Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Café al Dente in the River Market

Welcome to:
Although it's been around for some twenty-odd years, I finally got around to checking out Café al Dente in the River Market at Fourth and Delaware. It's a small, café-bar where one can feel very comfortable joining friends for a quick bite or a beer. I met my friends Chambord and Weston the other night, and was greeted by a grandmotherly Italian woman named Jacqueline (although I'm not sure how she spells it) with a semi-thick accent. We were treated well, and we felt welcomed and respected, as if we were special guests in "a grandma's kitchen." She told us stories of how the River Market had changed in the twenty years she'd owned the place, and how excited she was for the remodel at the onset of the new year. "It will bring us more bar space," she said with a grin. "I can't wait."

THIS is what Kansas City needs more of…local mom-and-pop businesses. They sure do add a certain neighborhood charm to the downtown urban climate. Beats the hell out of big, corporate, money-mongering hooch-bars. Don’t get me wrong, I'm glad they're here to entertain us, but they sure don't hold a candle to a colorful café, slightly off the beaten path.

The happy hour is FANTASTIC, with $1.60 Bud/Bud Light draws, $2.50 Boulevard Wheat, and $3.00 1664 pints! What a smokin' deal!

Enjoy some Italian Bruschetta (three large pieces--your chose of toppings) for $5, Giant Shrimp Cocktail $5, or have some of the best house wines you'll find anywhere in KC (by the glass, $3.75-$5).

I ordered a large beer that Jackie called "The Headache" (32 oz. for $3.75--which is so big, Jackie can only carry one at a time) and a Calzone. The cool thing about their Calzones is that you can stuff them with your choice of like a billion different ingredients. I think three was the minimum number of items, but you could add more.... I chose some kind of sausage (the name eludes me at the moment so we'll just go with "Italian"), green peppers and red onions. It was the size of my CAR when it came out. HUGE, and it only cost six bucks! When you go, and I know you're looking for the keys right now....get the CALZONE! È fantastico! Also from what I've heard, the pizza is TO DIE FOR. Yep. That's definitely next on my list!

Here's another little review from the AOL City Guide:

"The River Quay was once home to Kansas City's Mafia, and Delaware Street was the epicenter of the criminal underworld. Visiting the River Market today, one can't help but envision a downtown filled with characters from 'Goodfellas' -- a fat, feisty mobster in a pin-stripe suit, napkin tucked into the collar, spaghetti noodles dangling from a tomato-stained double chin. And though the food at Cafe Al Dente spurs the cinematic imagination, this storied location on Delaware is now a friendly neighborhood Italian-American cafe. The menu sports all the classics -- meatball grinders, pizza, lasagna, alfredo. The ''Italian Deli'' sandwich is a chilled and salty merging of capicola, salami, pepperoni, prosciutto, cheese, tomato, onion, lettuce and Italian dressing. The outdoor patio offers a great view of the River Market and the fledgling downtown community. Inside, the aromas of roasting garlic and melting cheese fill the air and whet the taste buds, while the friendly owners greet everyone with a convincing familiarity. Even without Joe Pesci or Abe Vigoda, Cafe Al Dente provides a great Italian-American experience." -- Jeff Akin


Hours:

· Mon. 11:00 AM-10:00 PM

· Tue. 11:00 AM-10:00 PM

· Wed. 11:00 AM-10:00 PM

· Thu. 11:00 AM-10:00 PM

· Fri. 11:00 AM-10:00 PM

· Sat. 11:00 AM-10:00 PM

· Sun. Closed

HAPPY HOUR ==> 4-7 p.m., Monday-Friday

5 comments:

  1. Excellent! I've been looking for a good calzone. Minsky's has a pretty good one, but I knew I could do better.

    Looks like I've got a new joint to try for happy hour and dinner! Thanks!

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  2. Is this place kid friendly at all (or is it more of a "bar")? I love calzones, and that one looks great, but I want to make sure my 2 year old won't be out of place before heading down there. Thanks!

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  3. They have really good calzones at tarantino's (6th and mcgee).

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  4. I think it's more cafe-like than bar-like. You should feel totally fine taking your child.

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  5. Cool, thanks. I enjoy the blog!

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