Forget what you think you know about hotel restaurants, because Chaz on the Plaza is different. While many hotels offer on-site dining that is just fine, Chaz on the Plaza in Kansas City’s Raphael Hotel offers a true fine dining experience.
With its upscale ambiance, impeccable service, sophisticated menus, and comfortable seating, Chaz is where you go when you want to truly savor a meal. The dimly lit, quiet, and intimate atmosphere is perfect for a business meeting, romantic date night, or celebratory dinner.
We’re happy to have rediscovered this Kansas City treasure when we stayed at The Raphael Hotel. We’re confident you’ll love it, too. Read on to see 11 reasons you must try Chaz on the Plaza the next time you’re in Kansas City.
Note: Our meals at Chaz on the Plaza and our stay at the Raphael Hotel were complimentary. As always, the opinions expressed and memories of mouthwatering meals are our own.
Chaz on the Plaza is a gourmet restaurant in a hotel
Instead of serving mass produced meals from frozen ingredients like many hotel restaurants, Chaz uses fresh ingredients and innovative techniques to tantalize the palate and give diners a true culinary experience. When you order shrimp cocktail other places, you’ll likely get some chilled shrimp with bottled cocktail sauce. Not at Chaz. No, they take things to a whole new level.
At Chaz, you’ll get lightly smoked Argentinian red shrimp, tomatillo cocktail sauce, lemon, cucumbers, and dill. And just look at that presentation! No corners cut here. Every item in the dish has a purpose, each flavor building on the others to create a masterpiece. It’s exactly the type of excellence you’d expect from a place like The Raphael Hotel.
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Knowledgeable and experienced wait staff
One of the best parts of eating in a great restaurant is being pampered by the staff. When you have a server who knows what you want before you do, well, that’s just a wonderful thing. At Chaz on the Plaza, that’s the type of service you can expect.
Our server, Jode, wasn’t merely helpful, she was a resource to us as we chose our meals from a menu that had lots of intriguing options. She knew the menu inside and out, and could make recommendations to help guide us on our culinary journey. She knew what we needed before we did and helped us have a truly wonderful meal.
High class from start to finish
Our first bites from Chaz on the Plaza came from this cheese plate. The careful presentation and well-chosen bites foretold a wonderful dining experience. On the plate we found a chef’s selection of three artisan cheeses. Along with those came housemade charcuterie, candied almonds, housemade jam, and fresh fruit. We loved that this appetizer was enough to give us a flavor of the delicious glories to come but did not fill us up so much that we didn’t want our meals.
Experienced mixologists at Chaz on the Plaza
Often, great dining experiences begin with well-crafted cocktails. A dinner at Chaz on the Plaza is no exception. With mixologists like Kenny Cohrs creating well-balanced, carefully crafted drinks, you know you’ll have a wonderful start to your experience. We went early and spent a few minutes sitting at the bar watching him ply his trade, so we can attest firsthand to his efforts to make each and every drink special.
The bar at Chaz offers an extensive cocktail menu, available for perusal on an electronic tablet (sanitized between guests, of course). The bar also uses high-end glassware as well as fresh, quality garnishes so that you feel you’ve been presented with a potable piece of art.
But don’t let the lengthy and creative menu fool you. The mixologists know their business, and can create about anything you might want at their bar without having to Google it, first. Do you want to try a Blood and Sand? Maybe an Aviation Cocktail? Just ask.
Best ingredients and seasonal menus at Chaz on the Plaza
During our stay at The Raphael, we had the opportunity to meet Chef Shawn Hartwig, the Executive Chef at Chaz on the Plaza. He shared a bit of his culinary philosophy with us. We quickly learned that he’s the type of chef who does sweat the small stuff with no little detail escaping his attention.
He creates new menus seasonally in an effort to ensure the restaurant is only using the highest quality, freshest ingredients available on the market. When you dine at Chaz, you get to experience the many ways his extra efforts and attention to detail pay off.
We loved the Apple Manchego Salad (mixed greens, red and green apples, shaved manchego cheese, lemon shallot vinaigrette). As you can see, the presentation for this dish is gorgeous. Even better, the taste more than matched its appearance. The chef carefully balanced sweet, acid, and savory flavors, carefully layering elements on each other to create one unified whole that is more than the sum of its parts.
He repeats this process with every dish, like the Citrus Greens Salad. It’s mixed greens with avocado, blood and navel oranges, roasted pumpkin seeds, basil, scallion, and a green goddess dressing. It’s such a delicious dish, and it’s something we’d never have thought of on our own. Steve had the Raphael Salad which was served with a delicious cheese crostini.
Chef Hartwig also told us he works hard to source only the very best ingredients for the food at Chaz. And being in a larger city like KC, they have the advantage of being able to get about anything they want, even if it has to be flown in.
This fresh pan roasted Chilean sea bass is such a dish. Crisp and light, it did not taste like fish typically available in the midwest.
