Archive for January, 2010

January 6, 2010

My ratings might seem a bit odd, so I feel the need to clarify.  I don’t consider every restaurant to be on the same scale and therefore don’t rate them on the same scale.  For instance,  you might be a bit surprised to see that I rated Tin Can higher than Justus Drugstore.  Is the food better there?  No, it’s not even close.  Justus Drugstore is fine dining, and I will rate it on the same scale as I would Niche in St. Louis.  Tin Can is rated on the same scale as other taverns/bars/diners would be.  It’s great, but it’s great for what it is.  I didn’t have high expectations going in to Tin Can like I did when I went to Justus.  Hope this helps you not think I’m crazy. 🙂


A Review of Justus Drugstore

January 6, 2010

I took a trip recently to Kansas City for a fun night and my choice for dinner was an easy one. We headed over to Smithville and dined at Justus Drugstore. It was opened a few years ago by Jonathan Justus and his wife Camille. He’s a big farm-to-table and eat-local guy. I watched a cook pour local Shatto milk straight from a glass jar into a sauce and was sold.

Though Smithville is a bit out of the way, this place is worth it. It’s in a building that use to be a drugstore operated by Jonathan’s family. It manages to have both a modern and antiquated feel to it at the same time. The bar area is where the old soda fountain used to be and some old fixtures remain to add to the ambience. It’s a bit loud, but cozy and enjoyable nonetheless.

We were lucky enough to have Jonathan’s wife Camille as our server and she was out of this world. She really knew her stuff and was fun to talk to. She seemed very genuine and even brought us seconds on the bread that she bakes in-house every day.

Now to the food. We started with an amuse-bouche of a sous vide Kobe beef croustade with a horseradish cream and unidentifiable but delicious green sauce. It was sliced thinly which helped mask the potentially mushy texture that sous-vide can produce, but was very tender and cooked a perfect medium-rare.

Next course we had salads, the first of which was a curly endive salad mustard vinaigrette, berkshire bacon ‘lardon’, breaded soft boiled egg, smoked trout roe, truffle oil. This is a “breakfast” salad with bacon and eggs. The breaded soft-boiled egg was amazing, with a golden fried exterior and a yolk that runneth over. Delicious and rich. The second salad was a goat cheese salad with Berkshire bacon wrapped local goat cheese, thyme, rosemary, white wine shallot vinaigrette, mixed greens, apple and brioche crostini. This was my favorite of the two. It was the lighter of the two, but the bacon wrapped goat cheese helped make it rich still. The vinaigrette was one of the best I’ve had, a perfect balance of sweet and tart.

The main courses were: pan seared bass filet, smoked tomato, Berkshire bacon, basil, lemon confit cream, bass/risotto cake, pea tendrils and his famous Berkshire Pork 2 ways with a grilled pork ribeye, braised pork shoulder, elderberry/Norton verjus/house sweet vermouth, cauliflower gratin, bok choy. To start with the bass, it was perfectly cooked and the risotto cake was really interesting. It was sauced well and had a nice touch of acid, which I particularly enjoy with fish dishes. I think the pork was the star though. When I first took a bite of the pork ribeye, I giggled. I’m not much of a giggler by nature, but I tasted that melt-in-your-mouth perfect pig with the Norton sauce and it was beyond words. The shoulder was also very good, but nothing compared to that ribeye.

I was stuffed, really stuffed. But with me being me, I got dessert anyway. We got the Crêpe Napoleon, which is a chocolate crêpe with pumpkin custard, Boulevard’s Bob’s 47 ice cream and pecan brittle. It was good enough, but came on a teeny-tiny little tea plate. I probably wouldn’t get dessert again because after the meal they brought out a nice warm mulled wine, which they make in house and is excellent.

8/10 – Not quite as good as Niche, but in my opinion a close second for best restaurant in Missouri.