If you're looking for a colorful experience, Extra Virgin is it. The tapas restaurant situated right in the heart of downtown Kansas City has a menu boasting dishes you'd never dream of finding in the Midwest: crispy pig ear salad, beef heart tartare and duck tongue tacos are just a few of the wild choices if you're feeling adventurous. But Extra Virgin makes Spanish cuisine approachable for anyone– who can say no to poblano mac & cheese in an iron skillet?
This is definitely a place to go with a crowd, and stay for awhile. The wine menu is extensive, and the tapas are arranged so that you can start with a lighter dish like their grilled bread and warm ricotta spread before you move on to heavier fare like the popular Spanish meatballs (served toasty-hot out of wood-burning fire) and the wood fired hangar steak glazed with bacon relish and sprinkled with jicama and grilled cherries. All of these delicious options are balanced out by fresh small plates including the grilled Mexican corn in a poblano-lime butter and the crisp summer melon salad.
No matter what you order, this is a place to stay the entire evening. A restaurant taking such care in the authenticity and originality of each dish, no matter how small, is one that truly cares about sharing the art of food with its patrons. This is evidenced by the frequent appearance of the chef, who will happily sit down and tell you that the thinly sliced Serrano ham on your plate was the result of a 40-pound souvenir from a tasting tour in Madrid.
It's a place to stay and share and practice an art all to often lost on Westerners– the endless dinner filled with conversation floating above the Spanish guitar in the background, lulling in between bottles of vino Rioja, and ending, of course, in churros & chocolate.