Aria Tatsu from Tatsu’s French Restaurant
Chef Tatsu Arai may be Japanese, but he has been wowing customers with his French cooking since the early 1980’s. Tatsu’s French restaurant has been open in Prairie Village Kansas for 35 years and is one of the longest running restaurants in the KC area. Chef Tatsu began studying French Cuisine in Tokyo Japan at a restaurant called Kokeshiya. Then, in 1974, shortly after he moved to the US, Chef Tatsu worked for 2 years at Maxine’s in Chicago. Maxine’s is maybe better known for their restaurant located in Paris, France.
Chef Tatsu’s Prairie Village restaurant first started as a small lunch venue specializing in French pastries. Within the first two months of opening, costumers began clambering for Tatsu’s to be open for dinner service. So that’s what he did. Then, in 1990 Chef Tatsu expanded his restaurant for the first time. Another expansion followed in 2000, which now includes a large room for private parties.
Chef Tatsu’s passion and meticulous attention to detail with his food can be seen by his commitment to his kitchen and menu. Chef Tatsu cooks in his kitchen every lunch and dinner shift that the restaurant is open. Some of the Chef’s favorite dishes to prepare include, Sea Bass Meuniere, Foie de Veau, which is veal liver, and Quene de Boeuf Braise, or ox tail to unfamiliar diners.
In addition to operating and cooking at Tatsu’s, Chef Tatsu has made time to cook for some great charitable causes. Last March Chef Tatsu was at the Celebration Celebrity Cook-off with Aaron Sanchez raising money for New House Woman’s Shelter.
Some of the new menu items that Chef Tatsu will be preparing for the summer season include Soft Shell Crab which can be enjoyed on their new patio which will open soon. Another great special is their 20% of all bottles of wine on Fridays…. yes on Fridays.
Chef Tatsu has won many accolades which adorn the walls of the entry way to his restaurant such as The KC Stars Best Restaurant of 2007 and the prestigious Zagats top 40 Restaurants as one of the top 5 best in KC.
In 1980, shortly after being open for dinner service Tatsu’s was featured in the KC Star and on a local TV channel. The very next day that Tatsu’s was open there was a line of people out the door and down the sidewalk. With just a small Monday staff of 3 people, the restaurant quickly filled up. Tatsu said, “The server told me, Tatsu, they just keep coming in, what do I do? So I said, Close Door”. Of course he was joking. Tatsu has also been known to run outside after customers with a spatula in one hand and a pair of tongs in another exclaiming “ Wait, If you didn’t see what you like on the menu just tell me what you want and I’ll be happy to make it for you”. That is the kind of personal service that Chef Tatsu provides to his guests.