The Starker's wine list is 59 pages long. That's approximately 1,665 varieties of wine in a cellar stock of more than 12,000 bottles. But it's the quality that makes the selection remarkable. Starker's has earned Wine Spectator
's annual Grand Award since 1992, a designation signaling an impressive selection stored and served at the highest industry standards. Kansas City wine expert Doug Frost (see Best
) is intimately familiar with the inventory at Starker's, having helped owner Cliff Bath select some of it as a wine wholesaler. "I was lucky enough to be included in the selection," Frost tells us. "It was great fun to work with someone who says, "Well, money be damned -- let's build this list.'" Frost notes that, although the place may seem pricey (there's one bottle that goes for about $4,000), it also has a selection of $20 bottles geared toward romantics on a budget. Besides, the restaurant's second-story views of the Plaza and small seating area afford wine lovers a couple of necessary drinking intangibles: intimacy and ambience.