Mon 1 Dec 2008
Many families have a tradition around visiting specific restaurants, from the Chinese restaurant up the block to the greasy spoon that marks the halfway spot on a drive to see relatives. For me, no trip to my parents’ home in Kansas City is complete without lunch at Andre’s. Andre’s has been a habit in my family for three generations. I attended an all-girls high school just up the street and, when the mood struck her, my grandmother stole me away during lunch period for a quick trip for a quiche, pastry and catch-up session. She in her finery and immaculate manicure and me in a plaid skirt and Doc Martens (hey, it was the 90s).
During visits these days, much to Mike and my mother’s amusement, I break the #1 rule of foodie dining: I order the same damn thing every time. Quiche lorraine, a side salad with the signature dressing (the grated carrot salad will do in a pinch), hot tea and a Matterhorn – a minor mountain of rich choclate complete with a dollop of white icing on top sculpted to resemble the mountain – for dessert.
It isn’t as though I’m neglecting a full menu of Swiss lunch treats. Andre’s is only open for lunch and serves a pre-fixemenu with about 4 entree options. The benefit of this is whatever they do is done very, very well. Quiche and quiche lorraine are fixed items on the menu (due partially to their legendary popularity). Baked stuffed tomatoes are a also regular feature. The most varied options come at the end of the meal, when the server brings an entire tray of pastries including the Matterhorn (pictured left), a lemon tartlet, a hazelnut Napoleon and a rum diamond so perfectly pink it would make Elle Woods swoon. The lunch is a steal – wonderfully proportioned and prepared and only $14 per person, including tax.
The restaurant is named for Andre Bollier, who immigrated in the 1950s to Kansas City from Basel, Switzerland with his wife. Andre’s opened in 1955, immediately establishing itself as one of the best sources of high-end chocolates in the area. A box of chocolates from Andre’s has been a tasteful hostess gift for generations. Once I moved to DC, I begged my mom to send me sample boxes to soothe the rattled nerves of my elderly German neighbor after house parties (it worked).
The Andre’s south location in Leawood opened a few years ago. Despite the more convenient location to my parents home, we all remain partial to the original site in Brookside. The atmosphere is cozier and the food seems just a little better. The proximity to The Plaza doesn’t hurt either.
Although you’ll miss out on the quaint atmosphere of exposed beams, cozy dining room and been-working-here-forever servers, you can purchase Andre’s to go. Andre’s specialities are available for home entertaining – from grandiose wedding cakes to pastries to quiches and salad dressing. A tiny corner of the Brookside property is dedicated to difficult-to-find Swiss goodies.