After a trip to South America, restaurateur Sam Silvio was smitten with the desire to open his own churrascaria and began drawing up plans to that end with fellow restaurateur and brother Nick Silvio. Em Chamas sprang from this endeavor and now stands ready to dazzle diners with a continuous procession of meats grilled and skewered gaucho style. For a churrascaria experience at home, the restaurant packs and ships many of its authentic meats to doorsteps throughout the country. Family grill masters can dress up backyard barbecues with the gourmet flavors of Certified Angus Beef Pichana steaks and signature Brazilian linguica, while family sword masters can play passadore with something other than a prized teddy bear, for a change.
At the restaurant, two-course excursions begin with a trip to the gourmet buffet bar, where visitors sift through more than 30 culinary presentations including Brazilian and American fare, seafood dishes, and salads. Once guests flip their table's coin to the "bring it" side, passadores begin dancing out with various cuts of wood-fired meat?including top sirloin stuffed with provolone, bacon-wrapped chicken, Brazilian pork sausage, and caramelized pit ham?which they hand carve according to each eater's specified knife angle. To indicate satiation, diners simply flip the coin over or rip their napkin into the shape of a stop sign.
Salt-encrusted prime rib and a 10-ounce top sirloin, created from certified Angus beef hand-cut in house, depart the kitchen of Rumors Steakhouse daily to delight diner palates. Filet mignon can enter the dining room stag or accompanying crab legs or lobster. Sandwiches, entree salads, and four desserts round out Rumors Steakhouse's extensive menu, which diners can savor while sinking into the red leather seats surrounding the dining room's circular tables. Guests can also recline in a private dining area, a flat-screen-television-equipped lounge, or two outdoor patios boasting uninhibited amounts of oxygen.
It's not just the diners that socialize at Mingle?the small plates rub shoulders too. Shareable, stick-to-your-ribs dishes such as bacon cheddar chicken on creamy mashed potatoes, drunken sliders braised in Sierra Nevada Stout, and Buffalo Trace bourbon meatballs top tables alongside lighter bites like a vegetarian florentine flatbread or a goat cheese salad topped with dried cherries, walnuts, and avocado slices. Any space left is reserved for an equally diverse lineup of drinks?the bar boasts as many as 130 unique beers, 20+ wines, 30 bourbons, and specialty cocktails. But the fun at Mingle doesn't just come from the mixing and matching of the shareable snacks: DJs spin tunes every weekend, and open mic nights attract local musicians and the area's best yodelers.
Add some sepia tone and photo grain, and a snapshot of Hereford House could make it pass for an old Western saloon. But the photo would actually be of a modern steak house that churns out aged steaks, seafood, and ribs—the same fare that put Kansas City meat markets on the map at the turn of the century. In the dinner menu, most everything walks across the grill before being served. The steak oscar entree eschews the barriers that separate land from sea by teaming up a 6-ounce filet mignon with jumbo lump crab pilfered from crustacean birthday parties and pan-seared to perfection. Juicy tenderloin medallions come smothered in red-wine demi glace, and oven-roasted cuts of salmon arrive in pools of garlic herb butter.
When sisters Wendy Baldwin and Jill Rickart walked around downtown Excelsior Springs, they didn't see any restaurants good enough to take both friends and coworkers. They both liked to cook, so, instead of crying into an onion about it, they built their dream—a restaurant that's upscale yet down-to-earth and serves hearty American dishes with a gourmet flair. PBS's Check, Please! is glad the sisters didn't turn their back on good eating (the show recommends the raisin-free bread pudding.) Regulars favor the Tuscany pasta with sundried tomatoes, artichokes, and feta, and Jill prefers the gourmet veggie sandwich, a stack of roasted red peppers, portobellos, spinach, mozzarella, and provolone on toasted sourdough. "I'm not even vegetarian!" she says.Though the food draws people in, Jill says the service and ambiance brings them back again and again. Both owners make a point to mingle with customers and get to know regulars (they occasionally wait tables). The building, with its brick walls, hardwood floors, and original 1890s tin ceiling, is often likened to a European bistro. On Friday and Saturday evenings, a piano player tickles the ivories, and guests in search of further entertainment can hit up the nearby Hall of Waters or Elms Hotel, where Harry Truman first heard the news of his presidential victory before he rushed off to perform his acceptance operetta.
As the doors to Gaslight Grill's back room swing open, the sounds of Dixeland jazz and the aromas of sizzling Angus steaks waltz forward together to greet guests. Lynn Zimmer and the Jazz Band play rollicking tunes from the 30s and 40s on Wednesday?Sunday nights as diners tap their fingers across the surfaces of menus filled with hand-cut steaks, pistachio-crusted salmon, and jumbo prawns drizzled in beurre blanc. More than 200 wines complement meats from land and sea, and a nimble barkeep dishes out mixed drinks and jetpack fuel for the ride home. It might be difficult to say goodbye, however, to a stately dining room lined with plush booths and illuminated by twin chandeliers.