10 Aug 2010 @ 5:40 PM 

It seems like all sorts of new restaurants are springing up around Omaha, which is a bittersweet development for the OC and myself. I love nothing more, when we have a chance to go out to eat, than saying “Let’s try somewhere new!.” Sadly, there are far more “new” places than our budget allows us to visit!

To that end, we stopped in to the new Buffalo Rings & Wings at 12240 L Street. We stopped in for a late lunch, so we missed the majority of the lunch rush. After a little confusion amongst the wait staff as to where to seat us, we were given a table, and immediately placed our drink orders. Our server, Luke, was awesome at making sure we had everything we needed, and that we never had to wait for a drink refill.

I ordered their lunch special boneless wings with lemon pepper sauce (5 boneless wings and a side for $5.99), as did our daughter with parmesan garlic sauce, and OC represented all of MANHOOD by ordering 10 mild roasted garlic wings, 15 Original Hot wings, and then an additional lunch special with 5 Original ATOMIC wings (Yes, about half of them went home for the rest of our troops to devour). For sides, we ordered saratoga chips and onion rings.

The wings? They’re good. They’re not spectacular – they don’t stand out as the BEST wings we’ve ever had, but they were good. They were flavorful. They had plenty of sauce and were cooked perfectly, for both the boneless wings and the traditional wings. Heat-wise – they just weren’t that hot. Even the atomic wings – while they did provide some longlasting burn – weren’t that hot. The Original Hot wings would be on par, for me, with a Buffalo Wild Wings Medium hot wing. The roasted garlic and lemon pepper sauces were good, but not spectacular. The parmesan garlic sauce was my favorite of the ones we tried.

The saratoga chips? Meh – they were good chips, I will say that, but they also weren’t anything to write home about. The onion rings, however? PHENOMENAL. They were easily the best onion rings we’ve had in a very long time, and when dipped in the garlic parmesan sauce from the wings? Outstanding. VERY VERY GOOD.

The only down side we felt was that there could be a little more flexibility in allowing customers to select more sauces. OC wanted 25 wings with 3 different sauces, but was told he could only have 2 (as an order of 10 and 15). He would have tried more sauces if he could have broken them out in 5’s – and then we’d be able to rate more of their sauces for you! Unfortunately, it is what it is. I understand it’s easier for them to manage this way, but as a customer, especially at a new place, you want to try all the sauces. More accomodation would be nice.

OH – the other thing that was absolutely fabulous – we had the Xango dessert, which was essentially cheesecake wrapped in a pastry shell and fried, and then dressed with cinnamon and sugar, strawberry sauce, and whipped cream. It was AWESOME.

The atomsphere was great – very uptown sportsbar-ish, with enough tv’s on the walls to make my husband’s ADD-addled head explode. Everything was clean and efficient, and aside from the small issue seating us, everything was perfect. It’s not overly pricey (on par with the other wing places in town), and everything was great.

I give it a solid 4 French Fries – it’d go up if the’d let you mix and match your sauces a little more.

~The Critical Wife

Posted By: The Critical Wife
Last Edit: 10 Aug 2010 @ 05:41 PM

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 10 Aug 2010 @ 5:15 PM 

Mexican food is by far one of my favorite “categories” of food. From time to time, we venture out to South O to check out some of the more “authentic” Mexican restaurants, and we have a couple of less authentic, more tex-mex-y type places around where we live. We are always looking for new places to try – and just happened to find one the other day that we hadn’t known about.

While we were out looking for a new/different place to eat yesterday, we stumbled on Salgado’s Mexican Grill, near 90th & Fort. (It’s in the shopping center where the Shopko is. Formerly Julios, Matt’s Grill, and possibly several other random things.)  Going into the restaurant, it reminded me of most of the other middle of the road Mexican restaurants around here.  Somewhere along the line of Julios or LaFondas, is what I expected. 

We arrived around 12:15, and were seated quickly in an empty section.  Upon perusing the menu, the OC and I were both stumped.  We wanted one of everything.  Salgado’s offers a mix of more traditional Mexican fare, along with Americanized versions of many dishes, and even burgers.   OC kind of twisted it up by having traditional Mexican tacos, but with ground beef and chicken fillings.  (This seriously bummed me out, as I was hoping he’d get asada and carnitas.  Darn him.) 

