Why I Love Paulo and Bill

Even if you live in Kansas City, chances are you may have no idea what I’m talking about.  For years, we drove by this restaurant just inside the 435 loop on Midland Drive, assuming from its exterior that it was some version of a diner and from its name that it was a Mexican restaurant.  Instead, Paulo & Bill is a nice steak and seafood restaurant that also offers a nice variety of pastas.  And one that we’re so lucky to have just down the road.

Their website says that “few restaurants in Kansas City can provide an intimate setting for cocktails and dinner and an appropriate place for an evening out with the kids.”   They’re right on the mark, and I believe one of the few.  A few years ago, we ventured inside and were pleasantly surprised to find an elegant and comfortable interior and a packed house on a Saturday night.  It quickly became one of our neighborhood favorites, and we visited for a mid-priced date night or when we had company in town, enjoying the steakhouse-style atmosphere with efficient, thoughtful service.  The dinner menu carries entrees such as flatbread pizzas, pastas, steaks, and seafood, all priced in the $15-30 range.  It also includes a good variety of gluten-free and vegetarian dishes.  The nightly specials are always inventive and tempting, and a good value.  The simple wine menu has nothing but good options.

When our daughter was born, we joined the early dinner crowd, and were thrilled that it still felt like we had enjoyed a nice dinner out.  We’ve visited with her on occasions ranging from Mother’s Day to “Christmas” as a family, and are pleased with the level of service, the food, and the atmosphere each time.  Granted, she’s under a little pressure to behave, but the staff is kind enough to tuck us away in a corner where we can enjoy ourselves without the constant fear of disturbing other guests.  And she’s a good little dining companion, so it isn’t usually an issue.

Last night we decided on Paulo & Bill for a nice dinner out as a family, and I was reminded how much I just love it there.  A couple of reasons why:

  • Every one of the three specials sounded amazing.  Accompaniments that caught my attention were bourbon-vanilla glaze, crabcake topped with pancetta, mango buerre blanc, and cranberry parmesan risotto.  Not all together, but you probably knew that.  Yum.  Yum.  Yum.
  • After ordering the grilled Pacific Sea Bass served over wild mushroom ravioli, with roasted tomato, artichokes and  lobster jalepeno cream, I had a serious case of diner’s regret when it occurred to me that I don’t really love sea bass, and that fish didn’t sound good anyway.  (I think I was distracted by the wild mushrooms and the lobster jalepeno cream.)  I swear, I don’t usually do this and the thought of changing it after our order went to the kitchen made me miserable.  We caught our server and my dear husband asked if they had started the sea bass yet and if not, to skip it.  Our server Kirk literally sprinted to the kitchen and stopped the order, then graciously returned and asked if I would like to see the menu again.  No questions asked, no dirty looks, big smile.  I’ve been there enough that I knew just what to order without a menu — the Deburgo Pasta, spicy please!  I’ve enjoyed it on numerous occasions and it’s my hands down favorite — peppered beef tenderloin with mushroom and onion tossed with linguine in a white wine garlic oregano cream.  Spicy is an option, achieved through the smart addition of chipotle peppers.  I still felt like a first-class jerk, but Kirk took attentive and kind care of our table the rest of the evening and I quickly felt normal again.  We tipped him well.  Really well.  We’ll request his section next time (and I won’t change my order…I swear).
  • When my side salad was delivered, they also brought my sweet girl a complimentary kid’s salad — an elegant plating of sliced apples, carrot sticks, and celery spears with a cup of dressing.  Just enough for a healthy kids appetizer.  Her eyes lit up…it was pretty…and “dipping” is of newfound importance to her.  Speaking of kids, children’s dining options there are not limited to chicken tenders and macaroni and cheese (although both are available and the chicken is coconut crusted!).  Instead, tiny diners can choose grilled salmon, chicken or beef, with both a starch and a vegetable.
  • Other not to be missed dishes include the gnocchi (with spicy red sauce, spinach and parmesan…great for kids), lasagna (with Italian sausage, seasoned beef, ricotta, and Paulo’s red sauce), and the Maytag bleu cheese stuffed grilled beef tenderloin.

It’s worth a stop-in if you’re nearby.  I think that no matter your occasion, you too will be pleasantly surprised.