8611 Hauser Court, Lenexa, KS 66215. (913) 541-1900.

Wow! I feel like I haven't posted forever. Sorry for the lack of posts but I was away for ten days visiting my folks in Kansas City, MO- home of the Kansas City Chiefs, finger lickin' BBQ and some notable jazz musicians like Charlie Parker and Count Basie. I had a lovely time. My mom's doing really well post-chemo (her hair's even starting to grow back) and my dad and I had fun hanging out, grabbing coffee and watching TV. KC itself is a bit mellow for my taste (I didn't grow up there) but it's always nice to see my parents. Usually when I go to visit- it's freezing, there's snow and ice on the roads, and insanely strong winds are blowing...but this time, the weather was actually pretty mild. After ten days though, I was clicking my heels together and chanting, "There's no place like home. There's no place like home." I guess I'm just a California girl at heart- I missed Mr.S., my cottage and Pepper pup.

Anyhow, on my last trip to KC (in February), my dad took me to this fantastic Middle Eastern restaurant located in Lenexa called KC Grill and Kabob. They offer a superb lunch buffet with the best baba ganoush I've ever had.  The dip was the perfect blend of creaminess, smokiness and combo of spices. The baba ganoush was so good that I begged my pop to take me there again. If you're ever in the Kansas City area, hit this place up for lunch. It's located in the corner of a small shopping center next to a Japanese restaurant, off W 87th Street Parkway. The restaurant has a nice homey atmosphere, lots of interesting Middle Eastern photos on the walls and comfy booths along the perimeter. The owner is a friendly Iranian gentleman named Hamid Tafreshi and he looks just like the genie from Aladdin (minus the blue skin and Robin Williams voice).
The lunch buffet is set up in the middle of the room. It's not huge but there's a nice variety of dishes. Once you're seated, the waitress will take your drink order and bring you a basket of naan; after that, you're on your own. There's usually a soup of the day (during our recent visit it was lentil) and a few different kinds of salad. I loaded my plate with hummus, baba ganoush, crispy falafel, tangy pickled veggies, kabab koobideh, a delicious cucumber-yogurt sauce, basmati rice with currants, saffron rice, lamb, and shirazi salad. I ended up going back for seconds- another heaping helping of baba ganoush (I couldn't get enough of their version), a mound of dill rice, a taste of the potato salad with chicken, and some more kabab. There were a number of other dishes on the buffet line including tandoori chicken, some sort of stew, a curry, a jalapeno-cilantro chutney, large chunks of roasted veggies and some braised greens. On my return trip to the buffet, Mr. Tafreshi pointed out a dark dip that he described as being a "spicy Iranian baba ganoush" and suggested that I sample some. I tried it and really liked it. It had a totally different flavor profile from the regular baba ganoush- much spicier and mintier. At the end of our meal, we were offered some Persian ice cream that sounded incredibly enticing (rose, saffron and pistachio flavor) but I was so stuffed that I couldn't bear the thought of eating one more bite. I did notice though that the restaurant also offered baklava, rice pudding and cream puffs on their dessert menu.
I'm so glad we paid KC Grill and Kabob another visit. Everything I had there was fresh and flavorful. The service was spot-on, the buffet price was reasonable and the owner was very welcoming. (I love that he takes the time to ask guests if they've enjoyed their meals.) I seriously can't wait to patronize this small business again and binge on that incredible baba ganoush.
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