Healthy Dine Finds

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Silo Modern Farmhouse & The Brass Onion 

Living in Liberty, it’s sometimes difficult for us to dine extensively in Johnson County. But for this column, I sought out two JOCO restaurants, one in Lenexa and one in Overland Park. Both were new to me, and both provided excellent and unique dining experiences.

My first visit was to Silo Modern Farmhouse, which occupies a beautiful space within Lenexa’s Canyon Farms Golf Club. The main dining room features high ceilings and lovely views of the golf course. Normally, that would get me itching to get out my clubs, but on this night, thanks to the cooking of Chef Laura Favela , I was totally focused on the food.

Favela was working at Aramark before being nabbed by Silo. Prior to that she had cooked at casinos, hotels, and resorts all around the country. So from large-scale, often corporate kitchens, she’s now  doing what she loves most – creating one-of-a-kind dishes in her scratch kitchen featuring local ingredients from more than a dozen sustainable area farms.

“We do comfort food, but more upscale to make it really nice for the diner,” Favela told me. “We come up with specials every day, hand-rolled pastas, seafood flown in fresh from Florida, cakes made from scratch. Something different and hand-crafted every day.” Because of Favela’s scratch kitchen and her relationship with sustainable area farms, nearly everything at Silo is inherently healthier. But of course, there are specific items that rank higher on the health spectrum. For starters, you could go with the octopus ceviche as I did, or perhaps choose the lemon-garlic hummus. Whatever you select, you will not be disappointed. “The quinoa salad is one of my personal favorites. And, I also like the Korean tofu bahn mi,” Favela shared.

Healthier entrees, meantime, include a second tofu presentation along with a miso pan-seared salmon and fresh catch of the day. There are also a number of gluten-free options on the menu, and as with any good chef, Favela says if you have a specific request, she will do her best to fulfill it. And, should you not opt for specifically healthier choices on your visit, let me just say that the New Zealand Lamb Chops and Cast-Iron Sea Scallops were terrific. I’ve got my eye on Silo Modern Farmhouse and Chef Laura Favela. I’m expecting great things.

My second stop was at The Brass Onion housed in Overland Park’s Prairiefire Entertainment District. A bustling dining room and open kitchen greeted us upon our arrival during which we were promised we’d experience “low-country goodness.” Boy, did we ever!

“I like to call it refined southern comfort. Some southern staples, family food, bold flavors. Fresh, scratch, craft – all the good words,” Executive Chef Chris Rohde said.

Now well into its second year, The Brass Onion is firing on all cylinders. The menu is extensive and packed with all sorts of low-    country specialties: the Brass Onion’s famous onion dip, barbecue shrimp (delicious but messy), gumbo, fried chicken, and on and on. It’s all fantastic, and like Silo, all made in-house from the ground up. “One hundred percent. I make all my demis, all my sauces, all my stocks. I make it all. There’s no shrimp base or chicken base in my kitchen,” Rohde proudly shared. “I source locally and organically when I can. It’s all very high-end stuff.”

Rohde does his best to keep things as local and fresh as possible, so while low-country cooking doesn’t necessarily lend itself to healthy eating, you can make that work at The Brass Onion. “We have a lot of people with allergies and other health concerns who come in here. I make it a point to speak to every one of them. I’ll custom make something for someone at any time. They just have to ask,” Rohde said.

Rohde also points out that the bar is scratch too with no purchased juices, shrubs, or botanicals. It all adds to a great vibe in the space, which I would call casually elegant. As for the dining experience, Rohde says he’s going for the wow factor. “We can course it out however you like. We can make it quick or draw it out. It’s up to you. We just want you to experience some bold flavors,” Rohde stated. “Really, I just want people to say that they’ll be back because they were blown away.”

We’ll definitely be back. There’s just so much more on the menu I want to try, healthy or otherwise!


About the Author: Dave Eckert is a long-time journalist whose career spans nearly four decades. Over that time, Eckert has been a television anchor and reporter, including 5 years at KMBC in Kansas City, the host of Culinary Travels with Dave Eckert, which aired across the country on PBS and cable for 11 seasons, and a food and beverage journalist for this publication, KC Chowtown, the Kansas City Star’s on-line food blog, and WDAF-TV’s morning news.

PHOTO COURTESY OF SILO MODERN FARMHOUSE
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