We all know how much I love Lawrence, KS. The last time I had the pleasure of staying the night in town, the night before my last triathlon of the season, I had to check out 715. The place has been open a little over a year and has been receiving all kinds of praise, and as I found out, it is for good reason.
Since we didn't have reservations, we had the option of waiting or sitting in the kitchen window. Kitchen window? Yes, please! Whenever you have the option to sit in the kitchen window, or the chef's table, at a restaurant, you take it (unless I am on my way, then you save it for me)! After putting in our drink orders (for one house red wine & one house white wine) a Rosemary Flatbread came over the counter at us, compliments of the chef (BTW, they have no idea who I am. This was not because I was a blogger, just because they are nice people.). The buttered flatbread was delicious and the fresh rosemary was joyfully fragrant. Since I am a strong believer in taking care of those that take care of me, I bought the kitchen a 6-pack. Buying the kitchen a 6-pack is a $12 menu item (it is $12 because you are not buying them Bud Light, since they did not buy you a Pizza Hut personal pan pizza), this ensures that this tip amount goes to the hard workers in the kitchen.
The house wines are served in tumbler style glasses, which I loved the un-pretentiousness of this, and the house varieties are very good. However, if you are a big wine snob (you know who you are), and want a wine glass that allows you to swirl and sniff your wine, they non-house varieties come in stemmed wine glasses.
After we polished off the rosemary flatbreat, we had to try the smoked trout crustini because of the combination of smoked trout and arugula & lemon caper aioli. They did not disappoint! One thing about the smoked trout that did catch us a bit off guard, was that it was cold, I guess I had expected it to be freshly smoked and still warm. Nonetheless, the flavour was amazing and it actually reminded me of the smoked fish and crackers that I had while ocean kayaking off of the Prince William Sound in Alaska.
I badly wanted to try one of the nightly specials that all looked so good, but since I was in town for a triathlon, I decided to be safe and stick with a pasta dish. My smoking hot date concurred. We got the spaghetti with lamb meat balls and tuna spaghetti, respectively (and switched half way, as usual). The house-made fresh spaghetti was out of this world! The lamb meat balls were tender, juicy, and everything that I had hoped that they would be. Top that off with a very nice marinara sauce and you have a recipe for a good night!
The tuna spaghetti was just as good, if not even better! The absence of the marinara in the picture shows just how hearty those house-made spaghetti noodles are. The oil (presumably of the olive variety) is the perfect lubricant for the noodles, while the saltiness of the capers and creaminess of the fresh mozzarella chunks are the perfect compliments to the flaky Italian Tuna in the pasta. Also worth noting is that we both got the "half" size of pasta and we both had some left over for a midnight snack. Granted, we had a couple appetizers and split the dessert that you are about to see, but these were still very generous portions.
715 has daily, nightly, and seasonal specials. When we were in, one of the seasonal desserts was something that I believe they called a Peach Pie(or a Fried Peach Pie, or something to that effect), what it was was essentially a peach empanada that had been covered in blend of cinnamon, sugar, and other spices. It came with two delicious scoops of what was either house-made ice cream or ice cream that was made somewhere close. The peaches were fresh local peaches (as we visited right at the end of peach season), and they were caramelized and glazed then stuffed in that empanada dough and deep fried.
The motto at 715 is "Local Handmade Food, Reasonable Wine" and they delivered on that, hard! We sat around for a while after our meal, talking, sipping our wine out of tumbler glasses, and watching the kitchen work as if they were our own personal live version of a Food Network show. This place is very impressive, the kitchen runs like a well oiled machine, and I saw some of the most gigantic cuts off meat that I have ever seen (in my life) come across that counter. They have a 2+lb rib-eye and what looked to be the worlds largest lamb chop, these both match the super-sized swine that is pictured on the folded receipt discretion deal (for lack of a better term, someone please comment below if you know what this is called). The kitchen staff are also very friendly and happy to answer any questions that you have (provided that they are not in the heat of battle at the particular moment you decide to be inquisitive).
You have not seen the last of me 715! Cheers!
You have not seen the last of me 715! Cheers!