NoRTH (Leawood, Kan.)

You know those dream sequences in movies where a character shows up at a fancy party, and all the doors fly open as she moves toward the entrance, held aside by tuxedoed men who fall all over themselves to cater to her every whim?This was sort of like that. Well, at least the door part. After I had the bright idea to head for One Nineteen and give NoRTH a taste, we arrived to find it positively bustling on a Sunday evening. We were greeted warmly by both hosts, who fawned over us even more when they learned we'd never dined with them before. I felt spoiled, and I'd hardly even breathed the air yet. I knew deep down that the restaurant had been open a few months at the most...but the space's exposed brick walls, well-worn wooden floors and hazy incandescent lighting suggested a long-loved local establishment. I nearly forgot I was in Leawood (nearly, nearly). Our server, Michael, was just as attentive as the lovely hosts, almost too much so at first. No, dear, we just got here and are obviously too busy making mental Yelpnotes to look at the menu. Calm down. He knew to give us room to breathe, though, after we settled in with a bottle of Valpolicella -- beautifully priced at $36 -- and seemed to show up only when we needed him after that. He recommended some wonderful dishes and even offered to have the kitchen split them (our table was a little small to think about divvying food between plates to share). I'll even forgive the fact that he pronounced my favorite wine "Zin-fan-DALE." He was THAT good, otherwise. The food was splendid. Marinated olives and fresh crusty bread with sun-dried tomato butter for appetizer... Fettuccine with shrimp, broccolini and spicy garlic sugo and chicken parmigiana with the lightest breading topped with a few perfectly al dente rigatoni for entrees... And the true test of any great restaurant? Dessert! A divinely airy tiramisu topped it all off. My goodness. After that glorious meal, I found myself in the dreamiest food coma I've experienced in Kansas City for quite some time. It's nice to see restaurants like this flourishing in my hometown, even if it does require going south of 83rd Street.