Leawood >Food & Dining > Carmen's Cafe
11526 Ash St, Leawood, KS | Directions 6621138.918521 -94.647724
Tue -Thu 11a-10p
Neighborhoods: Park Place
Ordinary Italian Food in Upscale Setting – I had previously visited Carmen's in Brookside on a couple of occasions. While the atmosphere was always good, I thought the actual dining experience was always rather underwhelming.
Fast forward 5 years and my first visit to Carmen's in Leawood. I had been invited to dinner and my experience from the Brookside location had been wiped clean.
The Leawood ambiance is fine on the surface but the acoustics in the place is poor, making it difficult to hear the server or have a conversation at the table. It is the kind of acoustics one would expect at a Buffalo Wild Wings and it is indicative of the lack of attention to detail.
On a Thursday evening in late December, the restaurant is full. The host is attentive and knows our party by name. The server has difficulty hearing the order and one of the two appetizers is mistakenly brought to the table. The shrimp in red sauce fine. Nothing extraordinary about it. The bread is improperly cut and one needs to tear it apart with your hands. The butter is melting in the wrapper...the kind of butter you might expect to get at Denny's. The bread is fresh but of no better quality than you could get at Price Chopper.
The veal comes to the table in exactly the same standard sauce that they use in the Shrimp Scampi. It has so much lemon in it that it tastes bitter. The cut of veal is so thin and lifeless, I was tempted to have it sent back to the kitchen. Accompanying this mess was a tiny bowl of pasta in red sauce -- it looked like the kind of side dish that you would expect from Fazzoli's drive through Italian.
This place is owned by good people and as a local establishment, I want them to succeed. However, it is highly over-rated, over-priced and one of the last places I would recommend for fine Italian dining.
I miss the days when Jasper's on 75th & Wornall would deliver a fine dining experience -- it was never as good as many Italian places in Chicago or New York, but it's quality of food and service put a place like Carmen's to shame.
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