Grey Plume elevates snacks
The Grey Plume — a restaurant most people likely reserve for special occasion dinners — has pushed itself onto the list of random weeknight dinner spots.
I saw the restaurant post its new “Bar Snacks” menu on Facebook and I decided to check it out. The menu includes sandwiches, pizzas and snacks such as popcorn and chicken wings done in the elevated style diners expect from chef Clayton Chapman.
Monday night, my husband and I sat at the bar with a couple of cocktails and the new list of dishes.
The cocktail menu has been expanded into a list of classic drinks and a list of “craft” drinks; the craft drinks are the more experimental, seasonal choices.
The most expensive dishes on the snacks menu are $12. We started with a pile of $4 local heirloom popcorn. Think the movie theater stuff elevated to new heights, sprinkled with tomato powder and finely shredded truffle cheese. If I could eat this every day, I probably would.
My husband had the $12 “Charc Wich,” served on a brioche bun with a rotating selection of housemade charcuterie. His sandwich had a hard, mildly spiced sausage and sliced pickles. There's also a “Veg Wich” without the meat.
I tried the pizette of the day, topped with mushrooms, pickled radishes and caramelized onions, among other ingredients, all sitting on a hot, grilled pita-like crust. The toppings will also change regularly, and it's $8.
Both plates had pretty presentation; the pizette came on a handcrafted ceramic tray that kept the crust super hot. Thoughtful ingredients that had been smoked or pickled or included rich flavors such as truffle and fig balanced the flavors of each dish but still seemed surprising.
The plates looked like they should cost more than they did. And though the menu is labeled as “snacks,” the dishes are more than large enough for dinner.
Chapman told me that he especially likes the Plum Creek Farm Chicken Wings ($8) and that the house popcorn has been one of the most popular snacks so far. Other items he said diners have been ordering: a $7 Ricotta Gnocchi and a daily pie-by-the-slice dessert, which is $6.25. We didn't try it, but the day we were there, the pie was made with seasonal pears.
It makes sense for a high-end place like the Plume to do something more with its pretty bar space that looks into the open kitchen. The prices can't be beat and the quality and creativity are worth a lot more than the bill suggests.
Chef leaves Lied Lodge
Chef Matthew Taylor and Nebraska City's Lied Lodge have parted ways.
Taylor said though the split was unexpected, it was amicable. He plans to bring his sustainable, locally focused cooking to Omaha, though he is not yet sure where he will be working.
Taylor, 35, came to Nebraska in 2010. The Illinois native's career began in Raymond Timpone's kitchen at Timpone's Restaurant in Urbana, Ill. He apprenticed at Cyrus in Sonoma County, Calif., a Michelin two-star restaurant.
In Grand Rapids, Minn., he was the owner and partner at Rivers Italian Restaurant for three years. He left Minnesota to come to Nebraska.
The World-Herald reviewed his menu at the Lodge in September.
Supermarkets rate foods
Two supermarket chains in Nebraska now are displaying nutrition ratings on shelves.
“Guiding Stars” at Super Saver and Russ' Markets lists the nutritional value of foods using a scale of zero to three stars.
The system rates every edible item in the store, including fresh produce, meat, seafood, packaged foods, prepared deli items and dairy products. The rankings are based on current dietary guidelines and recommendations from leading health organizations.
The more nutritional value a food has, the more stars it receives.
For more information on the rating program, visit guidingstars.com.
Specials for veterans
Lots of restaurants around Omaha are having special discounts for veterans this weekend.
— Cantina Laredo will serve free entrees to veterans and active duty military. Diners must have their military identification. The restaurant's special lasts all day Sunday. The free entrees are limited to a $15 value. For more information or a reservation, call 402-345-6000.
— Quaker Steak & Lube, in Council Bluffs, is offering 20 percent off meals for all veterans on Monday when they show military identification or are in uniform. The restaurant is at 3220 Mid-America Drive. Call 712-322-0101 for more information.
— Applebee's restaurants are serving free meals from a special dine-in menu to active military and veterans on Sunday. Bring proof of military service or be in uniform. For more information, visit applebees.com.
— Visit Chili's on Sunday to get a free meal from a special dine-in menu if you are a veteran or on active duty. You'll need to show proof of military service or wear your uniform.
— At all Golden Corral locations, active duty military and veterans can get a free meal from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday. No identification is required.
— Hy-Vees with in-store dining will offer a free breakfast buffet Monday to veterans and active duty military. Visit hy-vee.com for more information.
— Veterans can get a free Krispy Kreme doughnut and coffee Sunday at all locations.
— Participating Little Caesars on Monday will offer a free order of Crazy Bread. You will need to present a valid military ID. Visit littlecaesars.com for more information.
Party at Voltaire, and later a play
Le Voltaire is having a release party for the annual Beaujolais Nouveau wine. The dinner, on Thursday, is a three-course meal paired with a half-bottle of the wine per-person. The cost is $40 per diner.
On Nov. 18, the restaurant is having its first dinner theater event. Actor Marty Skomal will play Auguste Escoffier, grandmaster of early 20th century French cooking. The play will last around 50 minutes and will be followed by a three-course menu inspired by the piece.
The evening is $50 per person and the play starts at 4 p.m.
— Staff writer Sarah Baker Hansen