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Jess & Jim's

517 E. 135th St., Kansas City, MO - (816) 941-9499
Posted By Michael Stern on 12/20/2007 4:03:00 PM
Yes, broiled fish is on the menu at Jess & Jim's; chicken, too (excellent Kansas City fried chicken!); but who cares when there’s great beef to be eaten? All around Jess & Jim’s every evening, the air is perfumed by the mouth-watering smell of cooking beef; several parking lots are full and streets are crowded with customers eager to savor hand-cut T-bones, filets, porterhouses, and strips. (The management offers a “call ahead” system in lieu of reservations: phone an hour before you expect to arrive, and chances are good you won’t have to wait too long.)

Steaks arrive from the kitchen exuberantly sputtering, crusty from an iron griddle. The top-of-the-line twenty-five ounce “KC Playboy Strip” is a full two inches thick, and unlike the super-tender bacon-wrapped filets, it demands some serious chewing. Not that it is tough; but neither is it a cut of meat for milquetoasts. Dense and intense, this is steak-lover’s steak!

Great steak demands great potatoes; and Jess & Jim's serves some beauties. A hungry meat-frowner could eat nothing but potatoes in this place: cottage fries, French fries, or one of the astounding bakers on display along with cuts of raw steak in a glass refrigerator case near the front door. But of course none of these alleged vegetables are prepared to please the culinary prig. Even if you demur on sour cream, bacon, and shredded cheese condiments, the pound-plus baked potato will be served split open and twice-baked, with a scoop of butter that looks to be nearly one-eighth of a pound melting into it.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
KC Playboy Strip Steak
Twice Baked Potato
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Over 1-1/2 inches tall and with a good charred crust, the Playboy Strip does not bleed juice when severed with a knife, and yet it is unbelievably succulent. It's an honest steak, easy to eat but not so tender that you are deprived of the joy of a rewarding chew.
"Over 1-1/2 inches tall and with a good charred crust, the Playboy Strip does not bleed juice when severed with a knife, and yet it is unbelievably succulent. It's an honest steak, easy to eat but not so tender that you are deprived of the joy of a rewarding chew."
Michael Stern





The waiter asked, 'Just butter, or butter, bacon, cheese, and sour cream?' I chose the works, and here is a picture of the humongous potato as it arrived at my table. Not pictured is the cup of sour cream that customers apply to taste.
"The waiter asked, 'Just butter, or butter, bacon, cheese, and sour cream?' I chose the works, and here is a picture of the humongous potato as it arrived at my table. Not pictured is the cup of sour cream that customers apply to taste."
Michael Stern


Don't tell the food police, but this just may be the best part of the steak: its rim of melt-in-the-mouth fat.
"Don't tell the food police, but this just may be the best part of the steak: its rim of melt-in-the-mouth fat."
Michael Stern


Crusty and rare; they also offer extra rare if you like a cool purple center.
"Crusty and rare; they also offer extra rare if you like a cool purple center."
Rob


Like many restaurants in KC, train tracks are within feet of the establishment!
"Like many restaurants in KC, train tracks are within feet of the establishment!"
Rob


Opened in 1938 and now run by a fourth generation of the Van Noy family who founded it, Jess & Jim's is an essential Midwest steak-eating experience.
"Opened in 1938 and now run by a fourth generation of the Van Noy family who founded it, Jess & Jim's is an essential Midwest steak-eating experience."
Michael Stern



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