The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

December 13, 2012

Gastropub meets French bistro: Joplin restaurant spreads culinary wings

By Mike Pound
Globe Columnist

JOPLIN, Mo. — Fans of Jason and Suzanne Miller's original Instant Karma Gourmet Hot Dogs menu can breathe a sigh of relief. Even though the Millers have remodeled their restaurant, located at 527 S. Main St., and expanded their dinner menu, Instant Karma devotees can still get their hot dog and hamburger favorites.

So, yes, the Chihuahua dog is still on the menu as are the Angry Red Neck chili, the Paradise Doughnut burger and the Philly Tube Steak sandwich.

Really, the only thing that has changed at Instant Karma is that the Millers have added a new and eclectic dinner menu to their already decidedly eclectic array of dishes and have done a bit of remodeling, including new tables and new lighting. Jason Miller said the new dinner menu brings him closer to his goal of combining a burger/hot dog gastropub with a French bistro.

"Those are my two favorite types of restaurants, so we wanted to bring a bit of both to the new dinner menu," he said.

The Instant Karma new Boulevard Bully Porter bangers and mash for example is an ode to the gastropub. The dish features English sausage marinated in Boulevard Bully Porter beer and served with red-skinned mash potatoes, sauteed spinach and balsamic glazed onions.

One of the most popular items on the new dinner menu, Miller said, are the braised beef short ribs. The, large beef ribs are braised until they are falling off the bone in a beer produced by Mother's brewery in Springfield and are served with red-skinned mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach.

Jason Miller said the new menu gives him and his staff a chance to spread their culinary wings a bit. It's sort of like opening another restaurant without having to physically open another restaurant, Miller said.

A fan of Joplin's local restaurant scene, Miller also wanted to offer a few things not found in other eating establishments. The Instant Karma appetizer menu, for example, includes a Scotch egg with mustard relish. The restaurant also serves trout tacos and fresh oysters on the half shell.

On the dinner menu you'll find a duck pot pie made with duck breast and vegetables slow roasted in Boulevard wheat beer and topped with Gruyere cheese and a biscuit. The pan-seared rainbow trout stuffed with spinach and toasted walnuts is also a menu favorite, Miller said.

"With the trout, we didn't want to do what everyone else does. We didn't want to go with salmon or tuna," he said.

Instant Karma offers a wide variety of craft beers and the restaurant has held several beer pairing dinners.

On New Year's Eve, Instant Karma is planning a seven-course dinner menu with a decidedly French flavor. The menu will feature escargots in garlic butter, steak tartare with toast points, a warm, grilled trout salad, fennel soup, a large seafood platter, rabbit with a handmade butter spaetzle and topped off with a chocolate custard with fresh whipped cream and sweet pastries.

Each of the seven courses will be paired with beer, and diners will also receive a Boulevard Smokestack Series Beer and a black-eyed pea cassoulet to take home.

The cost of the dinner is $100 per person. For reservations you may call Instant Karma at 417-206-3647.

Miller said this prosciutto-wrapped quail is the sort of dish that might some day turn up as one of the restaurant's many daily specials. Miller said while he is not a hunter, his brother and father hunt quail. Miller said if you don't hunt, quail can be purchased locally at Cramer's Rangeline Meats, 1032 S. Range Line Road.


The original version of this story referred to Suzanne Miller as "Susan." The Globe regrets the error.