23 Jun 2010 @ 5:46 AM 

For year’s I’ve been hearing about Vidlak’s Brookside Cafe in Millard, located on the Northwest corner of 156th and L/Center/Bob Boozer/whatever it is at that point. (Sorry, no website or we’d link!) I’ve heard time and again that Vidlak’s had the best breakfast in Omaha. But, to be honest, the best breakfast in Omaha is made by my husband right here at home on a fairly regular basis – so we don’t go out for breakfast much!

Regardless, I wanted to try Vidlak’s out and see what all the hype was about. We stopped in on a week day morning, around 10 AM. The restaurant was busy, but not overly crowded, and we had no problem finding a table. I overheard one of the servers saying that they had just had a rush, and everyone who was there had come in within the last 10 minutes. Ok, I thought – it may be a bit to get our food, if everybody just got here.

We ordered quickly – a selection called the “gut buster”, which included two sausage patties, two eggs, two potato pancakes, and choice of toast or regular pancakes, all for $6.95. I also ordered a cup of coffee, as I find that’s almost always a good barometer of a “breakfast joint”! If they can’t get the coffee right, forget the rest.

As I sat and waited for our food to come, I watched how the servers buzzed around the room and interacted with the other customers. Buzzed is very much the right word – as the main server in my section was constant in her trips from table to table, making sure everyone had what they needed. Now – Vidlak’s isn’t all that fancy. I stop short of calling it a diner, because…well…because I guess it feels just a step above a diner. It’s just a nice, middle of the road kind of place.

To my surprise, the food actually came out rather quickly, and piping hot! The sausage was great, the potato pancakes were awesome, and the eggs…well…they were eggs. Scrambled, by my selection, and there was nothing wrong with them. Eggs just don’t thrill me, so I admit I avoided them. They looked good, however, and my dining companion enjoyed some of mine.

What I really loved, though? The regular pancakes! They were served as a side to my meal, and…wow…the were sensational! Great flavor, cooked to a beautiful golden brown, served with warm syrup and softened butter…the were pancake perfection! I will definitely be back!

My overall rating…it’s a good 4 napkins. I can’t find much to argue against it actually being the best breakfast in Omaha. It was pretty darn good. The ony slight problem I saw was that the person sitting across from me never got her food, and there was confusion over who had put her order in. HOWEVER – three of the servers immediately worked to make the situation right. I left before she received her food, so I don’t know how that ended, but it was the only less-than-perfect thing I saw. Given the actions of the staff, I can’t even fault them for it.

I can’t wait to go back for some Eggs Benedict. Or maybe a potato casserole. Man, I don’t know – I just want some more pancakes!

~The Critical Wife

Posted By: The Critical Wife
Last Edit: 23 Jun 2010 @ 05:46 AM

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 18 Jun 2010 @ 7:12 PM 

Ok, so again we’re not updating quite as often as I would like, and I have the best of intentions. But you know how it is – life gets in the way.

LIFE, man.

Grand China Buffet – Roughly 112th & Chicago (by Parable book store).
Ok, people. Don’t roll your eyes. It’s a buffet. It’s a CHINESE buffet. Sounds a LOT like China Buffet right across Dodge street at 114th. But you know what? WOW. This place offers the standard Chinese buffet, Mongolian barbeque, and…wait for it…SUSHI! Not the premade sushi a lot of buffets have, but fresh, prepared on-site where you can see it, sushi. I’m not going to lie – it’s not on par with our favorite sushi, but you know what? It’s not half bad! Their buffet is expansive, with many, many selections including some non-Chinese options. My personal favorite? Their coconut shrimp. AWESOME. They also have the standard crab legs at dinner, and all the Blue Bunny ice cream you can handle for dessert! SO – as buffets go, it’s a win. The restaurant is clean, the staff has been very attentive on the several occasions we’ve gone. The food is buffet food quality – but not bad, and plentiful. I’m going to give this one a solid 4 napkin rating. It is definitely well worth it.