I went the white girl route with the Burrito Gringo.  People…what they didn’t say on the menu is it should be burrito gringoS.  Plural.  As in there is no way one person can finish that burrito in one sitting.  WOW.

Ok, the food – rather than the standard chips and salsa, Salgado’s serves chips with a selection of salsa, beans, and a spicy pico de gallo.  All of these were good – very spicy on the salsa and pico, but the beans were a little bland (fixed this with salt).  The tacos were great – all they were missing was a slice of lime, which was requested but never delivered.  The dish was two ground beef and two shredded chicken tacos in corn tortillas with onions, cilantro, and radish slices.  Flavorwise, they were awesome.  My burrito was also fantastic, and I ate about 1/3 of it before being completely miserably full.  It was filled with beans, rice, and ground beef, and smothered in melted cheese and sour cream.  TOTALLY wonderful. 

The best part – the burrito bigger than my head was $5.99.  OC’s tacos were 7 or 8 bucks total – can’t remember if he got them as a lunch special or a la carte.  Either way, still cheap.  The horchata they offer….wasn’t memorable.  It had a really perfumey taste I don’t love, but it wasn’t bad.  Service was decent, but a little flighty. 

We will definitely go back.

My rating?  3.5 Napkins, brought down only for service.   If I could give it a 3.75, I would.  Very tasty food, very affordable, decent service (not great).   All in all, good, authentic-ish, Mexican food!  Give it a shot.

Rated by: TheCriticalWife

Posted By: The Critical Wife
Last Edit: 10 Aug 2010 @ 05:15 PM

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 09 Apr 2010 @ 8:55 PM 

As last time, I stared blankly at the numbers in disbelief.  I checked and rechecked these numbers, but I stand by the tasters… The majority of them have been with us the whole way!

That being said, I am just going to post the numbers raw….

Sortino Yuk Val Yuk

3

1

2

3

4

4

2

2

3

1

2

2

4

1

2

1

2

1

3

1

2

4

4

5

4

3

2

3

3

2.142857

4

2.428571

4

3

4

3

4

3

4

4

3

3

3

3

2

3

3

3

4

4

3

3

4

3

4

3

2

3

2

3

2

3

2

4

2

4

2

2

2

3

3

4

-2.14286

-2.42857

2.82266

2.847291

So the final score is Johnny Sortino’s 2.82266 and Valentino’s 2.84729…. Valentino’s squeeks past Sortino’s to the next round.

Now for my take on it… Sortino’s, I thought was hands down the better quality Pizza.  The Crust of Valentino’s makes me.. Well… It’s like eating a squishy wet sponge.   I had a friend of mine say that Val’s is just Nebraska Tradition and that people associate it with Husker Games…

Come on… The Pizza I had today was just not that good… and somehow… Somehow… it scored higher this time than it did last time.  But… I still stand my tasters… It’s about what THEY prefer, not what I prefer… I thought the Sortino’s crust was much better.  I thought that the cheese was better and the pepperoni had more of a bite like it should.    The sauce was better, everything, IMHO was just better and fresher…

Sorry Johnny Sortino’s… I have loved you and will continue to love you… but you’re now eliminated….

~The Omaha Critic (confused)

Posted By: The Omaha Critic
Last Edit: 09 Apr 2010 @ 08:55 PM

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 08 Apr 2010 @ 10:07 PM 

So here’s the thing.  The Critic and I eat out a lot.  We have a large brood, so therefore, the places we tend to frequent are those that are family-friendly.  We place a very high level of importance on “FAMILY FRIENDLY”.  (Which is not to say we don’t love to sneak away to decidedly grown-up establishments like Le Voltaire every chance we get, but THAT is another post!)

One of the restaurants we have frequented for many, many years is King Kong fast food.  I am not going to link to that restaurant, because as of this moment, I will not give that restaurant another PENNY of our hard-earned money.  While the establishment prides themselves on gigantic burgers and gyros, their claim to be a “Family oriented” restaurant (it says so right on their website!) could not have been further from the truth based on our experience today.

SO I’m not going to talk about their food, or their cute little gorillas outside, or their stuffed animals inside.  Instead I am going to relay to you exactly what happened to us this afternoon, at approximately 4:15 pm, when a friend and I decided to take our daughters to King Kong for burgers and gyros after a day at the zoo.  (If you’re local – you’ll know exactly which King Kong we were at, since it’s RIGHT THERE by the zoo.) 

