I wish I had taken pictures on our 25th anniversary but I do not have a single one! And I had my hair done nicely, was wearing a nice red blouse and a little pencil skirt and PC had a nice shirt and tie and we looked like a million bucks, or at least the tax on a million.
I didn’t get any pictures of the restaurant or the food, but we ate at The Grey Plume in Omaha, which is about an hour from Lincoln. The restaurant is located in midtown Omaha in a recently revitalized area with theaters, shops, restaurants and areas for concerts and outdoor dining. It was about 10 degrees outside, so by the time we had gotten from our car to the restaurant, my legs were numb and I had the severe shivers.
After we gave our server our order, they brought us out warm, freshly baked artisan rolls – the outside crust was thick and chewy and breaking it open, the yeasty bread smell was intoxicating. There was a tiny white dish of freshly churned butter in the center of the table. After our bread, the server brought us an amuse-bouche, or what they call a “first bite.” It was explained as a deconstructed sour cream and onion potato chip: an onion-infused disc of creamy panna cotta, dusted on the outside with tomato powder, with a tiny potato chip on top and a probably something else, and the spoon rested on a small circle of pureed potato with (I think) chive oil in it.
It sounds incredibly precious and silly when I read that description but sweet fancy Moses, it was SO GOOD. It just kind of….sang to us. We were just grinning about the taste after we finished.
Our first plate (first course) was the highly recommended “Duck Fat Fries.” Potatoes cut like french fries, cooked in duck fat, served with a very brightly flavored aioli and topped with a tiny fried quail egg. That was $8.00 and worth. every. penny.
The flavor was CRAZY good, and it was silly and rich and decadent and sunny and made my toes curl up in my shoes. I nearly started crying.
PC had a glass of red wine and since I don’t drink, I asked our server to just bring me something fun. She had the bartender (thank God she didn’t refer to him as a “mixologist” because I would have had to mock them) make me an Italian soda with soda water, blood orange and a little maple. It was light and delicious.
For our main courses, PC chose the “Majinola Farm’s Wagyu Beef Strip Loin” which was served on a plate with carrot puree, chunks of cooked potato, maitake mushroom, pickled sweet corn and pastrami made from beef near the belly, which melted like butter on the tongue. PC said the mushroom was almost better than the beef, but when he had the beef with the sauces under the mushroom and corn, it was, he said, wonderful.
I had the “TD Niche Farm’s Heritage Pork” which was served three ways: medium rare pork loin medallions, pork shank and pork belly. They were accompanied by black walnuts seasoned with maple, chunks of cooked pumpkin, greens, shiitake mushrooms and slices of blood orange.
The pork tenderloin was very good. The pork shank was amazing. The pork belly was a religious experience. Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of mushrooms, was not real thrilled about pumpkin, and the black walnuts in whatever puree they were presented, tasting of maple were……nasty. I like walnuts, but black walnuts taste like gothic dirt. They are dirt with sin mixed in, dirt surrounded by gargoyles. What I’m saying to you is that I did not care for them. I did not like them, Sam I Am.
But the pork? It was enough to make me almost cry, it was that good.
After that course, we ordered a pot of French pressed coffee – it was good, but I like a LOT of sweetener in my coffee because I am a weak human being. I had one cup. We received a dessert menu and I really wanted to try the buttermilk creme brulee, but that maple and black walnut taste kept coming back to me and I couldn’t do it. My taste buds were in conflict and I was filled with regret that I hadn’t ordered something else.
Our server gave us a copy of the menu as a souvenir at my request, and on the way out, we were each given a little cellophane bag containing two butter cookies, with a note attached telling us to enjoy these pastries in the morning, as they were fresh baked that day with us in mind. It was really sweet.
Would we go back there again? Absolutely, for a special occasion or just to have the duck fat fries and a drink with friends. Our check was over $100 – but it was a special day, our anniversary, so we knew it would be a huge splurge.
Here’s a picture from someone’s restaurant review online, a picture they took of the duck fat fries:
We sat at the small table for two located right at the middle by the pillar – I sat on the velvet covered banquette, and enjoyed a view of the whole place. Outside, it was cold and white lights twinkled on all the bare trees. Inside, the restaurant was warm and quiet, with the hum of diners’ conversations and the lovely atmosphere of reclaimed wood floors, beautiful light fixtures, and a sprig of rosemary in a small vase on our table next to the small square bread plates made from recycled wine bottles. It was just a lovely place to escape for an evening, indulge in some luxury and molecular gastronomy, and celebrate our anniversary.
If you’re ever in Omaha, it’s worth a trip to check it out – take a look through their website to learn more. It was a memorable experience, to say the least.