How often do you find yourself wondering why you haven’t frequented a place more often? It seems that we eat at the Jerusalem Cafe food truck every time we are shopping in the West Bottoms, but rarely visit their brick and mortar in Westport. Clearly it was time to check out their new home at 515 Westport Road. Some last-minute Christmas shopping brought us to the area, so we decided to enjoy a dinner feast at this Kansas City Mediterranean restaurant.
You have to travel back to 1989 to find the start of Jerusalem Cafe. While some may not think that is long ago, it would be five more years before Bartle Hall would open. It was a mere four years after the Kansas City Royals had won their first World Series. For nearly three decades the restaurant operated sandwiched between other businesses on Westport Road. This fall they completed the renovation of their new space, which helps boost visibility. The open floor plan of their new digs comes with a pop of modern accents and an urban vibe.
Walking through the front door, we spotted the gold dome of their brick oven that churns out freshly baked pita bread. While their old space holds many fond memories for their customers, this upscale addition is certainly appealing. By the way, we have heard that the owners are planning to create a new concept restaurant in the old home.
With a full evening of shopping before us, we knew that we were going to need plenty of food to tide us over. Fortunately, finding a dinner feast is never a problem at Jerusalem Cafe. In fact, they even have a Jerusalem Dinner Feast on the menu. Having a menu item that showcases a wide variety of the restaurant’s dishes is a bonus for us. When we told our server our choice, the smile on his face showed that we had made a good selection.
After beginning our meal with a couple of salads, our first tray arrived. It was an appetizer plate that included hummus, falafel, and stuffed grape leaves. As we munched on this variety of tasty bites, we discussed their new home. We noticed a steady stream of customers filing in, and we’re glad we arrived when we did. Their new location certainly provides a considerable uptick in street presence, so we are betting it has boosted their customer visits, as well.
Dinner Feast at Jerusalem Cafe
We were still munching on the appetizers when our server arrived with our main course. When he laid it before us, my first thought was, “How will two people ever eat this?” This over-sized platter was heaping with lamb, chicken, gyro meat, and kifta kabobs. (Kifta is a combination of ground beef and ground lamb.) With all of that protein, we were sure to be stuffed for hours. Of course, the food choices don’t end there.
They also include some roasted vegetables, more pita bread, and laid all of this over a bed of their herb spiced rice. Yeah, we knew we were in trouble if we had any intention of completing the meal in one sitting. After taking a few photos, we dug into this delectable selection of treats. There was plenty of each meat type for both of us to get our fill. As we tasted each new flavor, we tried to hone in on our favorites. The gyro meat was spot on, but the kifta had me coming back for more. Before long, we both threw in the towel and waited for our final course.
As if there wasn’t already plenty for two, the final course is dessert. I ordered some Mint Tea to accompany my sweet treats. There are two choices for dessert; Baklava or Halva. Our server suggested trying one of each, and it was like he was reading our minds. The Baklava brought all of the sweetness of the honey with the crunch of chopped walnuts. It was everything we expected in a Mediterranean dessert.
Halva was an unexpected choice, which we had never experienced before. The recipe is quite simple, as it consists of crushed sesame seeds with honey. When we heard the description, we couldn’t imagine this combination making for a sweet treat. We couldn’t have been farther off base, as this dish brings one of the most intriguing flavors we have experienced. It makes sense that this combination would be popular since tahini (sesame paste) is a common ingredient in many Mediterranean dishes. With each crumbly bite, we savored the taste of the Middle east.
By the end of our meal, we had a variety of dishes on our table. For about $25, you will get a three-course meal that is more than enough for two. In fact, we ended up taking home leftovers from our visit. After packing up our to-go box, we settled up and said our goodbyes. Our holiday shopping may have been only partially completed, but a filling meal had been checked off of our list. Perhaps now that they have higher visibility, we will visit Jerusalem Cafe more often.