We ordered our food, and sat down.  My friend and I, both women in our thirties, were there with four of our daughters, who ranged in age from 16 to 1.  Apparently it was “teach each other Spanish cuss words day” behind the counter, as the staff behind the counter kept shouting things such as “puta madre!”, and other curse phrases.  My friend and I kept trying to give them the motherly glare, and my friend even at one point yelled “Shut up!  We can hear you!”

Well, this was not enough to get the potty-mouths behind the counter to stop, and my 16-year-old, who had heard enough, stood up and went to the counter.  She told the guys we could hear them, and that we DO understand what they are saying.  The guy behind the counter said “SO?”  She explained to him that there are CHILDREN present, and they UNDERSTAND what those words mean.  The guy behind the counter (apparently the manager?) says “Ok”, and as my SIXTEEN YEAR OLD DAUGHTER turned away, he called her a bitch. 

SO.

I don’t know about you, but I do not find that terribly family oriented. 

And we WILL NOT spend another penny there.  EVER. 

If you want gyros?  My first pick is Jim & Jennie’s Greek Village.  Greek Islands (who doesn’t have a website), or Feta’s are good too. 

Burgers?  Dude, there’s a million places, but I’m LOVING Smashburger lately.

Just do me a favor…don’t take your kids to King Kong unless you want them to walk away knowing how to say “mother f—er” in Spanish.

Posted By: The Critical Wife
Last Edit: 09 Apr 2010 @ 03:58 PM

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 25 Mar 2010 @ 9:54 PM 

Hey Gang…

This week and next is a bi-week for all our pizza-bowlers.  With our best participation on Fridays (while not in Lent and our second round about to start), we’ve decided that waiting until after Easter may be the safest bet for the best participation.  That being said, here are the results of our brackets!

Winners

Losers

Zio’s

La Casa

Don Carmelo’s

Frank’s

Johnny Sortino’s

Mama’s

Oscar’s

Big Fred’s

Roman Coin

Sam & Louie’s

Valentino’s

The Pizza Gourmet

Now, with this next round, we will have three winners.  This is where it gets interesting.  When we have our three winners, we will conduct a vote.  Everyone that has “fallen” in the Pizza Battle will be voted upon to be resurrected in the Semi-Finals.

In the Semi-Final and Final Round, we will order the two pizzas that your favorite location is known for.  These specialty pies will be elected by our tasters for our consideration.  Our final round, our championship round will actually be held at each of the locations of our contestants.

When we resume the Super Bowl of Pizza on Friday, April 9th, these will be our bracket of contestants:

Contestant 1

Contestant 2

Johnny Sortino’s

Vs

Valentino’s

Oscar’s

Vs

Don Carmelo’s

Roman Coin

Vs

Zio’s

Posted By: The Omaha Critic
Last Edit: 25 Mar 2010 @ 09:55 PM

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 25 Mar 2010 @ 9:50 PM 

So last week, I ran out to get Pizza for my team.  I picked up the Valentino’s first then ran out to the Pizza Gourmet on 120th and Gyles… I race back to the office so that everyone can have pizza that at least resembles hot.  I get into the break room, print out the review forms and set up the pizzas for serving.  Set the plates out and napkins, grabbed a slice of Val’s and TPG’s and sit myself down.  I bit into the Val’s and was pleasantly surprised.  It didn’t suck.  Normally when I eat Val’s it’s coming off of their buffet and leave a lot to be desired.  I bit into The Pizza Gourmet’s pizza and was impressed.  It was good.  I started writing down my score…  Talking to my co-workers, it seemed that The Pizza Gourmet had won….

WRONG… Valentino’s put the smack down on TPG… I sat at my desk tabulating the score with my jaw hanging open.  I was so shocked, I called my boss over to verify it.  The score was very skewed to the Val’s side.  Only 30% of the votes went to TPG and 15% of that was mine.

So… the scores were: Valentino’s – 3.12 (Yuk of 2) and The Pizza Gourmet – 2.613 (Yuk of 1.6).  It was the first time a contender had a lower yuk score and lost.  I mean come on.. I was blown away… but these are committees doing the judging… it’s not just my personal choice.

So now we start the play-offs.

