Hotel Sorella and the Rosso Restaurant in Kansas City's Country Club Plaza - a gorgeous, sleek restaurant with playful, rich, and romantic meals and tons of flavor in one of Kansas City's prettiest Boutique hotels.
I was recently in Kansas City for a retreat with other food and craft bloggers called the Blog Escape- a really fun and informative time to network, share ideas, and relax with other bloggers.
While there, the Hotel Sorella invited us to lounge by their gorgeous rooftop pool and come for one of the most delicious meals I have ever had in Kansas City, in the Hotel's top-floor restaurant, Rosso.
Rosso overlooks Ward Parkway in Kansas City's well-heeled Country Club Plaza area - making a gorgeous and inspiring view over the river.
The first thing we noticed as we stepped into Hotel Sorella's gorgeous boutique lobby was the incredibly stylish, sleek lobby and unique artwork.
We settled in to Rosso's Vino Room and sipped strawberry-infused Rossotinis, French 75's, and pretty perfectly sweet mocktails, while we watched the sun dance around the gorgeous homes across Ward and turn everything a lovely coral blush.
After a short introduction to Chef Charles d'Ablaing, the new head of the revamped restaurant, we were transported through his bright, beautiful and playful menu.
We ordered items that caught our eyes as our attentive waiter brought us some of their favorites - everything was rich, delicious, and definitely drool-worthy.
Chef has a fantastic eye - the plates were all works of art.
As the crab cakes came to the table, Chef greeted us and let us know a bit more about his background and passion for the southern food he grew up on, while letting us know a bit about some of the dishes we’d be experiencing.
Chef noted the highlights of a Savannah-style crab cake in contrast to Maryland-style patties (less binder and breading, finer texture, more intense crab flavor) and talked a bit about his plans for future menu directions (an exclusively french cheese and charcuterie plate, for starters).
Calamari, cut steak-style, is not always an easy thing to find on menus - but it should be. Rosso’s kitchen prepares them in a light, fluffy batter that lets the squid’s flavor break through - and kicks up the dish’s heat with the addition of jalapeños for a sort of midwestern take on spicy Rhode Island style calamari (which I curiously only see in southern bars, but I digress.)
The Drunken Meatballs, as Chef was quick to point out, were a favorite at Rosso before he began his tenure- and were so popular the kitchen didn’t dare eliminate them.
I can easily see why- the meatballs were tender and had a well-spiced flavor that was everything you wish meatballs could be, curiously placed over a bed of grits (which admittedly, threw me for a bit of a loop, but after few bites made complete sense.)
I made my friends laugh a bit indulging in the meatballs - the grits flavor wasn’t immediately apparent, but quickly fills your mouth with a comforting salty kick of cheese.
It seriously changes flavor as you eat the dish (which gave me a chance to ooh, aaah, and mmmmmm a few times each bite)- each bite was different in a delicious new way, thanks to the interactions between the tangy tomato sauce and creamy corn.
I let our waiter know about my mustard allergy (my eyes and lips swell when I eat mustard - I don’t always get a reaction, but as we were heading out to a pretty rural retreat home I didn’t want to take any chances needing a benadryl IV later that evening) so they made sure the salads didn’t have the standard dressing or mustarda accompanying them.
I chose the burrata, adorned with a citrus glaze as well as fresh blueberries and served over crunchy endive. It was a bit more solid than many burratas I’ve had, which worked well with the endive’s crunchier structure (I imagine eating a gooier burrata, the kind that oozes all over after reading into the ball of cheese, would be a bit cumbersome with a crisp endive salad and berries. The slight firmness was definitely an asset here.)
My friends also picked an impeccably colorful beet salad, a delicious walnut and fruit salad, and a deconstructed caesar with small sardines whimsically perched at the side of the salad plate. It was hard to hear any reactions as everyone was pretty silent as they tucked in meal after meal - one of the only times we were quiet all weekend (which I take as a rave review!)
The scallops, delicately perched atop a bed of creamy risotto adorned with melted cheese, greens, and cauliflower was a standout of the meal.
While my friends tucked into deliciously tender steaks in a red wine sauce, I had a hard time holding back my enthusiasm for these large, buttery medallions.
It seems a bit of an odd choice to order scallops in a city known for it’s commitment to all things BBQ and beef (not to mention the lack of non-chaffered fresh seafood) - but Chef did not disappoint. They were salty and sweet - and the risotto underneath was perfectly cooked without being too al dente or overly mushy.
The monkfish, which I sadly was a bit too slow to taste, looked whimsical wrapped in bacon, over a sea of crawfish swimming in a creamy sauce ringing the plate. My friend Alexis from Persia Lou said it was every bit as good as she hoped for, and the “poor man’s lobster” moniker fit perfectly.
The flourless chocolate cake was SO rich (I'll admit, it was a touch hard to eat because it is so rich - like a giant truffle) but perfectly balanced and not overly sweet.
I ended my meal with the Saint Germain freestanding creme brûlée - easily one of the best creme brûlées I have ever eaten. It was crunchy, creamy, sweet, and velvety - and incredibly fun to eat the custard without a clunky ramekin.
We finished up where we started the day- overlooking the rooftop pool, where we watched a gorgeous sunset and headed out to our retreat house for the weekend- and dreamt of the delicious meal we had all weekend long!
The night was incredibly perfect - one I'd love to experience again next time I am in Kansas City.
If you find yourself in Kansas City in the Country Club Plaza area, I would certainly head to Rosso for an amazing meal you won't soon forget!