All right, I'm going to get in trouble for this one. The thing everyone says about Thomas is it feels like their own place that they discovered. Once you've been there, you can only tell those who are close to you. And here I go about to tell our 20 readers about this little gem located at 39th and State Line right next to Jazz.
I was put in charge of planning mine and Stella's Valentines Day evening out. Well, you can pretty much guess about the planning that was involved. Since being told about my VDay planning, I had received a text from The Scout saying "Going to Thomas". This was an utterly confounding text because it made no sense if you didn't know there was a bar/restaurant named Thomas. A couple of days later The Scout sent me an email with a link to Thomas. Then I looked it up on Yelp and I had an opportunity to be the first to review. I was actually headed there one time when Wes called and we decided to meet up at Jack Stack. That meeting ruined my chances of being first to review Thomas on Yelp.
So a couple of other things came up for the actual VDay and I knew Thomas had a great Wednesday special of $5 martinis and $2 drafts, so the day before VDay evening had a dinner plan. Thomas fit my specs perfectly, I wouldn't have to call for reservations and Stella and I could have some great cocktails and a good dinner in a romantic little place that would feel like our own. I just needed Thomas to come through for me.
I had planned to not tell Stella where we were going but when I got home from work she was laying on the couch under a blanket sick as can be. So I had to improvise on the rest of the evening after dinner and had to show her the cocktail menu and dinner menu. She still didn't know where the place was.
We got down there and parked around the corner on Bell street, I did a masterful parallel park (a skill I picked up in grad school at Rockhurst). This particular walk is a killer when you're going to a restaurant you've never been before. Plenty of opportunities to ditch your plans, Genghis Khan had a Sriracha shrimp special, D'Bronx looked fabulous, as always, Blue Koi had a special that caught Stella's eye, but we were going to Thomas. I must admit, I had my doubts about Thomas after that walk.
My red flag was raised even more upon walking in when there was only one other customer in the place. It was still somewhat early for dinner, but I thought this was going to be more of a spillover place for the KU Med dorks that had the sidewalks filled at 39th and Rainbow. We were the first to be seated in the restaurant and we were given paper menus, one of which had a stain on it. We were also given a martini menu and a wine list. I don't mean to be Gordon Ramsey here but, I think one menu with these elements combined in some sort of nice binder might be a nice idea.
I know this is a beer blog, but I like martinis too and Thomas is a good place to go for martinis.
An aside on what I consider a martini because I know I'm going to be criticized for calling what I ordered last night a martini. To me a martini is a cocktail served in a martini glass, it's that simple. It does bug me when a martini place (Thomas falls in this category) insists on putting a Manhattan in a martini glass, because it should always be served in a lowball glass, but if a Manhattan is served in a martini glass, I will call it a martini.I ordered a Bastille Day (Absolut Citron, Chambord, Pineapple Juice) and Stella ordered a Bahama Village (Banana Rum, Malibu, Strawberry puree and pineapple juice). I'm not going overboard when I say that the Bastille Day is probably the finest original martini in town. I don't know if I'm ever going to be able to try any of Thomas' other fine selections, that Bastille Day is that good (as always, it could be the French blood flowing through me that makes me like a drink called Bastille Day). The Bahama Village was pretty pedestrian, it mostly had a strawberry flavor. None of the other flavors came through.
For dinner we stuck to the small plate selection with the idea that we would share the plates. Pretty romantic huh? We got the scallops (four large scallops pan seared and served with lemon spinach sauce and crisp prosciutto), asparagus (grilled green asparagus spears served with lemon herb hollandaise) and the meat and cheese tray (chorizo, prosciutto, parma ham, goat cheese, Maytag blue cheese and brie with a bacon dijon mustard). The plates came out in about 10 minutes and looked quite nice. The scallops sat in a fancy bowl with a long handle with about a healthy amount of the lemon spinach sauce. The asparagus was served in a champagne flute with the hollandaise poured into the glass and the spears sticking straight up. The meat and cheese tray was served on a large cutting board. While I appreciate the effort, the presentation of the asparagus and scallops just wasn't that functional. In addition the glass with the hollandaise wasn't wiped down after the hollandaise was poured so it looked greasy and dirty.
With all that being said, the food was pretty good, not fabulous but pretty nice. The prosciutto was the worst thing because it is so fatty it was tough to chew. The chorizo was fabulous and so was the parma ham. The scallops were real good and well cooked. I thought the sauce was really great, it had a nice spicy bite to it, but Stella thought it was a bit too citrusy (a common complaint from Stella, she doesn't like citrus). The asparagus was, well, it was asparagus, the hollandaise neither complemented it or made it worse.
As we sat there eating, the bar started to fill up. We each had another martini, we both had the Bastille Day. Overall, I wouldn't really recommend Thomas for a full dinner, but for a happy hour and a snack I would definitely say GO. If you go on a Wednesday, you may even see me.