Thursday, June 24, 2010

Westport Cafe & Bar opens

Posted By on Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 10:30 AM

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Blanc no more
​As soon as Aaron Confessori heard the news that Blanc Burgers + Bottles was moving from its original location to a bigger venue on the Country Club Plaza, he knew he wanted Blanc's old space. He had an idea for a new restaurant, and 419 Westport was just the spot for it.

Confessori, a 32-year-old Wichita native, had spent most of the last decade working in Kansas City, first for the Arizona-based Kona Grill, then operating Sol Cantina for three years with a partner. He sold his interest in that saloon and taqueria on 31st Street in order to open his version of a French-style bistro. That restaurant, Westport Cafe & Bar, opened last week.

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Le burger, s'il vous plais

Confessori has made a lot of positive decorative changes to the old Blanc space. There are now black-and-white tiles over the old wooden floors, and subway tiles on many of the walls. There's a striking new bar backlit behind panels of amber glass, a copper-top bar and a very attractive young staff.

Confessori -- who looks like a film star himself -- designed the menu, which has both traditional Parisian bistro food (an excellent confit of chicken, a mousse of chicken liver and foie gras, a croque monsieur sandwich, mussels, pomme frites, salad Nicoise) and saloon favorites, such as a hamburger (a great burger, by the way, on a brioche bun with gruyere cheese), a steak sandwich on baguette, steak frites -- hey, a steak's a steak in any language -- with bearnaise sauce -- and bread pudding for dessert.

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Monsieur Maybee behind the bar
There's a familiar face behind the bar: roving celebrity mixologist Ryan Maybee, who is both consulting for Confessori and picking up a few bartending shifts while he continues to negotiate for a downtown venue for his own bar and cafe.

The bistro is very appealing, although I wish Confessori would use cloth napkins instead of paper and a nice aioli instead of ordinary mayonnaise. Also, I'd prefer that he serve his pate mousse with capers, cornichons and mustard instead of a gratuitious sprig of greens.

The restaurant plans to serve late; for now the hours are 11 a.m.-1:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday.

 

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