This semester was full of great food and happy stomachs. Whether or not those two went hand in hand on the same night or not, I found some of the best restaurants in town and abroad and have hopefully given some pointers to those of you searching for a great night out with someone special or for a bite with your buddies.
The ranking of the restaurants was a tough decision not necessarily reflecting a poor restaurant versus a great one, but rather the experience and the food. However, though there must be a best and a worst, there are some highlights and downfalls to each and every one of them.
Harry’s: a restaurant full of appeal and aspiration, was the “Best of Aaron Eats.” Classy, delicious and appealing to all tastes, it is truly a solid dining establishment. While perhaps a bit out of the price range for a normal college student, it does a great job with a bar menu, lunch specials and Howdy’s next door to offer a competitive price. The service is aces, and with an online reservation system you can arrive sure of your spot.
The Chef: local sass with all the trimmings. While I do admit, the style in this place just puts me at ease, the food is comfort to a “t.” Unfortunately, being so good, it is terribly popular and as such command quite a wait. For a busy eater who wants good food, you may have to skip The Chef if you don’t time it just right.
Nelson’s Landing: so nice I had to try it twice, and it held up both times. Again, the pie is worth the drive. With delicious American staples and good country cooking, they know how to live in Leonardville, Kan. Sadly, my compatriots, it is a short hour’s worth of driving to and fro, and it isn’t fun to drive with a very full tummy.
Coco Bolos: flair, fun and food reminiscent of a different world. They knock the ball out of the park on spice. However, like I mentioned so many weeks ago, the bold flavors are a bit much for the average eater who can’t handle the heat, so a mild-mannered date may want a softer bite.
AJ’s: pizza done right. For a few bucks, an AJ’s slice will do. If you’re feeling big, get a pie, but know that you’re taking a box home. They have a great restaurant with New York flair; their pizzas have generally been on target, but sometimes, they leave you feeling a bit heavy as you head out the door.
Rock-a-belly: a real Manhattan establishment. What a fun little bar in which to grab a sandwich and chat. Beers flow smoothly, and the food is out quickly, so you’re never left wanting. Crammed in tight when the place is busy, it can put a damper on the dining mood. While the sandwiches are delicious to eat, on a hungry day you may find yourself craving a snack after you finish if you didn’t have anything to drink with your meal.
The Little Grill: a blast. Getting away from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan and finding a cozy little corner to enjoy some music and food. Serving warm, slow food that settles way down inside and puts your body at rest, the Little Grill made a nice impression. We were there for a long time, however, and our food came out pretty late after ordering. Personally I don’t mind a wait, but for those impatient eaters, you may do well to skip on peace and taste.
Kite’s: the established bar and college kid haven. Sinful tasty pleasures abound and fried foods run rampant, but oh do they taste good. From burgers to pasta, they have a little of everything, and it all tastes darn good. It can bog you down though, be a bit greasy, and the atmosphere isn’t always what you bargain for. But for sports and burgers, you have to go to Kite’s.
Alongside ranking these restaurants, I reserved the right to give out just a couple of awards in my travels that I think are both well deserved and appropriately titled.
Besides Harry’s, awards for food go to “The Chef” and “Kite’s”.