January 26, 2011

715 Restaurant - Lawrence, KS

When people think of "fine dining" in Kansas, I'm sure a lot of people think we are talking about our local Applebee's. But Lawrence, Kansas is a community of foodies. Foodies who have a taste for the European will love 715 Restaurant, a neighborhood European-style eatery that offers the best in Central Italian cuisine.

On an evening out, my friend Mona and I decided to split a meal at 715 Restaurant. While the food is amazing, it is also a little pricey - at least for me as a rather poor law student and blogger. So using our penny-saving ingenuity, we decided to order one appetizer, one salad, one entree, one dessert, and one bottle of wine to split down the middle. We started with the smoked trout crostini. The trout was perfectly smoked so it was flaky and just melted in your mouth. It was served on a crisp, toasted side of bread with arugula and a lemon caper aioli. While the crunch of the bread added that perfect bit of texture to the bite, the bitterness of the arugula along with the citric and vinegary taste of the aioli gave it a complex flavor profile that made me chew very slowly to savor each and every bite.

Next, we moved on to the roasted root vegetable salad. This was a natural choice for me. I genuinely believe vegetables are best when roasted. That is just how they should be cooked. (Just as roasting is best, boiling is worst. Nothing makes me sadder than a carrot or brussel sprout that has been boiled to death. It is a culinary crime.) The roasted root vegetable salad is just proof of my belief in roasting vegetables. Carrots, parsnips and other root vegetables are julienned, roasted to crispy perfection, then served with arugula in a roasted garlic vinaigrette. It has a deep, rich flavor and I would honestly drink roasted garlic vinaigrette if they would serve it to me in a glass.

For our entree, we ordered the tuna spaghetti. Mona had heard great things about it and I was very curious. I don't usually think about tuna as something to serve with pasta, especially when it is also served with cheese. Fish and cheese have always struck me as a big no-no (For some more about the fish and cheese debate, particularly in Italian cuisine, check out this post at The Kitchn). But luckily, the inspired chefs of 715 restaurant don't think like me. The pasta was cooked perfectly and the sweetness of the Italian tuna, along with the capers and mozzarella proved to be a brilliant combination and has officially convinced me that it is possible for fish and cheese to share the same plate.

Finally, we finished our meal with sticky date cake in toffee sauce with sweet cream gelato. I normally don't order dessert, too often I end up with something so cloyingly sweet that it makes my teeth itch. But while this isn't your grandmother's traditional sticky date cake, it has a delicious and natural sweetness that with the toffee sauce offers a wonderful final note to end the meal. 715 Restaurant offers and incredible experience for foodies and fans of Central Italian cuisine. It's also proof that a trip to Kansas can be a fine dining experience!

This joins other food blog articles posted in Wanderfood Wednesdays on Wanderlust and Lipstick. Check them out!

Total Travel Time: 20 minutes
Total Travel Distance: 6 miles
Soundtrack: "Extraordinary Machine" Fiona Apple


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