Thursday, October 29, 2009


A mere 20 miles away from 18th & Vine, yet worlds apart.

Seeing as how Sullivan's was way too busy for our taste when we tried to do a Guys' Night there on one Thursday last August, we decided to give it a shot on a Wednesday this time around. Sure, Sullivan's seems a bit fancy for the likes of us, but the bar menu has some relatively cheap options, and there was one in particular that we were determined to check out -- Bleu Cheese Chips. Your Lunch Bloggers are total sluts for stinky cheese.

The patio was full-up when we got there, so Shaw, Dorsett, Voytek and I took a seat in the bar area, which features live jazz seven nights a week. Failing to find any beers we could get excited about from the Sullivan's selection, we sucked it up and ordered a round of expectedly overpriced Miller Lites. Meanwhile, tonight's entertainment was playing the world's most boring version of “Oye Como Va” ever.

Half an hour later, a table on the patio opened up and we moved outside where we had some Manhattans that turned out to be fairly decent. Nearby there was a really tan over-50 guy in pink pants, buying bottle after bottle of champagne for three twentysomething girls.

I'm not judging. If you're over 50, and can afford to splurge on bottles of champagne for some hot young things, I say do it. It may not even be as expensive as I think, since I doubt you have to buy the good stuff. This is the kind of lifestyle Shaw should aspire to, pink pants and all.

Food-wise, we had a good feeling about Sullivan's. The Pitch named it Kansas City's Best Steakhouse in this year’s Best Of issue, and although we were planning on ordering exclusively off the bar menu, that's still a pretty good endorsement for the kitchen staff. Here’s what we got:

Bleu Cheese Chips -- As noted, these were what we really wanted to try, and hands down they were the big winner. The skillet chips were satisfyingly crunchy with the perfect thickness, and absolutely smothered in bleu cheese.

Gnocchi -- If there’s gnocchi on the menu, I’m going to order it, and this wild mushroom and spinach version was delicious. Lots of parmesan, too. I could've eaten this as an entree.

Tavern Sliced Steak -- Served with sauteed spinach and a mushroom butter sauce, it's the flavors of the gnocchi in steak form. Good, but I would've preferred to just have more of the gnocchi.

Firecracker Shrimp -- Allegedly spicy, these fried popcorn shrimp were an epic fail. I was promised a taste explosion as big as an M-80. These were more like black snakes.

The food notwithstanding, this isn't a place I'd want to hang out at. Despite the fact it's a chain, Sullivan's seems so totally Johnson County Whitebread that it's inconceivable it could exist anywhere else. Supposedly Sullivan's is modeled in the vein of a 1940's Chicago-style steakhouse, but overall the vibe is more like smooth jazz elevator music.

There's a mural near the top of the wall that runs around the length of the bar area featuring scenes of jazz guys playing their instruments, and the quality of the art is roughly that of 10 for $10 souvenir t-shirts. It's like going to The Max from Saved By the Bell, after the set had been dressed up to look jazz by somebody that had heard of jazz without ever actually hearing jazz.

Our Sullivan's experience came down to this -- there are a couple of good things on the bar menu, and while the beers are pricey, they're not outrageously disproportionate to anything else in the Town Center vicinity. But if it's atmosphere you're looking for, Sullivan’s is about as jazz as Chuck E. Cheese is punk.
4510 West 119th Street | Leawood, KS 66209Sullivan's Steakhouse on Urbanspoon


  1. Whoa, for a moment there I was certain I'd stumbled upon someone else's food blog...these pics had tables with linens on them. Real linens! A bit too classy for Lunchblog KC, but whatever.

  2. I vote we do something epically dive for the next place