I think it's only fitting that the first post on my blog is about a restaurant that has quickly become one of my favorites in Kansas City, if not THE favorite. This quaint Brookside establishment boasts one of the top chefs in Midwest, Celina Tio.
Since opening Julian in 2009, Chef Tio has certainly made a name for herself in Kansas City. She competed on Food Network's Next Iron Chef, where she tied for 3rd with Asian-Fusion extraordinaire and celebrity chef, Ming Tsai and was recently named the First Lady of Kansas City by the mayor of Kansas City.
Without further ado, here is what Jessica and I had at the Episode 2 watch party.
We started out with a bottle of 2008 Napa Cellars Pinot Noir. This is such a delicate Pinot but gives you a lot of bang for the buck. It is just a great bottle of wine. Some berry notes and a hint of spice make this an easy drinking wine that pairs well with just about any type of protein. You can pick it up at most liquor stores or wine shops throughout KC and it goes for about $16 per bottle in store.
The first Quickfire challenge that the contestants faced was to make a meatball dish using a handcrank meat grinder. And the contestants only had 30 minute to do so. Chef Tio offered up Pork and Lamb Meatballs on Grilled Ciabatta with house made Ricotta cheese and a Citrus-Pine Nut Vinaigrette.
I thought the ricotta went together well with the meatballs and the vinaigrette had just a hint of citrus, which was nice.
The main course was a Pan Seared Fluke with Asparagus Risotto. For those who don't know, Fluke is also known as a Summer Flounder and is a flaky white fish with a very mild flavor.
This dish is the reason that I like Julian. Such a simple dish but just really good. It was perfectly cooked and the asparagus risotto paired very well with it.
If you watched the show, you'll notice that this dish wasn't made by Chef Tio. The Elimination Challenge was to take a dish from the 1960s and put a modern spin on it. Chef Tio randomly selected Coq au Vin, which is chicken braised in wine for hours on end. Celina mentioned to us that since taping was a while back, she had forgot what she had made so we didn't get to experience the Coq an Vin. Maybe next week we will get lucky...
Dessert: Homemade Chocolate Pudding with a warm ginger doughnut hole. Just another simple yet delicious offering. Either there was a light dusting of salt on the doughnut hole or salt was actually sprinkled onto the pudding and it was an amazing contrast between sweet and salty.
Jessica, myself and Chef Tio
Well, that's it for my first real post on the blog. If you have yet to try Julian, check it out. As is mentioned on her website, she offers "soul-satisfying dishes, crafted with the finest local and seasonal ingredients, refined with signature twists..."
6227 Brookside Plaza