gaping bi-valves drenched in delectable Saison Dupont broth made us all whine, “OK, where’s the bread?” ($14).
Suddenly, Chef Travis plated us with a piping bowl of gnocchi.
“Hey, we haven’t even ordered entrees yet,” I said. “What do you think we are anyway, little piggies?”
“Outta this world,” uttered Piggy No. 2, scooping the light-as-air potato puffs napped in a truly decadent mushroom truffle cream sauce ($13).
“Last time I attempted to make gnocchi it was a disaster,” I confessed. “It’s like Chinese food ... why bother when it’s so much easier to make reservations?”
I rallied when my duck cassolet, a white beans, kale, chicken and duck confit, arrived. Succulent was an understatement for this hearty dish ($22). It was big enough for two, so everyone tasted and nodded positively.
Piggy No. 1’s lamb shank accompanied by a mélange of winter vegetables was fall-off-the-bone tender ($26).
“Baa baa,” we trilled.
“I’m concentrating,” said Piggy No. 2 as she savored a meaty, 1-inch-thick pork chop accompanied by Brussels sprouts hash, potato croquette and Madeira mustard ($24). “You’ll have to wait,” she dismissed us with a wave.
Then, Nick appeared and asked No. 1 if she’d like a cocktail straw.
“For what?” she countered.
“To drill out the marrow,” he smiled, pointing to the sturdy shank bone on her plate.
She was game and the expedition ensued.
“Any luck there, Indiana Jones?” I asked. The foraging continued for awhile until dessert distracted her. We sighed in relief.
And with that, Nick brought us dunkable doughnut holes and tangy lemon curd plus three tiramisu gelato and chocolate truffle-sauced profiteroles ($9 and $8). Need we say more?
We were three adorable little pigs when we entered but, at evening’s end, we were neither little nor adorable.
Ready to bid adieu, we firmly agreed that Lynch and company has a solid hit on their hands.
“Goodnight, it was truly delicious,” we squealed to our hosts. “We’ll be back soon.”
And with that, we huffed and puffed all the way home.
Pig & Finch
11570 Ash St.
Gloria Gale is an Overland Park-based food writer. “On the Menu” is not a restaurant review, it is a summary of dining out in the metro area.
photos: Steve Puppe