Posted By: The Critical Wife
Last Edit: 18 Jun 2010 @ 07:12 PM

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 04 May 2010 @ 7:47 PM 
There are some treasures you stumble across by complete accident.  Today, such a thing happened.
A coworker and I went to lunch and we were headed to Jason’s Deli.  When we pulled up, the line was out the door.  We couldn’t find a parking spot within reasonable walking distance and we both became agitated.  So we drove away and I figured we should try someplace new.  We exited out on to “I” street and I said, “Ever have Korean?”  The answer was no, so I drove up “I” street to 108th and cut across.  I was feeling rather Han Kuk Kwan-ish and so I figured some nice Bulgogi would be in order.    We pulled up in front of what used to be the right place and there was a new sign: “Maru”.  It was now serving Sushi and Korean food.  We walked in and the homey mom and pop restaurant was replaced with a spiffy modern look.  No more karaoke room, no more big screen TV… it was all gone.  What was in its place was a totally remodeled, sleek new dining area and an extended menu.  I ordered my Bulgogi  and two rolls:  Mikki and Salmon Skin.  It was a little strange though because my co-worker and I were the only two in the place for a while.  Our waitress seemed a bit new at it, but she was nice and took pretty good care of us.
The food came out and I was a bit sad, I had ordered off the lunch menu which has a different Bulgogi recipe than the dinner menu, but it was still good.  Then my sushi came out.  It looked real good.  The presentation wasn’t as artistic as I like, but they were big rolls.  Fat with filling and thin with rice.  The rice was good and I am happy to say that the fish was fresh.  As we dined others came in, having the same reaction that we had.  Nobody really knows that it’s there.  So I am taking it on myself to say something nice about them.  Am I putting this place on par with Hiro?  I don’t know.  Is it better than Blue?  I think so.  Better than Sushi-Japan?  YEAH!  (Duh!)
I hope the owner takes my advice and does a promotion with Club Roxbury, which is just up the street.  I think it could bring them new business.  I believe that after a bit of refining, that Maru could be something special.  The southwest side of Omaha needs something good.  We’re lacking awesome, Omaha owned and operated food.
The Good: Great sushi, Fresh fish, Great remodel, Nice staff, great location
The Bad: MORE GINGER!!! MORE WASABI!!!  Ginger is like candy… more more more…  😉  There wasn’t much on the plate when it came out.  Made me feel like you were skimping.
The overall impression:  Good job.  Nice place, prices are on the same level as Hiro and Blue.  I am looking forward to exploring their menu more.  I think that it is going to be a place I start dragging people to.  Will it be “Hiro” to me?  Dunno… doubt it… but it’s damn good for what it is.  I will be back.  (Someone Build them a website!)
~The Omaha Critic. (Well Fed)

There are some treasures you stumble across by complete accident.  Today, such a thing happened.

A coworker and I went to lunch and we were headed to Jason’s Deli.  When we pulled up, the line was out the door.  We couldn’t find a parking spot within reasonable walking distance and we both became agitated.  So we drove away and I figured we should try someplace new.  We exited out on to “I” street and I said, “Ever have Korean?”  The answer was no, so I drove up “I” street to 108th and cut across.  I was feeling rather Han Kuk Kwan-ish and so I figured some nice Bulgogi would be in order.    We pulled up in front of what used to be the right place and there was a new sign: “Maru”.  It was now serving Sushi and Korean food.  We walked in and the homey mom and pop restaurant was replaced with a spiffy modern look.  No more karaoke room, no more big screen TV… it was all gone.  What was in its place was a totally remodeled, sleek new dining area and an extended menu.  I ordered my Bulgogi  and two rolls:  Mikki and Salmon Skin.  It was a little strange though because my co-worker and I were the only two in the place for a while.  Our waitress seemed a bit new at it, but she was nice and took pretty good care of us.

