Mission Farms in Leawood is something of a recluse – kinda like a mini-Park Place hidden off Mission Road among six-figure condos…
And among some of the coolest, most diverse restaurant concepts in the burbs, Lakeside Tavern at 10551 Mission Road is the latest addition to the Farms hidden next to a man made pond. Although it’s not really a lake, it is a tavern and has one of the more impressive patios in town. Tons of space and a couple of fire pits set a casual party atmosphere which fits in nicely with the view.
Let’s just say it beats the hell out of sitting on the patio at the Blue Moose on 135th staring at your car.
I went there for dinner with my friend Bri on a Friday night and I’d set the bar pretty high, Afterall, it is Mission Farms, three doors down from one of the best restaurants in the city, Room 39, and is owned by Joe Birch who also owns Avenues Bistro in Brookside and a second Avenues a block away from Lakeside.
Avenues serves a great lobster ravioli and filet mignon so Lakeside’s food had to be pretty good, right?
Uh, guess again
For starters, Lakeside’s menu is an absolute conundrum. It’s all over the place.
Everything from a Tavern Cobb Salad to Falafels and Fish and Chips to a Chicken Fried Portobello Mushroom. Toss in four different veggie burgers and a fried bologna sandwich and it’s almost as if they couldn’t decide what to leave off the menu, so they included one of everything just to be safe.
This is like the Noah’s Ark of food menus covering about every cuisine.
There are 11 burger choices that Lakeside claims are made from fresh ground filet mignon. Sounds great doesn’t it? But when I asked my bartender how the burgers were made from filet when Lakeside doesn’t even offer filet on its menu, she told me they use left over scraps from Avenues. Hey, it’s only a one block walk.
There are six different chicken sandwiches on this nightmare of a menu which are said to be made of fresh ground chicken breast. Oh no, not again! Since when did a perfectly cooked and seasoned chicken breast become not good enough? I don’t even want to know where THAT chicken originates.
We decided to sit at the bar and were immediately impressed with the beer selection. Especially the local micro brews. One of the best beer selections for the price I’ve seen anywhere in Johnson County.
Even more impressive is the Man Room which has a small bar, leather furniture, and a HUGE TV.
This would be very cool to rent out for football games and private parties but unfortunately it doesn’t have its own kitchen. Our bartender’s name was Manu and she was as sweet as a box of kittens. We started with the Adult Tater Tots filled with bacon and Gruyere cheese. Manu said to skip the house aoli that came with it because it was just Thousand Island dressing. She was right, Thousand Island is only good on two things, Big Mac‘s and Reuben sandwiches. Outside of those two, I don’t even want to hear it used in a sentence.
Our tots were larger than normal but the bacon inside was bland and more like bits of ham. And we couldn’t even taste the cheese rendering the entire appetizer under seasoned and tasteless.
Next we played it safe and I ordered the Ribeye with a twice baked potato and grilled veggies and Bri ordered the Turkey Pastrami Reuben with a side salad. The Reuben was….well it was a Reuben and the balsamic vinaigrette on the salad was strangely spicy.
My steak was seasoned and cooked perfectly. However my veggies were wetter and oilier than Snooki’s hair. The twice baked potato was only twice baked on the top quarter, the rest was hard as a rock. They must just dress up the top and don’t expect you to get your fork down very far into it.
I felt like jumping into the pond with it and sinking to the bottom where I might meet other disgruntled guests.
The only way this night could have gotten worse was if after dinner we’d gone to see The Artist. Which we did.
The decor at Lakeside is warm and has a huge sports feel. College banners and neon beer signs are everywhere. Manu told me they were changing the atmosphere and going for more of a sports bar theme.
That’s probably a good idea because the food wasn’t even good for bar food.
It was a huge disappointment although the service was very good. Manu made us feel welcome and told us about all of their specials.
She also told me they were getting a new chef soon from Avenues, and to please give them another try.
Which I probably will since I’m a glutton for palate punishment.
I went back a week later on a Sunday day with a friend who’d never been there before.
Again, we sat at the bar and were waited on by a male and a female bartender.
Worst bar service EVER.
I’ve had better prostate exams!
We got our beers after a small wait and decided to try the Old School Sliders which took about 15 minutes to order. And during our wait – alongside only six other people at the bar – we watched a bartender take five minutes to make a single Jagerbomb. The rest of the time we just watched them bump into each other and pay zero attention to anyone that wanted to spend any money.
It was like watching cats play with cat toys but without the cuteness factor.
After we finally ordered, the bar guest to my right told us they had a 2 for 1 special on appetizers. We asked the bartender about this and she suddenly remembered. So she put in our order of Ti Peanut Wings, because I’d heard they were actually good.
Then we watched the train wreck continue while we waited for our starters. When both arrived we tried the sliders first and they were inedible. The buns were twice the size of the burger patties and they were not made from filet but from frozen slider patties. The wings were the worst I’ve ever tasted. Lots of gristle, greasy and they arrived on a plate in a layer of fryer grease.
On top of that, they tasted like the fryers in the kitchen hadn’t had the oil changed since 1997.
Upon leaving, our check was given to us and was incorrect. We were charged for both starters and had to remind our bartender about the special.
”If they weren’t two for one we wouldn’t have made ourselves suffer through them," I told her. After we paid, we watched two new guests near us order a starter and then told them about the two for one deal.
It’s almost as if Lakeside is trying to go out of business.
Well, the patio gets an A and is a great place to hang and drink great beer. But only on a full stomach before you go and if Manu is working.