Monday, July 18, 2005

Checking out the 810 Zone

The other night, my wife and I made the trek out to Leawood, KS to check out the new 810 Zone restaurant. The 810 Zone is a new sports-themed restaurant and bar co-owned by KC Hopps, a local restaurateur, and Sports Radio 810 WHB, the local sports talk radio station.

The 810 Zone borrows many ideas from the more famous ESPN Zone restaurants. Beside the name, the 810 Zone also features televisions galore throughout the restaurant, including one for each booth.

When we arrived, it didn’t look too crowded, but we were informed that the wait for a non-smoking table was about 50 minutes. We accepted our buzzer and entered the bar for a few drinks while we waited.

The bar is a large horseshoe shaped bar with a large project TV above it. Behind the bar is a radio booth where WHB can do live shows from the restaurant. Around the bar are many televisions, all tuned to various sporting events. I ordered a beer and an apple martini and was shocked that the total for those two drinks was over $10. The martini tasted fine and the beer was cold.

Our buzzer went off about 45 minutes later and we were escorted to a table in the middle of the dining room. When we asked if we could have a booth, we were told that booths had their own waiting list and that it would be an additional 10 minutes. It would have been nice to know this when we first arrived.

After another minute or so, a booth opened up and we were finally seated. Each booth features a different theme. We were seated a the Tom Watson booth, which featured a few autographed magazine covers as well as an autographed golf club hanging on the wall.

We ordered an appetizer of spinach dip (The Lin Elliot Spin and Choke Dip), and my wife ordered a tenderloin steak and I ordered the Cajun pasta.

While we waited for our food, we started playing around with the TV monitor mounted in the booth. The monitors allow guests to watch television, access the internet, or play games. We tried it all. We played a game of Bejeweled, watched a little MTV as well as the Royals game, and we access the Kansas City Star online.

The appetizer arrived and we were both unimpressed. The dip tasted okay, but the chips seemed stale. There was not enough dip to keep up with the amount of chips they provided.

When the dinner arrived, my wife’s steak was cooked to order and looked delicious. She started eating it and commented that she wished she knew how much it was going to cost. I remembered seeing that the steaks on the menu were prices “Market Price.” That’s the first time I’ve seen that for beef. I didn’t realize the beef market was that volatile.

I tried the steak and agreed with her that it just didn’t have much flavor. It was tender and had good steak flavor, but it didn’t seem to have any seasoning.

My Cajun pasta seemed very salty and not very spicy. It had 3 shrimps on. I couldn’t eat all of it because of the strong salty flavor.

When the check arrived, we found out that her steak was about $22.00. The total bill was over $50 for the two of us.

Overall, I’d say the 810 Zone is a great place to go after work for some beers and to watch a game in the bar, but find someplace else when it gets to dinner time.

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