Wednesday, June 06, 2007

JP Wine Bar

As the dust swirls around downtown and orange barrels and barricades disrupt traffic patterns, a series of wonderful spaces is gaining traction just south of the loop. It's getting easier to imagine a bustling section of town just beyond the super-high-rents and corporate chain restaurants of the Power and Light District. The tourists and suburbanites who wander across the highway will be rewarded with local flavor and creativity.

One of those great places is JP Wine Bar. I've been there 3 or 4 times now, most recently yesterday after work for a catch-up conversation and wine with a friend. The first thing you notice about JP Wine Bar is the atmosphere. Tables and chairs on the sidewalk, soft, comfy chairs at the entrance, elegant, high-backed bar chairs at the bar. The lighting is good, the art on the brick walls is attractive - somebody paid a lot of attention and dollars when they designed this place!

So far I've only had coffee and wine there. People have gushed to me about the food, though. Their grilled cheese, for example, is described as "fresh goat cheese, French Mobier, Parmesan Regiano, pepperoncini, on toasted sour dough." Personally, I can enjoy Velveeta grilled on white bread, but this sounds worth the trip.

Another thing I'm looking forward to is their cheese flights. How does this sound for an accompaniment to whatever you're drinking?
Chimay Trappiste “Ala Bierre”
cow’s milk > semi-soft

Just north of the French border lies Chimay, a town in the Belgian forest of Mont du Secours. The monks started making cheese from milk produced at the dairy. This Chimay is a variation of their original recipe but the rind is washed with their famous Chimay beer rather than ordinary spring water, making this a semi-soft cheese with a nutty well-finished flavor with just a hint of hops and malt. While its aroma is quite strong, the taste of the cheese itself is somewhat mild but not at all bland.

cow’s milk > soft

Hard to find in the United States, this pleasantly spicy jewel of
West Flanders is elaborated with full-cream cow’s milk following an ncient tradition of Bourgogne. The name Wynendale is undeniably linked to the Burgundian history of medieval times. Wynendale Castle, amid the mysterious woods and the green pastures of Flanders, was the most loved “castle of delight” for the Burgundian Dukes. A delicacy, this cheese is ideal as a dessert or a quick bite.

Extra Aged Farmer Gouda
cow’s milk > hard
Easy to distinguish from ordinary Dutch cheese, EAFG is the dairy world’s equivalent of a Rembrandt or Van Gogh. This edible masterpiece was matured for 18 months, allowing its body to develop a muted caramel color, matched by a uniquely intense yet sweet flavor.
Unfortunately, though, the kitchen closed on Monday, and won't reopen until July 9. The good news, though, is that the temporary closure is caused by an expansion, so that soon the menu will be expanded, as will the space.

So far, I've only had the coffee and wine there. The coffee was excellent, served in large cups that the attentive staff kept full and hot. If you're looking for a smoke-free, classy coffee bar with ambiance, JP is the top of the heap in Kansas City.

If you're looking for over-21 drinks, JP's most notable feature is its wine flights. My friend thought the bright, sunny day called for white wine, and had the Northern Lights flight, while I showed solidarity with my FIFA-scorned friends to the south and tried the South American Sojourn. The most outstanding thing about these wine flights, though, was what I did not taste. Oxidation is the bane of wine flights - when bottles are poured out in 2 ounce measures, it's awfully common for them to develop a sherry-like, unpleasant flavor that ruins the bottle. At JP, though, they must take extra care with their storage, because each of my samples was bottle-fresh and wonderful.

As a fan of great beer, I have to point out that JP Wine Bar has a small but incredibly intelligent beer selection. 11 bottled beers cover the spectrum from the crisp Blue Moon Belgian White to the deep, dark Rogue Shakespeare Stout. Whoever composed their beer list knows beer, and didn't settle for the ususl suspects.

JP Wine Bar is a great addition to the area between the Crossroads and downtown. I look forward to the reopening of their kitchen, but, in the meantime, I'll get by on their beer, wine and coffee.

(Update: I got an email from the owner, and he reports that the kitchen will open on June 24. The whole place will be shut the first week of July, but will reopen on July 9, freshly expanded.)

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Anonymous Keith Sader said...

Ok, now I know where to find the Chimay cheese to match my now favorite Chimay Red.

Thanks Dan!

6/06/2007 10:36 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Awesome review!!! I don't think I have the money to check this place out but it's nice to know about nonetheless.

6/07/2007 4:48 AM  

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