Friday, September 10, 2010

Sharp's 63rd Street Grill gets new chef, earns rants and raves

Posted By on Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 12:30 PM

FATCITYSHARPS_thumb_220x165.jpg
The most powerful restaurant critic in any town, as we've noted before on Fat City, isn't a writer for a print publication or even a blogger, It's you -- the person who pays the check at any local restaurant. The old restaurant industry mantra is that a happy customer tells five people about a positive restaurant experience, and an unhappy customer tells 50 people about a bad experience.

Which brings us to Patrice Welcher -- see her in her tattooed glory here -- who took over the kitchen at Brookside's Sharp's 63rd Street Grill nearly three months ago.

Sharp's, a longtime fixture of Brookside's restaurant scene, has always had a solid reputation for its breakfast dishes. Lunch and dinner, though -- that was something else.

"We haven't had a real chef in the kitchen for a long, long time," one of the waiters told me. "The owner, Marty Jenkins, just had line cooks back there."

Welcher overhauled the Sharp's menu when she took over the kitchen. She even dropped the inexplicably popular --and horrible! -- signature soup, a cream-of-water-chestnut concoction that even some of the restaurant's veteran servers detested. ("It's like Elmer's Glue," one whispered to me, "with hot water and sugar.") Welcher has real talent with soup: I tasted yesterday's house special, a fresh corn chowder that was rich and delicious.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Last week I received an e-mail from Sharp's fan John, who wrote:

"They [the owners] have totally changed the formerly huge menu to something smaller and more manageable and daily specials that sound great.... [one night] it was corncake blinis with shaved ribeye, horseradish cream, micro greens and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar."

But a couple of days later, another Fat City reader, Steve, sent me a scathing complaint about a dinner he and five friends had endured at the restaurant:

"Among the mishaps: cold meatloaf, falafel that wasn't falafel, tzaziki sauce that was more like cucumber water, cold coffee, mac-and-cheese...that was so garlicky that I couldn't put it anywhere near my mouth or my nose."

Hey, everyone's a critic, right? And any restaurant has its off nights. Maybe this was one of them? So I went to Sharp's yesterday afternoon to sample a few of chef Welcher's creations myself.

I tasted the herbed hummus and falafel. Yes, Welcher's falafel are not the traditional crunchy (and typically overfried) chickpea batter balls; instead, they're golden chickpea pancakes. They were very tasty. And the tzaziki sauce wasn't watery at all. It was right on the money. The hummus was pasty but satisfying.

I wasn't crazy about Welcher's version of a Philly cheesesteak sandwich (though, to her credit, you can order it with Cheez-Whiz for an extra buck). For one thing, she uses slices of rare roast beef instead of grilled steak. And where were the caramelized onions? It's a cheesesteak that's too upscale for its own good.

But that afternoon's featured lunch special -- a grilled meatloaf sandwich -- was superb. Welcher should add it to the menu permanently.

I asked the manager, Jason Whittaker, if he'd heard complaints from Sharp's regulars about the menu changes. He said, "Most of the complaints have been odd, unexpected ones. One couple were angry that we changed our fry product. They told me they drove all the way from Olathe for our old fries. I mean, they weren't that great."

Meanwhile, now that readers have alerted me to Welcher's changes -- and the mixed reactions to them -- I'm eager to revisit Sharp's for a real review.

Tags: , , , ,

Comments (10)

Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

Latest in The Fast Pitch

More by Charles Ferruzza

Most Popular Stories

Slideshows

All contents ©2014 Kansas City Pitch LLC
All rights reserved. No part of this service may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of Kansas City Pitch LLC,
except that an individual may download and/or forward articles via email to a reasonable number of recipients for personal, non-commercial purposes.

All contents © 2012 SouthComm, Inc. 210 12th Ave S. Ste. 100, Nashville, TN 37203. (615) 244-7989.
All rights reserved. No part of this service may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of SouthComm, Inc.
except that an individual may download and/or forward articles via email to a reasonable number of recipients for personal, non-commercial purposes.
Website powered by Foundation