The food came out and I was a bit sad, I had ordered off the lunch menu which has a different Bulgogi recipe than the dinner menu, but it was still good.  Then my sushi came out.  It looked real good.  The presentation wasn’t as artistic as I like, but they were big rolls.  Fat with filling and thin with rice.  The rice was good and I am happy to say that the fish was fresh.  As we dined others came in, having the same reaction that we had.  Nobody really knows that it’s there.  So I am taking it on myself to say something nice about them.  Am I putting this place on par with Hiro?  I don’t know.  Is it better than Blue?  I think so.  Better than Sushi-Japan?  YEAH!  (Duh!)

I hope the owner takes my advice and does a promotion with Club Roxbury, which is just up the street.  I think it could bring them new business.  I believe that after a bit of refining, that Maru could be something special.  The southwest side of Omaha needs something good.  We’re lacking awesome, Omaha owned and operated food.

The Good: Great sushi, Fresh fish, Great remodel, Nice staff, great location

The Bad: MORE GINGER!!! MORE WASABI!!!  Ginger is like candy… more more more…  😉  There wasn’t much on the plate when it came out.  Made me feel like you were skimping.

The overall impression:  Good job.  Nice place, prices are on the same level as Hiro and Blue.  I am looking forward to exploring their menu more.  I think that it is going to be a place I start dragging people to.  Will it be “Hiro” to me?  Dunno… doubt it… but it’s damn good for what it is.  I will be back.  (Someone Build them a website!)

~The Omaha Critic. (Well Fed)

Posted By: The Omaha Critic
Last Edit: 04 May 2010 @ 07:49 PM

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 04 Mar 2008 @ 1:49 AM 

I have been doing Thai food now for about 4 years.  I have been to most every Thai place in Omaha or at least I think I have.  Well last night, I was driving through a parking lot at 144th and Center streets and spotted “Mai Thai”.  It’s not my normal Thai food haunt, but since “Taste of Thailand” is closed on Sundays, I figured I would give it a spin.  I was in the place back when it was “Chop Stix”.  Then it was cute and quaint, and I think my wife worked with a relative of the owners, so we went there to support their business.  That being said, I don’t know who owns it now.

We walked in and immediately you notice the dining room is small.  The tables are small… this is a tiny place.  We get seated and our waiter came over and took our drink orders and gave us water.  We ordered spring rolls and eggrolls.  After the appetizer order was placed, he came back with our drinks (soda in a can with glasses of ice) and then took our order: Garlic Noodles at a 1, Chicken Pad Thai at a 1, and a Beef Panang curry as hot as you can make it. They had a 1 – 5 star heat scale, I asked for a 7 or 8.  Nobody ever seems to take me seriously when I tell them to burn me and make me cry.  One reason I got from a waitress one time is that if it’s too hot, I will send it back and they will have to waste that food to make me something less spicy.  Most Midwesterners say they can “handle” the heat, but when it comes down to it, they’re pansies.  If you are going to say you can handle the heat, then “hang with the big dogs” and don’t sent it back because you’re a wimp.

Well, enough of my tangent rant on spicy food!  As we sat there, the warm air of the heater blew down on us as the slush fell from the sky.  Our waiter brought out our appetizers and we dug in.  The spring rolls were nice and fat.  Two large rolls, cut in half creating 4 pieces with a chili/peanut infused sauce.  The texture of the spring roll married together well with the zing of the sauce.  It was real good.  Then the egg-roll:  Delicate and small, 4 to an order.  They came with a sweet and sour chili sauce.  Everything was very fresh. 

Soon after we finished our appetizers, our main order came out.  My Panang Curry was very good.  It was a sweet curry with strips of cafir leaf, beef, and red and green bell peppers.  The presentation was an effective attempt at making the food look elegant.  I have 2 things about the dish I didn’t like.  It wasn’t hot enough.  I specifically asked for it to make me cry.  It was warm and had great flavor however.  The other thing I din’t like about it was that the cafir leaf strips.  They should have left the leaf whole.  The texture of the leaf was too hard for the rest of the dish.  If it was left whole, I could have avoided it.  I use cafir leaf myself in my cooking.  It’s easy enough to do. 

