Something's cooking in the former JP Wine Bar space downtown. Or rather, someone is cooking.
Executive chef Brian Aaron -- the chef at JP Wine Bar the past year -- is working on the menu for Tannin Wine Bar and Kitchen, the new restaurant that will open at 1526 Walnut, likely sometime next month.
Aaron expects to start with lunch and then add dinner once the restaurant has secured its liquor license. JP Wine Bar regulars will recognize a few of the dishes, which are
being continued from the old menu. Starters like the ahi tuna and garlic shrimp egg roll with a ginger sweet soy sauce and the jumbo lump crab
dip with a garlic cream sauce, crispy bacon, parmesan and a grilled
baguette. Aaron will also keep the braised free-range chicken and
grilled double-cut pork chop with a sweet corn, asparagus and green
"We're getting away from the focus on flights. We're looking to lighten up the menu," Aaron says.
Tannin's menu will include bar snacks such as frites, homemade chips and a charcuterie plate. As part of a new series of salads, sandwiches and soups, Aaron is going to make a fried-chicken-liver salad. Meat eaters will be glad to know that he is an avid tailgater and intends to always have a KC strip steak on the menu. But vegetarians won't be left out in the cold.
"There's not a lot of vegetarian options in the city. But I'm glad to make any of our dishes vegetarian. Diners just have to ask," Aaron says.
He hopes to offer a full array of dinner entrees until midnight from Monday through Saturday. The late-night options are what made JP Wine Bar such a hit with the service industry, something that evolved naturally when Aaron took over as the chef in November 2009 after moving back to Kansas City from Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Wine will still be a critical part of the restaurant's identity -- the name is a play on the tannins in wine -- with former JP Wine Bar general manager Barry Tunnell overseeing the wine program. Wine will be available in 2-ounce pours, by the glass or bottle. Diners will also be able to design their own flights.
The decor will be slightly different as well. Expect more earth tones for the paint colors and the appearance of a few flat-screen televisions, so sports fans will have a chance to watch a game at the bar.
"It's nothing over the top. We just want to put out really good food," Aaron says.