Local treasure

The dishes are straightforward and impressive.

Michael Sills is the kind of chef who cooks with a lot of soul and intellect. The guy just loves interaction with his diners.

pretty blessed. After some 16 years, every night here is a party; I
just never know who’s coming,” said the 62-year-old Sills.

menu is limited to seven appetizers ranging in price from $14 to $27,
from grilled shrimp and lobster relleno to crab cakes and more, but we
were hungry for the healthy hummus tahini ($12). The small bowl of
hummus was presented with carrot and celery strips, crisp pita chips and
olives. The hummus was remarkable in its simplicity, yet set up our
taste buds for the rest of the meal to come.

right, the 13-ounce Kansas City Strip

Getting down to business, we requested the chef’s
signature dish: Caesar salad ($7). With colorful and tender greens, it’s
the same specialty salad that Sills made for years at Junior’s, 2601
N.W. Expressway, where he created them tableside. This is the tasty dish
that Michael’s hungry patrons now eat with regularity.

Being a soup person, I
found the delicate lobster-shrimp bisque to be a creamy concoction that
would make anyone an instant convert to this rarely encountered soup.

fragrant chicken Marsala ($31) was deeply satisfying and I could
actually taste the smoky and sweet flavor of the fortified wine, which
paired nicely with the butter-sautéed shallots. There was also a nice
portion of sliced mushrooms swimming on top of two chicken breasts. The
torn-off bits of crusty rolls were perfect to get that last bit of sauce
on my plate. The au gratin potatoes? Marvelous.

handsome, unforgettable steak ($39), a dish to slowly savor, arrived
with a plate of grilled vegetables. The beef was as tender as butter and
was kept over the fire for just the right amount of time with executive
chef William DeLeon showing his skill.

also requested a plate of simple pasta, butter, garlic and broccoli
($18). Any pasta from this kitchen is a treat and each course we had was
nicely paced.

And for
dessert, where all are made in-house, we passed up crème brûlée,
cheesecake, and apple pie and ice cream to share a slice of chocolate
gâteau ($8), which is how the French say “cake.”

Photo by Shannon Cornman

Carol Smaglinski

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