I guess there can never be too many steakhouses in Kansas City, which has always been known for its beef. In a week or so, the newest Ted's Montana Grill will open at the corner of 14th Street and Walnut in the Power & Light District. The Atlanta-based chain already runs three other Ted's Montana Grills in the metro: one at Zona Rosa in the northland, one at the Legends complex in Wyandotte County and one in Leawood.
I was less familiar with another entry into this competitive market: Cattleman's Steakhouse, on the ground level of the formerly pink Embassy Suites hotel at 220 West 43rd Street. (There's a Cattleman's Steakhouse at the Embassy Suites in Tulsa, Oklahoma, too.) This restaurant has gone through several dining concepts over the years. Most recently it was the Plaza Grille, where I've eaten at least one mediocre meal.
A few friends and I decided to check out Cattleman's Steakhouse last week and were disappointed to see that the dining room looked pretty much like it did when it was the Plaza Grille: uncloaked tables and an ambience that can be called somber at best.
Let's just say that this hotel's charmless steakhouse isn't going to give the Westin Crown Center's Benton's Chop House or the Hotel Phillips Chophouse a run for their money.
When we arrived the dining room was empty except for a waitress, a nice young woman named Brie who didn't ask us if we wanted anything to drink but immediately announced, "You want me to turn in an appetizer order for you?"
A couple of us ordered beverages anyway and saw two of the kitchen crew walk by our table in their white jackets.
"Do you think they're sizing us up, trying to figure out if we're going to make them work?" Franklin asked.
It wasn't Brie's tendency to lift glasses off a tray with her fingers on the rims that soured us on the restaurant. Instead, it was this bit of news: "I'm also the room service server," she said, "so if you don't see me around for a while, I'm delivering food to a room."
That was one bad omen too many, so we didn't stay.
Maybe there are too many steakhouses in town.