~TOC

Posted By: The Omaha Critic
Last Edit: 25 Mar 2010 @ 09:51 PM

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 23 Mar 2010 @ 6:33 PM 

Ok Omaha…

It’s coming up on Spring and it’s the time of year when we men-folk start craving that grilled/smoked/charred decadence that is Barbecue.   So… that being said, ladies and gentlemen, start casting your votes (Ok, suggestions really) for the best “Q” in the Big “O” so we can get some reviews.  GO MEAT!

~The Omaha Critic

Posted By: The Omaha Critic
Last Edit: 23 Mar 2010 @ 06:33 PM

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 11 Mar 2010 @ 10:10 PM 

This week’s battle pitted Sam & Louie’s vs. Roman Coin in a week 6 grudge match.

Ok, it wasn’t much of a grudge match as it was a land slide.  So far, this has been the biggest point spread in the contest.  In the past contests, it has always been within a point… usually .5 or .6 of a point.  This week… Well… See for yourself:

Sam & Louie’s

Roman Coin

2.3

3.533

(Yuk of 3.5)

(Yuk of 1.6)

So as you can see, Roman Coin has taken this in a land slide.

Comments include:

“I was underwhelmed by Sam & Louie’s.  The sauce was very thin and there was hardly any cheese or beef on it.”
“Roman Coin had awesome flavor and the crust was spot on!”
“Sam & Louie’s had good crust, but their sauce and toppings were sub-par!”

Thanks for playing!

My Comments:  I just started a low carb diet this week and I reserved myself to tasting the crust off a small piece and scraping the top off and eating it. (The top, not the crust) Well, I took a bite of the Roman Coin, I was well pleased.  I have eaten their specialty pizza (Buffalo Chicken) before and have loved it.  As a matter of fact, if you see my “Best of” page… you will see Roman Coin is my favorite pizza in Omaha.  So then I wnt for the Sam & Louie’s… I took a bit of the crust and was immediately put off as it was under done.  Then looking at it… the thin cheese and thin sauce make it look like the pizza was covered in slime, not cheese.  I bit into it, picked at the sparse toppings and decided that the best place for it was the trash.  I was actually wishing it was at least Sgt Peffers… It was hands down the lowest I have personally rated a pizza in this whole Super Bowl of Pizza thing.

I would have to say that Roman Coin is my “Hiro” of Omaha Pizza.

~TOC

Posted By: The Omaha Critic
Last Edit: 09 Apr 2010 @ 08:47 PM

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 11 Mar 2010 @ 8:53 PM 

*Yes, I know… but really.. it was WEAK!

Greetings Omaha Pizza Lovers….

I have some dismal news… It seems that our week 5 contestants in the Super Bowl of Pizza performed so poorly that we have decided to skip posting their names and results.

Ok, I declined posting the results to my co-workers… but you, my avid, pizza-ravenous readers… YOU CAN HANDLE THE TRUTH!

I will set it for “Read More” as to not to start a blog war…. So you’re going to have to click it to read it.
More »

Posted By: The Omaha Critic
Last Edit: 23 Mar 2010 @ 06:02 PM

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 11 Mar 2010 @ 8:25 PM 

I would like to apologize to everyone for getting these results out late. 

Our results for last week’s challenge are as follows:

 

Oscars

Big Freds

3.55303

Yuk: 1.75

3.0303

Yuk: 2

 

 

We went to have Pudgy’s Pizza and they were not open for lunch.  So at the last minute we had to scramble to find Pudgy’s stand in.  Oscar’s was at the top of the cut list so we quickly grabbed it.  As such we were surprised to have it knock off Big Fred’s.

Now for my personal feedback:  The majority of us, being in Omaha for years, LOVE Big Fred’s.  You go, you get the stuffed hamburger Pizza and you drink beer and you sit and B.S. with family and friends… We love it.  And the Pizza that we got, was actually rated higher than some of the others that we have rated.  It just didn’t rate high enough.  If Fred’s was in any other bracket so far, I think it may have won out.  No, I know it would have won.  We love it. 

Oscar’s Pizza though… We were floored.  Nobody, and I mean nobody…. expected it to be so damn good.  It was the first time in this contest that I was surprised in a good way.  I liked it so much, that I dragged my family, and my brother and my dad and his wife out to have it.  I even ordered wings and I have to say.. Guinness and their Double Buffed Wings… I was in fat-boy heaven.  (Look for an Oscar’s inspired Hot Wing Challenge soon.)

Posted By: The Omaha Critic
Last Edit: 11 Mar 2010 @ 08:30 PM

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