Nara Japanese Robata (Kansas City)

Boy, it’s been a busy week, as evidenced by my lack of recent posts. However, with that busyness comes a few good stories to tell, including several from my recent foray into the Midwestern metal jungle of Kansas City.

I’ll start by saying that Kansas City is a vastly underrated metro area. Although it doesn’t have the historic landmarks that cities such as St. Louis, Chicago, New York, or LA may have to offer, in my four years at K-State, I’ve come to appreciate the vibrant culture that KC brings to a city-starved region of the U.S. Between a surprising number of delectable restaurants, rockin’ music venues, outdoor areas, and high-end shopping, Kansas City has become a favorite mini-getaway of mine while at university.

Although this is a landmark if I've ever seen one...

Let’s focus on the food aspect of the city for this post. Of the many cities I’ve visited in my short life, KC is the most surprising when it comes to the variety and quality of the restaurants in the area. Want burgers? Try Blanc at the Plaza. Sunday brunch? Classic Cup Cafe. Dress-up and bring a date dinner? Skies Restaurant and Lounge at the top of the Hyatt Regency (unfortunately closed at the moment).  And if you want sushi, there’s only one place to go: Nara.

Nara is a hip and colorful joint at the Crossroads district of KC. The staff is incredibly attentive and friendly and their drink menu is enormous. They also have a huge variety of sushi and other Japanese specialties like edamame and noodle dishes.

This visit was my third to the robata and the food and service was just as good as it has always been. I started off with an appetizer of edamame, which are soy bean pods covered in salt and eaten like raw peas out of the chutes. My friend ordered some miso soup, which I tried and also found delicious.

As for the sushi itself, I ordered a basic spicy tuna roll as well as what was called the “Mega Roll.” The Mega Roll was five pieces of absolutely enormous sushi filled with tuna, yellowtail, salmon, and avocado, tempura fried with yuzo mayo and slathered in Nara’s famous, spicy “dynamite sauce.”

Remind me how it's possible for people to not like sushi again...

Both rolls were fantastic, but the mega roll was unlike anything I had ever had before. The dynamite sauce gave the sushi a great kick — between that and the spiciness of the tuna roll, my mouth was watering constantly.  Fortunately, I also ordered a glass of Lunetta Prosecco sparkling wine to wash all of it down and the wine did a tremendous job of cleansing my palate between each piece of sushi. Basic wine rule for the day:

Pair sushi with sparking wine. Or Gruner Veltliner. Or a dry, crisp Riesling. Your choice, although you can never go wrong with a sparkler.

Remember: sparklers with sushi. It'll never steer you wrong.

For dessert, I ordered a side of crab rangoon, which was a great palate cleanser at the end of the meal. Not the greatest rangoon I’ve ever had, but it was served hot and fresh and the sweet and sour plum sauce they served with it was delicious.

The meal was fantastic as always. If you’re craving sushi and you happen to be in the hub of the Midwest, look for Nara and don’t look back. You won’t be disappointed. Oh, and Nara also has a fantastic happy hour menu for those looking for a place to unwind after work and a reverse happy hour for anybody needing to satiate their need for sushi at the later hours of the night.

More tales to come from my venture to Kansas City! Make sure to stop back in!

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