American Slang Modern Brasserie is a Must Try For Everybody
Inside the InterContinental, American Slang makes its mark.
I’ve always liked hotel bars. There’s something comforting in the pretension-less bartenders that tend to staff them: I can plop down wearing sweatpants or a formal gown without feeling out of place, and I order anything from a dry martini to a Long Island iced tea without a shred of shame, and I can expect no judgement or side-eye.
This sanctioned lack of decorum could be mourned, I suppose, if we considered the downward spiral of hotel bars and restaurants over the last several decades. At one time in America, hotel bars and restaurants were the pinnacle of society — glamorous places where the celebrities and the jet-set circle could see and be seen, where classic cocktails were born and named. A few of these places remain: The King Cole Bar at the St. Regis New York, the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans and Bar Hemingway at the Ritz Paris.
In today’s burgeoning, the cocktail and dining scene, has shifted I’m more likely to flock to a local bartender for a craft cocktail or dine at a chef-owned restaurant committed to local ingredients than dine at an establishment largely for out-of-towners. After all, when was the last time someone praised an exceptional steak dinner at a hotel restaurant?
But an exceptional steak dinner was what I found at American Slang Modern Brasserie located inside the InterContinental Kansas City at the Plaza. I also encountered gorgeous salads, cocktails made by dependable hands and one of the best omelets of my life. American Slang may not have the history of the hotel bars and restaurants it evokes, though it puts on a good face: the black-and-white checkered floor, the marble bar, the velvet-upholstered chairs lead guests to imagine the view before them is not the Plaza, but rather a lively Parisian neighborhood.
At American Slang, breakfast is served daily, with a swanky Sunday brunch. All the classics are present: buttermilk pancakes; three eggs Benedict options; the standard breakfast plate of eggs ’n’ bacon served with French flair.
Vanilla battered french toast
It’s all good. My vanilla-battered French toast ($12) came in stout wedges of brioche with a side of warm syrup and a ramekin of butter that melted perfectly onto the bouncy carb cushions.
There are three omelets, starring a “de la mer” offering ($19) with gruyere, mushrooms, shallots and lobster. Bright-red lobster flesh poked out from the edges, tangled up in oozy cheese, tasting even better than it looked.
Executive chef Drue Kennedy’s resume includes stints at Grand Street Café, Seasons 52 and Lawrence’s The Eldridge Hotel. Kennedy’s vision for American Slang is French recipes given a fresh spin.
omelet de la mer
This is evident in the seasonal charcuterie and cheese board, mixing local and European flavors — and the rare yellowfin tuna salad, reinvigorating the traditional Niçoise. Despite the restaurant’s Francophile spirit, Kennedy seems equally open to inspiration from the rest of Europe.
The goat cheese croquettes ($8) are splendid: golden patties of tangy chevre complemented by an herb vinaigrette. Order the roasted beet and heirloom carrot salad ($14) for one of those warm croquettes cresting root vegetables, mixed greens and a vinaigrette.
Lunch has three poultry entrees, with two available for dinner. I ordered the chicken mushroom ($24). Tender chicken breast bathed in white wine gravy and morel mushrooms with a side of haricot vert.
There are two burger choices: the customary Slang burger, and the sumptuous brasserie burger ($16), with bacon, arugula, chèvre, onion jam and a juicy heirloom tomato slice. The art of the burger is alive and well at American Slang.
But what Kennedy recommends is the steak frites, with choice of three cuts. The steaks: dry-aged and locally sourced, are simply seasoned and with generous round of herbed butter. Few things are satisfying as a steak done right and I relished every bite of my medium-rare filet.
In the end, it’s not just the food itself that makes American Slang such an unexpected hit. As I leaned back into my dining chair, observing the Plaza from the terrace, it struck me how easy it was to enjoy the food and the company and the wine. American Slang lets you escape — even if it’s just for the span of a meal.
American Slang Modern Brasserie at the InterContinental Kansas City on the Country Club Plaza, 401 Ward Parkway. Open Sunday - Thursday, 6:30 a.m. - 10 p.m., Friday - Saturday, 6:30 a.m. - 11 p.m. www.americanslangrestaurant.com.