Unless you belong to a certain tax bracket, Stock Hill likely is not a restaurant you visit weekly. That’s fine. Save this elegant West Plaza gem for special occasions, once-a-month outings or when you’re just really, really craving a steak. Stock Hill does a lot of things right, but it nails the steak thing: There are nine cuts to choose from — seven from Woodbury Farms in Quenemo, Kansas, plus a Wagyu and Akaushi cut from Durham Ranch in Pittsburg, Texas — and all are generously seasoned with salt and pepper. A naked bite of Stock Hill’s medium-rare filet mignon will make you marvel at what a simple seasoning and hot grill can do together, but go ahead and get a porcini rub and a side of the Armagnac and green peppercorn sauce. You deserve it.
4800 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 816-895-8400, stockhillkc.com
Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it can be hard to find a scene on Monday nights in Kansas City. That’s where Jax comes in. Monday nights feature happy hour till close (10 pm), and the offerings are plenty. For $20, you can enjoy the happy hour sampler, with one-fourth pound of snow crab, one-fourth pound of peel n’ eat shrimp and three oysters. On all other nights, you can enjoy a rotating selection of ocean treasures from the raw oyster bar, several caviar options and refined seafood entrees. (Full disclosure: I briefly worked at Jax years ago.)
4814 Roanoke Parkway, Kansas City, Mo. 816-437-7940, jaxfishhouse.com
Johnny Jo’s Pizzeria
Johnny Jo’s is endlessly charming. The shop is about the size of a modest garage, but the enormous pies (and slices) that come out of it are full of heart. In fair weather, you can walk up and order your pizza to go or plant yourself at one of the picnic tables out front while the neighborhood passes you by. I love the Tom and Art pie, with tomato and artichoke on a garlic butter herb sauce topped with mozzarella and provolone.
1209 W. 47th St., Kansas City, Mo. 816-401-4483, johnnyjospizza.com
Confession: I am totally addicted to the coconut-lime sorbet at Glacé. It’s smooth and creamy and bursting with all the flavor of a pina colada. When I’m craving a pina colada — something that is a totally shameful and usually impossible order at most bars that aren’t located on beaches — this is the place I go in search of an antidote. There’s also a “regular” ice cream, too, including decadent flavors like goat cheese-cherry, salted pretzel, port wine and fig and, of course, Christopher Elbow dark chocolate. Renowned chocolatier Elbow opened Glacé in May of 2010, and almost a decade in, every scoop still tastes like a dream vacation.
4960 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 816-561-1117, glaceicecream.com
Once a speakeasy and now everyone’s favorite dive bar, The Peanut — specifically the original location at 50th and Main streets on the West Plaza — is perhaps best known not for its history or its lovably dingy vibe but for its chicken wings. The recipe for these legendary wings is heavily guarded, and no amount of schmoozing with the bartenders will get you any closer to the secret ingredients. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is that the wings are massive and they come with a homemade blue cheese-garlic dressing that I honestly want to be buried in.
5000 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 816-753-9499, peanutmidwest.com
Osteria Il Centro
Osteria Il Centro opened in 1995 and thankfully not much has changed in the 24 years it’s been open. The space is still intimate, with butcher paper covering the dining room tables, attentive service staff and a dependable menu proffering Italian-American favorites like fried calamari, chicken marsala and a sumptuous Osso bucco tortellacci. And calling all oenophiles: Osteria Il Centro also boasts an impressive wine list at approachable prices, something it doesn’t get enough credit for.
5101 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 816-561-2369, osteriailcentro.com