In Your Cocktail: Aqua Penny’s

You Can Call Me Flower cocktail. Photo by Corie English

Since opening in April in the Park Place shopping center, Aqua Penny’s has been making a splash with their fine selection of fresh fish, seafood specials, and meaty steaks and chops. Owners Penny and Doug Mufuka, along with their partner, Michael Werner, opened Bamboo Penny’s in 2021 in Park Place, and now after two years of development, the trio have opened their first continental, coastal seafood spot just across the street. The vibe inside is coastal chic with a little bit of lush Thailand flora and fauna thrown in for good measure. Decorated in soothing shades of white, beige, and ocean blue, the restaurant is grounded by earthy hues with greenery hanging above, woven among the seashells and pendant light fixtures. With a temperature-controlled wine cellar, private dining area, a gorgeous outdoor patio that wraps around the building, and doors that slide open to connect the indoor dining to the outdoors, eating at Aqua Penny’s feels like a mini seaside vacation. The restaurant has an impressive selection of fish and seafood. The star of the show is the raw bar at a counter that has been poured in place with tiny pieces of oyster shell dotting the surface. Here, they shuck and assemble plates and platters of peel-and-eat shrimp, crab legs, crab claws, poached lobster tails, and oysters on the half shell that are available both raw and cooked.

Look for beautifully plated entrée fish dishes featuring everything from salmon to octopus, whole grilled lobsters, and seared scallops. There’s also a nice selection of caviar for those who love the flavor and pop of those briny sea pearls.

But lest you think that seafood is all they serve here, Aqua Penny’s also has a hand-cut and chargrilled-to-order steak program, along with a 16-ounce Duroc pork porterhouse and a selection of serious sides, including wasabi mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, green apple slaw, furikake rice, or a wild mushroom medley.

Desserts lean into old-school tableside preparations. Choose from classic cherries jubilee or bananas foster. Additionally, there’s the ultimate chocolate board with decadent chocolate bon-bons and house-made chocolate creations. Key lime cheesecake and a fruit cobbler round out the selections.

As for the cocktail and wine program, you need to look no further than Jenn Tosatto, a veteran leader in Kansas City’s cocktail scene, who serves as beverage director for both Bamboo Penny’s and Aqua Penny’s. She’s responsible for the perfectly paired wine list and the cocktails—the creation of both her and the lead bartender for Aqua Penny’s, Ethan Erisman. They spent months behind the bar and in the restaurant kitchen at Aqua Penny’s to come up with a cocktail menu that is fun, flavorful, interactive, and upscale.

Case in point is their creation, “You Can Call Me Flower,” a classic 50/50 martini riff that has citrus and floral undertones from the orange flower water and lemon twist. Order this with a seafood tower or a dozen freshly shucked oysters while sitting on their open-air patio, and you’ll feel like you are dining seaside.

Fair winds, my seafaring, friends!

You Can Call Me Flower Martini

  • 1.5 ounces Hayman’s Old Tom Gin
  • 1.5 ounces Dolin Blanc Vermouth
  • 1 dash orange flower water
  • 1 lemon twist
  • 1 edible flower for garnish

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass and add ice. Stir until chilled. Strain into a coupe or Nick and Nora glass. Express the oil from the lemon twist over the top of the drink and discard. Garnish with an edible flower.

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