OMAHA RESTAURANT WEEK
When: Through Sunday
What: Diners will get a three-course prix fixe menu that is $20, $30 or $40, depending on the restaurant. Some prices include a beverage.
Participating restaurants: 360 Steakhouse, 7M Grill, Anthony's Steakhouse, Baby Blue Sushi Sake Grill, Benson Brewery, Black Oak Grill, Blatt Beer & Table, both locations of Blue Sushi Sake Grill, Boiler Room Restaurant, both locations of Brix, Caniglia's Venice Inn, Cantina Laredo, Capitol Restaurant and Nightclub, Crave, Dante Ristorante Pizzeria, Dolce Cafe, Flatiron Cafe, Gorat's Steak House, J. Coco, Jack Binion's Steak House, Jackson Street Tavern, Jones Bros. Cupcakes, Lazlo's Brewery and Grill, Le Voltaire, Liberty Tavern, Lot 2 Restaurant, Louie's Wine Dive, Nosh Wine Lounge, O Dining and Lounge, Pasta Amore, Piccolo's Steaks and Cocktails, Plank Seafood Provisions, Railcar Modern American Kitchen, Ryan's Bistro, Salt 88, all locations of Shucks Fish House and Oyster Bar, Spencer's for Steaks and Chops, both locations of Stokes Grill and Bar, Sullivan's Steakhouse, Taita, The Grey Plume, Tussey's Casual Grill, Twisted Cork Bistro, Twisted Fork Grill and Saloon, both locations of the Upstream Brewing Company, V. Mertz, Wave Bistro, ZIN Room and Zurlo's Bistro Italiano.
More information: omaharestaurantweek.com
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Derek Eskens, an Omaha food blogger, has dined out every night this week in neighborhoods all over the city as part of the third annual Omaha Restaurant Week.
“We've used it as an excuse to try places that we haven't been to yet, or haven't been to in a long time,” Eskens said.
It's what Jen Kocher, who organizes the week-long dining event, wants more Omahans to do.
“We really hope people do make an event out of the whole week,” she said. “It's an excuse for people to treat themselves.”
Omaha Restaurant Week, an annual dining-centric event in which restaurants offer fixed-price diners that cost $20, $30 or $40 per person for three courses, continues through Sunday.
Eskens and his wife have so far have been to Twisted Cork Bistro and Taita. Before the week is over, they hope to also hit J. Coco, The Grey Plume and the Boiler Room.
At Taita, Eskens sampled one of the more adventurous dishes being served during Omaha Restaurant Week: beef heart. It wasn't what he expected, he said.
“It was very tender, almost creamy like gizzard,” he said.
He's not the only adventurous diner this week.
At 360 Steakhouse, inside Harrah's Casino in Council Bluffs, Chef Andrew Loughrey is serving kangaroo fillet. The chef, a native of Australia, served it once as a special before Restaurant Week, and only two diners ordered it, so he wasn't sure it would go over well.
“The first night of Restaurant Week, I sold 29,” Loughrey said. “The second night I sold 27. So I have had to order more.”
Loughrey prepares the half-fillets simply, grilled to medium-rare with a red wine and rosemary jus and a side of garlic mashed potatoes.
“I think it's something that people can't get anywhere else,” he said. “People see it and want to be adventurous.”
He said he's not sure he'll continue to serve it after Restaurant Week, but if diners ask for it, he might.
“I wanted to create something special,” he said.
Kocher said a lot of chefs did that, steering away from traditional steak-and-potatoes meals and instead preparing interesting cuts of meat or serving unusual seafood. Many chefs this year are also using locally produced ingredients, she said.
But there is still plenty of traditional Restaurant Week proteins worth trying.
My husband and I ventured out west to Dante Ristorante for our own Restaurant Week dinner. We left pleased with the two dishes we shared: carbonara pasta with pancetta, pickled shallot, grana padano cheese and a soft egg on top; and a plate of big, tender diver scallops served with tender oxtail, pillowy potato gnocchi and huge mushrooms.
Omahan Kathy Christiansen said she ordered and enjoyed the chicken picatta on the menu at Zurlo's, also in west Omaha. Jay Robinson, also of Omaha, liked his meal at Cantina Laredo in Midtown Crossing of mango salad, carnitas torta sandwich and tres leches dessert.
“I was quite pleased,” he said. “Especially for $20.”
Correction: A previous version of this story listed an incorrect location for 360 Steakhouse.