435 Kansas City’s Magazine
OK, JJ’s is not exactly new to the KC dining scene, but when this venerable favorite came back triumphantly from a gas-explosion tragedy in a brand-new space, this fair phoenix seemed like a brand-new restaurant. Housed in the Polsinelli Building on the Country Club Plaza, JJ’s offers a bit of new luster and a lot of the old charms and dishes that made it rightfully famous. Though priceless cellar bottles were lost in the explosion, owner Jimmy Frantze has even resurrected JJ’s prestigious wine list, which again won a Wine Spectator Grand Award. The vibrant paintings of local artist Mike Savage still grace the space, including the boisterous bar, and the famous Paco Shrimp appetizer remains on the menu and probably will into perpetuity. You can feast delicately on Ahi tuna, flown in fresh; wild mushroom toast with sauteed foraged mushrooms atop brioche with mascarpone; a pear and Stilton salad; and lobster, shrimp and goat cheese purses enrobed in phyllo with a basil beurre blanc — perfect for ladies who lunch. Or go more boardroom-style with a power dinner of grilled pork chop, a ceremonial rack of lamb, chicken Marsala, or butter-roasted lobster tail. The classic “JJ’s Pride” (a porcini mushroom-rubbed filet served atop roasted garlic mashed potatoes with asparagus and a veal demi-glace) also remains on the nostalgic, old-school menu. But this restaurant and menu are also forward-looking. Where else can you feast on Texas wild boar ragu braised in Burgundy wine with pancetta and pecorino romano over fettuccine? Just try to save room for the rum cake or a wedge of the New York-style cheesecake.