Kansas City’s Westport Cafe has become a popular spot for diners who appreciate the restaurant’s simple approach to French cuisine, its comfortable ambience, and its hearty Sunday brunch. Meet the talented team behind Westport Cafe’s success.

By Daniel Pliska

Kansas City’s Westport neighborhood is known for trendy bars, unique boutiques, and eclectic eateries, including a destination French restaurant: Westport Cafe. According to chef/co-owner Romain Monneyeur, the term “bistronomy” best describes the style of cooking Westport Cafe produces.

During a recent cooking demo, he described bistronomy as a new style of French cooking that combines high-end haute French cuisine with the more simple and down-to-earth French bistro style of cooking.

“The concept is taking high-level food into a simple and affordable environment,” Romain says. “Our cuisine is assuredly French. However, we find influence and creativity in many places around the world.”

Westport Cafe has been a favorite destination since 2010, when it was opened by previous owner Aaron Confessori. Romain and his co-owners, Nicolas Mermet, the catering director, and Kevin Mouhot, the general manager, purchased the restaurant in 2015. The restaurant attracts some patrons who love it for fine dining, others who enjoy drinks or dessert after a show, and still others who make it their go-to spot for Sunday brunch.

The menu changes with the seasons. For spring, Romain plans to offer seasonal foods such as halibut with asparagus and a creamy beurre blanc. He’ll also showcase strawberries in the classic French treat gateau fraisier, which is a layered dessert made with sponge cake filled with vanilla pastry cream and fresh strawberries. He strives to remain fluid with his creativity and draws much of his inspiration from the food he eats while on different trips, cookbooks that he reads, and locally grown produce.

His popular canard à la poire consists of Peking-style duck breast, pear jus, butternut flan, glazed daikon, pear tuile, and scallions. He prepares it using a Chinese- style of Peking duck brine before par-cooking. He then finishes cooking it in the pan and pairs it with a French classic sauce called a gastrique (sugar, vinegar, and fruit caramelized together to create a syrupy sauce). Other customer favorites include steak frites with bearnaise sauce, scallops with truffle risotto, and pea ravioli served with a brown butter sauce. 

For Sunday brunch, the kitchen prepares classic American breakfast and brunch dishes that have been reimagined with delightful French flair. 

Chef Romain and his fellow owners are proud of their beverage program and the offerings from Westport Cafe’s bar. “It is an ideal spot for a casual drink or a nice date night, with an emphasis on French spirits and an elevated cocktail program. If you prefer a glass of wine to accompany the cafe’s cuisine, the program includes a wonderful list of wines from around the French region. Andrew Weathers is the bar manager; he is bringing an innovative style to create cocktails and mocktails through different seasons.”

The restaurant offers unique special events, such as Raclette Soirée during the winter months. (Raclette is a Swiss dish, also popular in the other Alpine countries, based on heating cheese and scraping off the melted part.) Other planned events include collaboration dinners with other chefs, a special wine dinner, and a celebration of Bastille Day on July 14.

But as Chef Romain states so simply, “Any occasion is good to come to Westport Cafe.”

Explore the menu at WestportCafeAndBar.com.

Article originally published in the March/April 2023 issue of Missouri Life.