Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Papa Keno's Really Has Slices Bigger Than Your Face!

Today was the grand opening for Papa Keno's, a pizza place from Lawrence.  I don't usually review restaurants on the day of the grand opening, but this place impressed me so I thought I would share.

Two slices of pepperoni pizza.
For some reason I didn't listen to their motto, "Slices as big as your face." I ordered way too much. One slice could easily fill me up, but I ordered six. Two pepperoni, two Italian sausage and two hamburger, one each for me and my hubby. Needless to say, it was too much food and we will have leftovers tomorrow. Lesson learned. The guy that handed me my pizza said, "Whoa, you got a lot." Yeah, thanks.

What I enjoyed was the thin slices that were baked alone, not as a whole pie. Cooking it this way gives the edges a slightly crisp texture and some of the cheese seemed to bake like a crust, which I enjoyed. It wasn't burnt, but cooked just right. (You can kind of see what I am talking about on the left side of the left slice of pepperoni).

They cut the slices into squares, and I thought that some of the sections were as big as normal slices of pizza at other places.

 The thin crust was welcome. It was chewy but crisp at the same time -- I didn't feel like I was eating a cracker with pizza toppings.

I found out via Twitter that Papa Keno's uses whole milk mozzarella on all their pizzas and make their dough from scratch every day. Yum.

Two hamburger, two It. sausage
There wasn't anything I didn't enjoy. At first, before I saw the sizes of the slices, I thought it seemed overpriced. But when it came I totally understood, and feel I paid for what I got.

The wait was worth the pizza and I plan to go back soon. I look forward to trying their various pizzas, salads and sides. Tonight they were only doing single slices because their ovens aren't big enough to hold all the slices and whole pizzas. The line was long the entire time I was there, from about 7 p.m. until 7:45 and the staff was working hard the whole time. For a grand opening, everyone seemed to be on top of everything, as I waited 40 minutes and they told me the wait would be that long, and the pizza tasted amazing.

I Went Back For Round Two

House salad with ranch dressing
The second night I went to Papa Kenos I knew to only order one slice of pizza. This time I got a meal -- one slice of pizza with two toppings, choice of breadsticks or salad and a drink. I got the salad and it was a basic iceberg salad mix with tomatoes and cucumber with your choice of dressing and there was plenty of it. It was actually quite large, I was surprised. My friend ordered the same meal only breadsticks instead of a salad and there were quite a few of those, too. I would say if two people went the best thing would be to order a salad with one meal and breadsticks with another meal and split the two and have a feast.
One slice with tomatoes and pepperoni

The breadsticks were good, but nothing too special. I liked them dipped in marinara but I would say alone, they are a little plain. But still good.

The meal is a good deal. You get a huge slice of pizza, a good amount of whichever side you choose and a refillable soda all for $7.50 plus tax.

Both times I went to Papa Keno's I enjoyed my visit. The pizza is good, the service is friendly and the price is right.

To check out their menu, click here.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Monsoon Grill - YUM!

I finally checked out the new Monsoon Indian Grill.

I went there on a Sunday night for dinner and there were quite a few people eating. The atmosphere is dim, quaint and relaxing. The service was good and our waitress was helpful with the menu. If you've never been to an Indian restaurant, you will need help with the menu, trust me.

For lunch they offer a buffet but I went for dinner so it's only a la carte, but that was OK with me because I already knew what I wanted to order.

I ordered the Chicken Tikki Masala with some naan bread. You can choose if you want regular, mild or spicy for any dish -- I chose regular because I just wasn't sure what their spice was like because I had never ordered anything before. My friend ordered the Tikki Masala skewers in spicy and he was sweating profusely and I think he looked uncomfortable. I, on the other hand, had no problem eating most of my dish.

Here's my rice and Chicken Tikki Masala.
My entree came with white rice, which I like to mix with the Tikki Masala sauce and pile it on my naan bread and eat it that way, kind of like a burrito. The chicken wasn't dry, which sometimes it can be since most cooks think: "Well, it's going in a sauce anyway..." NOT true. Even though a meat is smothered in sauce it is still easy to tell if that meat is over cooked and dry. This chicken was not.

I have to say, I enjoyed the dishes - like the plates and silverware. The bowls were interesting, with a tall handle-like piece that seems to me would cause the dishwasher a headache. The plates were rectangles with decorative lips in the plate that make it look crooked. The silverware was sturdy and heavy, unlike some places where I have been able to bend my fork or knife in the process of using it.
These are simosas: baked pastry filled with peas, potatoes and lentils. 
The naan bread was amazing. The cooks make it by throwing the dough on the side of an Indian-style oven -- tandoori -- and letting it bake until it falls off. What makes naan bread special is that it's usually made with yogurt instead of milk or water. At Monsoon the bread was fluffy on the inside and a little crunchy from the grill on the outside. I ordered a second helping because it was so good.

I look forward to returning for the lunch buffet. From what I hear they have different items on the buffet daily. If you have never eaten Indian food I would recommend checking out the buffet -- that way you can try a bunch of different dishes and figure out what you like, and what you don't like. From my experience, you will like more than you don't like!

Normally I post a map to show where the restaurant is located. Unfortunately, Monsoon Grill is so new they don't have a place on Google maps, yet. But just FYI, it's located right behind Chipotle Mexican Grill on Wanamaker Road in Topeka.