Affäre brings innovative German cuisine to Kansas City.

This article originally appeared in our January/February 2022 edition.

The contemporary German restaurant Affäre is centered in the Crossroads Art District, not far from the Power and Light District in the heart of downtown Kansas City. Co-owned by the native German couple Martin and Katrin Heuser, Affäre is an innovative German restaurant that features seasonal, locally raised and grown ingredients.

At the restaurant, Master Chef Martin runs the kitchen, and Katrin, a certified sommelier, orchestrates the service at the helm of the dining room. After meeting and marrying in their native Germany, the couple moved to Canada and worked in Vancouver where Katrin studied hospitality and attained her sommelier diploma in Calgary, Alberta, through the International Sommelier Guild. Martin was raised in Bonn and started his culinary journey in his family’s restaurant, Im Steinhaus, which is housed in an old stone building that dates back to the early fifteenth century.

Master Chef Martin Heuser at Affare in Kansas City.
Master Chef Martin Heuser brings his spin on traditional German cuisine to diners at Affare.

In 2012, Martin and Katrin opened Affäre, where the couple and their four children work together to offer dishes indicative of their German roots. Germany has a vast culinary history with many traditional favorites that feature rich savory flavors, defined in the sensory realm as umami, that are often paired with foods with sharp or sour notes. One example is the iconic favorite bratwurst with sauerkraut and mustard.

It is said that Germany has more than 150 varieties of sausage, and Martin prepares many artisan sausages reminiscent of his homeland. Thueringer, smoked Thueringer, Curry, Weisswurst, and Cabanossi wurst are among them. Schnitzels are also customer favorites, and Martin puts his spin on these thin-sliced, lightly breaded veal cutlets which include Wiener schnitzel, Jäger schnitzel, and Kalbsgeschnetzelte. The latter two are served with a side of hand-shaped butter spätzle (a small dumpling-style noodle).

Being an avid hunter as well as a classically trained chef, Martin combines wild game specials with artful plating and layers of flavors. One recent seasonal dish featured Spanish quail paired with mushroom bread stuffing, celeriac purée, Tuscan kale, and a cassis (a black currant brandy) demi-glace. He also serves elk, venison, and duck in imaginative ways. Martin also specializes in seafood and offers dishes with techniques that he learned and perfected in his travels in Sweden and Vancouver. Many of these are prepared in his culinary style known as the Neue Deutsche Küche (New German cuisine) such as bacon-wrapped trout with pistachio butter-herb filling, caper beurre blanc, and potato salad with garden vegetables.

Chanterelles and pasta, a popular dish at German restaurant Affare.
Chanterelles and pasta

Along with the sophisticated dishes coming from the kitchen the restaurant strives to create the perfect pairing of wine and food with expert suggestions from Katrin and the dining room staff. She is proud of her biodynamic wine selections and wine-flight offerings that pair well with her husband’s four-course special meals. Biodynamic wine is made with a set of farming practices that focus on spiritual, ethical, and ecological factors to grow the grapes and produce the wine.

Additionally, the restaurant’s outdoor wine bar is gaining attention as one of downtown’s best patio spots where, along with wine, German beer can also be had. That alone is worth the visit when exploring Kansas City.

Whether it’s with traditional German cuisine, seasonal eclectic game, or seafood paired with exceptional and unique wines, Affäre quickens the heartbeat of Kansas City.

For more information, visit Photos courtesy Affare.