Chef is on-site and loves to meet his guests
At many chain hotel restaurants, the executive chef is in some faraway kitchen at corporate headquarters. It’s from there she or he creates menus, and then shares them across the brand with flavor lost somewhere in translation. But Chef Hartwig works right in the kitchen of Chaz on the Plaza, and the restaurant has his full attention. Indeed, when we met him in the lobby of the hotel, he told us that’s about the limit of how far he’ll go from the kitchen. He wants to be right there, overseeing everything, ensuring guests experience excellence in every bite.
Each plate is prepared and seasoned to perfection. Portion sizes satisfy but don’t leave you feeling stuffed.
And because Chef Hartwig is in just this one restaurant, he is able to spend nine days at the smoker making bacon for Chaz’s delectable cassoulet.
And then there are the desserts…
When you dine at Chaz on the Plaza you’ll definitely want to experience dessert. Chef Hartwig’s attention to detail and careful work creating layers of flavor runs right through to the very last morsel of your meal.
Pictured here are our desserts: Black Forest German chocolate cake, (cherry chocolate cake, pecan coconut icing, Chantilly cream, and macerated Luxardo cherries) and the St. Louis style butter cake (bourbon washed brown butter caramel, white chocolate mousse, Fitz’s Root Beer reduction, and a crushed waffle cone). Yes, these are the types of desserts that dreams are made of.
Sommelier selected wines
The wines at Chaz are just as thoughtfully considered and chosen as the wonderful dishes on the menu. Jordan Carver, the director of food and beverage, is also a certified sommelier who has worked to find wines that compliment the menu and provide enjoyment to guests.
The restaurant has an excellent wine list with something for every price point and palate. Chaz even uses high-quality Riedel wine glasses because proper stemware does make a difference. All of these little details helped Chaz on the Plaza earn a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2019.
Live music at Chaz on the plaza
Live music has long been a part of the sophisticated ambiance at Chaz, with performers setting up in the lounge. Typically, there is live music every night, though with Covid restrictions, it is currently two nights a week. On the night we were there, singer Baby J and guitarist Rod Fleeman performed some light jazz for a very appreciative group.
We loved that while we could hear the music anywhere in the restaurant, it was never so loud that we couldn’t easily have a conversation. With Covid precautions in place, seating is limited so get there early.
Chaz on the Plaza is great for every meal
After dinner, we recommend spending the night at The Raphael Hotel for these reasons. After enjoying all of that wonderful food and drink, you’ll only have to meander across the lobby and ride the elevator up to your room. No driving needed! And best of all, spending the night means you also get to try breakfast from Chaz.
Most hotels offer steak and eggs for breakfast. But as you now know, Chaz doesn’t do normal. Here, they offer Kansas City Smoked Brisket and Eggs.
Instead of tossing an average steak on the grill, Chef Hartwig spends 12-hours smoking a beautiful, tender American Kobe beef brisket. He serves it with smoked demi, two eggs, a slice of grilled heirloom tomato, a Chaz potato cake, and toast of your choice. What a way to start the day!
Of course they recognize that might be more than you want for breakfast, so other options abound. Try The Continental with the Not Your Mom’s Oatmeal for a sweet breakfast treat.
This breakfast includes fresh fruit, a warm blueberry scone, small pot of coffee, and juice. The oatmeal is a real treat: milk and brown sugar infused steel cut oats with blueberry preserves. It’s a luxurious dish that could also be served as dessert.
There are also gluten-free options like almond flour pancakes, and another shot at that nine day smoked bacon in The Full English breakfast.
So sleep in, and enjoy a hot breakfast in bed.
Special events like wine lunches and whiskey dinners
Chaz on the Plaza also hosts a number of special events each month. During our stay, they hosted a Somm Club wine pairing lunch and asked if we wanted to attend. Of course, we agreed. We sat down, delighted to discover that we’d be traveling to Italy during our meal.
Chef Hartwig created a magnificent four-course meal with the complex, balanced flavors we’d come to expect from Chaz. Best of all, the wines selected by Mr. Carver paired marvelously with the food. The food and wine acted in concert, each bringing out more wonderful flavors from the other. At the end of the meal, we were even able to purchase a few bottles of wine to bring home with us as memorable souvenirs of our experiences at Chaz. For an up-to-date list of special events at Chaz on the Plaza, click HERE.
Chaz on the Plaza has gone to incredible lengths to create a safer environment for its patrons during the pandemic. Tables are well spaced, capacity is limited, tablecloths have been removed to make sanitizing tables easier, and silverware and napkins arrive to guests only after they have been seated. In addition, the staff all wear masks properly.
We would like to thank everyone at Chaz on the Plaza and The Raphael Hotel for making our meals and stay so memorable and special. There are obviously many reasons to love this restaurant. But what truly makes it stand out from other gourmet restaurants is the people. Their attention to detail and all their hard work made us feel like honored guests and we can’t wait to see them again.