Chefs Jessica Joyce and Paul Urban run a pretty cool little hole-in-the-wall in downtown Omaha. I really like it.
The short form: The couple make street food with an upscale twist. The daily specials are not to be missed. And the creative, tasty vegan offerings appeal to former meatless folks like me but they’re good enough that meat eaters should give them a go, too. I can’t wait to watch this place turn into what its owners envision it to be.
Pictured above, Block 16. Photo by Corey Perrine/OWH.
M’s Pub has been around as an Omaha favorite as long as I’ve been around (longer, actually.) And it’s still great.
The short form: M’s Pub has a formula for success: wonderful atmosphere, excellent service and tasty, reliable food. They’re balancing what has worked for 40 years with some contemporary twists that keep things from getting stale.
Pictured above, M’s Pub. Photo by Rebecca S. Gratz/OWH.
Portovino is the newest restaurant in Midtown Crossing, and it replaced Loft 610 last fall.
The short form: I was disappointed in a lot of things. The food wasn’t great. The music was too loud. And the oven that looks like it’s wood fired is actually gas-powered. One bright spot: a delicious, beautiful roasted beet salad.
Pictured above: Pollo pizza. Photo by Rebecca S. Gratz/OWH.
Last Friday I wrote a story about wine dinners in Omaha. I went to one at the Boiler Room and had a great experience.
The short form: Wine dinners are expensive but worth the money. You’ll get to try wines you wouldn’t be able to access otherwise and eat some great food while you do it.
At right: winemaker Mario Bollag, center, smells wine next to Boiler Room chef Paul Kulik. Photo by Corey Perrine/OWH
Dixie Quicks is one of my favorite places in the city, so when I realized I could review it, well. I was both excited and nervous. But I think it turned out ok.
The short form: Dixie Quicks is now in Council Bluffs, but the food is still amazing. And the third outpost is by far the hippest and fanciest. I’ll be making the trip across the river now for more than just occasional games of blackjack and thrift store adventures.
Pictured above:Dixie Quicks Public House. Photo by Alyssa Schukar/OWH.
I had the pleasure of eating with the Omaha Burger Club for my most recent review, which is really the Omaha Burger Club’s review of the best burgers they’ve tried in Omaha.
The short form: The OBC is a fun crowd, and they are serious about burgers. If you get the chance to eat with them, you should, because they’re not only really nice, they’re burger experts. The club’s next meeting is Nov. 17 at Sinful Burger, 4005 Twin Creek Dr. in Bellevue. Become a member of the OBC Facebook group to stay in the know.
Pictured at right: OBC members An Vu and Emily Brewer dig in to dinner at Crave, in Midtown Crossing.
Because today is National Sandwich Day, and because I’ve been meaning to go to lunch at downtown Omaha’s New York Chicken and Gyros since I started working at the paper, I figured I had best go do it today. And it was awesome. When Gastronomic Fight Club makes a recommendation, it’s usually a solid one, and the blog wholly endorses this restaurant. I can see why.
I tried the restaurant’s Vegan Philly. Matthew had their November special, in celebration of the restaurant’s one year anniversary: a Crispy Veal Sweetbread Po’ Boy. We were clearly on opposite ends of the spectrum with our orders. But both were great: hot, flavorful and a bit decadent. Mine was sweet and savory at once, filled with lots of chopped onion, pepper and rich vegan cheese at the bottom. Matthew’s was just what you imagine: rich, crispy, dense and just enough over the top to become memorable. Hot fries and tasty homemade dipping sauces are delicious. If you haven’t been to NY Chicken and Gyro, I’ll advise you: get there.
Dolce Cafe is only a few months old, but already making a niche for itself in West Omaha as a comfortable spot for lunch or a potentially romantic dinner place.
The short form: I had some issues with the atmosphere at Dolce, especially in the evening, but the food was top-notch. The pieces of salmon I ate were some of the best I’ve had in the city.
Pictured at left: Arugula and grapefruit salad. Photo by Rebecca S. Gratz/OWH.
When I started at the paper, I was really surprised that Amsterdam Falafel hadn’t already been reviewed. It was fun to be the first to write about the tiny place that’s become a Dundee mainstay.
The short form: Amsterdam is successful with only six items on its menu. I set out to find out why. Basically, it’s because every single one of those items are great.
Pictured at right: falafel. Photo by Chris Machian/OWH.
My Omaha World-Herald review of Blue Agave.
The short form: Blue Agave wasn’t great, but then it was better. In fact, during my second visit, it was really good. The flaming fajita blew me away in terms of flavor and presentation.
At left, the aforementioned fajita. Photo by Corey Perinne/OWH