I am happy to say that I actually loved my daughter’s Pad Thai, as mild as it was more than my curry.  The flavor was incredible.  It wasn’t drenched in ketchup, but relied on other flavors to carry the dish.  The presentation was pleasing, but wasn’t over-crowded with colors. 

We didn’t do dessert… I was to full from finishing off my plate and my daughter’s as well.  This is a place I would recommend to anyone wanting Thai food and I will definitely make this a regular stop.

Pluses: Great food, intimate atmosphere, fantastic service.

Minuses: Man, when I say hot, hurt me! Canned soda.

Overall impression:  I think that the place had a great feel.  It was small and there was tons of to-go business.  I liked it.  I think they can improve a little, but for what they are trying to accomplish, I think they are doing well.  I think this place is a keeper.

~The Omaha Critic

Posted By: The Omaha Critic
Last Edit: 04 Mar 2008 @ 01:49 AM

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 21 Aug 2007 @ 5:14 PM 

BoBo China (156 and Q Street)

It’s time to redeem myself in the area of Chinese cuisine. I have a place I like to hang out in believe it or not and it’s called BoBo China. I have been going there for about a year and a half. I spotted it while going into Bag and Save one day and always said that I wanted to go in there… It only took me a year and a half to do so. (Bad choice on my part).

When you walk in, you notice the poster board specials taped to the wall, and a white board listing other specials after entering the second door. The place is a pinkish beige color, and it’s rather unpretentious and simple. There are many small tables and one large table for larger families and groups. The menus are sparse and the server will go nab them off another table for you.

The waiter, and I don’t know his name, is a tall oriental man, very thin and lanky. I think he either owns the place or is related to who is. The first few times I went there, I wasn’t too sure about him. Very quiet and reserved. As I continued to frequent the place, is personality began to show. He’s funny. I like him a lot. Once you spend some time there, you will see it too.

ON TO THE FOOD!!!!

Ok, again, I live for eating…. Yes, I know, I should eat to live. Get over it. If I didn’t feel that way, this site would be boring!

Anyway… I have to say that this is one of the top 5 Chinese places in Omaha. The menu is inexpensive, you get a boatload of food, and the flavor in each action packed bite of my Kung Pao chicken is awesome. I can honestly say, that whoever is in back cooking should get a medal. The fried rice is fantastic, and the orange beef is really crispy and tasty. This last time we went there, someone ordered the peanut butter chicken. Oh man… that was tasty. One of my favorite things on the menu is their Egg Rolls. I don’t know if they make them there or what, but they have got the best flavor. The texture of the filling is real good, kind of becoming one piece of meat, instead of over-flowing with veggies that nobody likes.

The garbage to meat ratio (Veggies to meat) is rather low. There are tons of shrimp in my Kung Pao shrimp, and most of the other dishes that I have had are not overloaded with vegetation. They really focus on the flavor of what they are making instead of the profit from it. It’s fantastic. I am really impressed with the consistency and quality of every dish that comes out. The service is real good and they do a good job keeping everything moving.

Overall impression: It’s a little Chinese food hole in the wall that has really good food and good service. I give this place a solid rating! A “Must Have!”

Plusses: Great food, great prices, large portions. Good service and good location if you live in Southwest Omaha.

Minuses: Need menus for each table and sometimes the food doesn’t come out all at once. (Its not too bad, like a minute or two.) I think they need to get boards for their specials and perhaps a professional looking menu for behind the counter that doesn’t involve poster board and a sharpie marker.

I love this place…

~The Omaha Critic

Posted By: The Omaha Critic
Last Edit: 22 Aug 2007 @ 03:34 AM

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