Armed with a culinary education from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, Chef John Westerhaus uses classical techniques and international flavors to create refined American cuisine. His inspiration stems from a deep love for the simple menus of Parisian sidewalk cafés. For starters, a chipotle-spiked hollandaise sauce blankets a plate of smoked salmon and corn cakes, and garlic-ginger dipping sauce graces lobster spring rolls. For entrees, the restaurant's chefs demonstrate their mastery of traditional American cuisine by grilling rib eyes, Kansas City–style strip steaks, and trout fillets over a pile of smoldering baseballs.
Purple booths and napkins add a splash of color to the dining room's gently lit earth tones. Stone walls divide the dining area from the kitchen, and two walls of floor-to-ceiling windows separate the restaurant from the outside world. To keep things lively indoors, the restaurant hosts live performances by local musicians Wednesday–Sunday, serenading diners with cool jazz and gentle R&B melodies.
Tucked inside the lobby of the Overland Park Marriott Hotel, Nikko Japanese Steakhouse's chefs gracefully twirl their gleaming steel utensils and flip vegetables through the air while cooking filet mignon, teriyaki salmon, and scallops at each tabletop griddle. Traditional teppanyaki cooking is the foundation of the menu, which features seared morsels of steak and fresh seafood cooked before your very eyes instead of inside a magician's hat. Away from the sizzling action, the sleek sushi bar houses deft chefs slicing fresh sashimi and rolling ingredients into flavorful combinations, such as the spider roll's soft-shell crab, smelt roe, and avocado. Behind a second bar, the servers replace sushi with shakers of freshly squeezed fruit-juice cocktails and hot and cold pours of sake. Nikko Japanese Steakhouse also recently completed a renovation.
On street corners from Texas to North Carolina, Johnny Brusco's Pizza serves up piping-hot slices of New York, and that's not whistling Dixie. It's not even kazooing Yankee. The franchise boasts a lineage that stretches back to 1965, when pie-smith Johnny Pace opened up his pizzeria just outside of Syracuse. Though the menu stays true to Johnny's classic style, today's crust-tossers aren't afraid to switch things up in modern style. Gluten-watchers can dig into a flour-free variant of the crust, and their specialties include such daring choices as a cream cheese pizza, a Philly-esque steak and cheese, and a zesty gourmet pie with spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, black olives, and artichokes. Outside of the round stuff, diners might select a summery strawberry-pecan salad, a classic plate of bruschetta with pesto, mozzarella, and marinara sauce, and a finger-licking dessert of cinna-knots.
Red leather booths line the walls of Paddy O’Shays’ low-lit red-and-black dining room, perfectly poised to soak up tunes from the local musicians—such as Samantha Fish and Platinum Express band—who jam every weekend. Back in the kitchen, the house smoker infuses chicken with hearty flavor rather than proposing menu suggestions via smoke signal, creating fodder for signature entrees such as the smoked chicken breast in Guinness barbecue glaze and fettuccine tossed with smoked chicken. Patrons can also sate appetites with ground-beef or veggie burgers, and sandwiches stuffed with shrimp, grilled mahi-mahi, and locally made spicy sausage. Strategically placed TV screens stream sports amid the eatery’s collection of Kansas City memorabilia, and pours from the full-service bar—ranging from pomegranate martinis to beer and wine—complement meals with distinct, complex flavors.
Helmed by hot-dog enthusiast and veteran restaurateur Will Brown, New York Dawg Pound nestles its inimitable creations inside freshly baked buns in a lively establishment accented by graffiti art, wall murals, and arcade games. Nathan?s 100% all-beef franks, Johnsonville brats, and Hillshire Farm polish sausages are doled out alongside herbivorous delights such as a roasted-carrot Dawg and a chipotle black-bean veggie patty. The comfort-fare emporium also houses toppings that run the gamut from four types of mustard to Chicago-style accoutrements in the form of pickles, onions, tomatoes, and tiny Bears jerseys made out of celery salt. Diners can select from a bevy of sides, such as sweet-potato waffle fries and onion straws, while sipping fountain or bottled Pepsi products.
Earthy aromas from fresh-brewed beverages greet guests at the door of Le Peep, hinting at the espresso-based creations that await inside?Colombian house coffee, specialty blends, or the flavor of the day. Beyond coffee, the staff also sweetens cups with fruit smoothies. These handcrafted drinks accompany a menu of breakfast and lunch fare dominated by omelets and sandwiches. Whipped eggs arrive studded with fresh veggies or chorizo sausage, and half-pound burgers come layered with Cajun bacon, weighing down tables so that they don't have to be anchored in place by linens made of iron.