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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 22 Aug 2008 @ 11:01 PM 

Yesterday was a rainy, icky, ugly day.  (At least in the morning.)  It was a day of discouraging personal news and the weather seemed to match our mood.  We went to a friend’s house and chatted about lunch.  Since my friend lives near mid-town we wanted to find something close.  That is when my wife suggested the Lithuanian Bakery on 74th and Pacific.  Hex (Our friend) and I didn’t care.  It was close and they supposedly had a Lithuanian Torte which we were all in love with so we shrugged and climbed into the Critic-Mobile.  I took it out of stealth mode and dove.

We pulled up to this old strip mall that had (or is) the site of McKenna’s, and in the corner was this little bakery.  The sign was half gone from the wind storms we’ve had here recently.  I think all it said was “Lithu”.  Anyway, it left me sad that they had not repaired it or at least taken it down.  So we walk in and see a counter full of pastries.  To the right, a set of shelves with various “old world” treats.  To the left was a small and unassuming dining area.  The three of us take a seat and start perusing the menu.

I have to admit, their menu is small.  It’s unassuming, uncomplicated, and unpretentious.  It is what it is.  A small shop selling some great food.  I ordered the “combo plate” that knackwurst, bratwurst, sauerkraut, and a potato salad.  My wife ordered the kielbasa plate and Hex ordered the Pastrami sandwich.  It wasn’t the prettiest food I’ve eaten, but the portions were good size and the flavor was spot on.  The sausages that I sampled had a very smooth and consistent texture and married very well with the mellow sauerkraut.  My wife’s kielbasa reminded me of sausages that I’ve had from small butcher shops in south Texas.  Very tasty and a little smoky.  Hex claimed that her pastrami and swiss was the best one she had ever had.  It was interesting, because it was one of the ugliest sandwiches I have seen.

Our server was attentive, and seemed to be proud of her little shop.  She was eager for our approval and lit up when we talked about how good it was.  We finished off with a slice (My wife and I shared while Hex had her own) of chocolate Lithuanian torte.  It was very flaky and done perfectly.  I wish I had a nice espresso or a cup o’ mud to go with it.  It was very rich and well prepared.  I will definitely go back for more.

Pluses: Good food at a very reasonable price.  The Sauerkraut wasn’t overpowering and was an excellent accompaniment to the sausages.  Our server was friendly and attentive.

Minuses: I wanted more sauerkraut on the plate, presentation needed a little work, and the sign out front needs fixing.

Overall Impression: I want to go back again and again.  I loved it.  I have to rate it fairly against others, so it won’t score on the high side.  The food took me back to my mothers cooking (when she took the time to do it like her mom).  The torte was to die for and I wanted to eat ALL the pastries that they had in the case.  Everyone was nice and friendly.  I went early on a Thursday so I don’t know how much business they do.  I would hope that after reading this you go try them out.

~The Omaha Critic

Posted By: The Omaha Critic
Last Edit: 22 Aug 2008 @ 11:13 PM

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 31 Aug 2007 @ 1:58 AM 

After much begging by my friends and co-workers: Hiro Sushi (130th & Maple) 

Sushi or not Sushi…..


That is the typical question that we ask ourselves every Friday and Saturday night.  Hiro Sushi and Sake or Hiro and Mountain Dew….

Normally, one would have a white wine or sake with Sushi.  I have found this to be problematic as I don’t think that I’m a big white wine fan. (Unless I have a nice cheese, pate, and a big ice cold bottle of Piesporter Michelsberg.)  I like the occasional “Kita” before I have my sushi, but for during the meal, it just doesn’t work for me.  Ok, you hard core sushi fans, have you ever HAD Dew with your sushi?  Try it after having a heavily “wasabi’d” piece with a little soy; The flavors just kind of meld together.  It’s wonderful.

That being said, I tend to drag the family along so I can stuff my face with various forms of fish.  I have been to most every other Sushi place in town.  I have never been as happy with them as I am with Hiro.  The overall consistency of flavor, quality, atmosphere, and fish have been solid every time I have been there.  Ok, well, during that last heat wave the AC couldn’t keep up, but past that it has been solid.  Today I again indulged in my favorite thing on the standard menu: White tuna sashimi.  Yes kiddies, that is raw fish for the sake of raw fish.  Understand something: It has a very delicate texture but is backed with flavor.  When white tuna is coupled with soy and some wasabi, the flavor just… it… It is a nice salty experience.  Can you tell I like white tuna?

My favorite above all others is the “white salmon”.  They get it in very rarely.  The owners like to bring in new and interesting fish to see how it sells.  They had a load of this in and I swear I could have eaten the whole shipment. 

Now when it comes to service, I am very picky.  I have my tastes and expectations of what service should be.  My glass should never be empty of whatever it is I am drinking, I don’t want to sit around looking at dirty dishes, I don’t want to sit and wait forever for you to come and greet me and get me my drink order, and most of all, I don’t want to sit around waiting for my flipping check.  Nothing makes a tip go down faster than me sitting waiting for you to either bring me my bill or return with my credit card.

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*plays sound of a toilet flushing*

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I am happy to say that I have really never had that problem at Hiro.  Has it taken longer than I’d like?  Yes, but it has never taken way too long.  (Since I typically go during happy hour, the waiters are working their rear ends off so I understand.)  Now none of the wait staff is bad.  No matter who you have, the owners will still come by and check on you and make sure that they are taking care of you.  I have my favorites however.  If you go, you should find one waiter you are fond of and stick with them.  It would also be good to find a backup.  Whenever I go, Sammy’s the guy.  We walk in and immediately see who is working.  If Sammy’s there we wave him down. Sometimes our drink order is to the table before we are.  He knows us very well. There is other wait staff of fantastic quality; they are “Rusty” and “John” who I would honestly put on par with Sammy, I have had A+ service out of them both.  I have just been doing business with Sammy for so long… he’s just “got it”.  The waitress I had today was good.  She’s new and if she keeps it up will be very good.  My drink was never empty, she was prompt with the check, and made sure to check on us regularly. GREAT JOB!


Overall impression:  Hiro is consistent.  Top quality food, great atmosphere, traditional sushi, they let the fish speak for its self.  They have a Chinese kitchen as well that makes the best peanut butter chicken on the planet.  It is an Omaha “Must Have”.

Plusses: Freshest fish in town.  One of the owners picks it up from the airport himself and will refuse it if it’s not just right. The service is “fabu”!  The décor is simple yet elegant.  I really enjoy myself.  HAPPY HOUR! (Half price rolls!)

Minuses: Happy hour has been invaded!  It’s PACKED from 10PM – 12PM.  On hot days, the AC can’t keep up.  They need more tables (Or just one for us!)

~The Omaha Critic


P.s. Hey parents, the rocks are cool, but keep your kids out of them! It’s a decoration, not a sand box. (Oops, was that in my out loud voice?)

Posted By: The Omaha Critic
Last Edit: 31 Aug 2007 @ 02:11 AM

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 22 Aug 2007 @ 4:52 AM 

Chipotle (176th and West Center) 

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I know that Taco Johns started the whole Taco Tuesday thing, but we as a family adopted it for Mexican night.  Tonight being Tuesday, we needed tacos.  So fighting West-O traffic, and rolling through a neighborhood to get to the turn.  We managed to come out on 168th street unscathed.  We boogied to our destination.  I pull up and walk in.  The kids began to meander at the start of the counter, not really knowing what they wanted.  I “encouraged them” to pick something.  They were very helpful to the kids and even compliment them on their manners.  We managed to get all our food and we sat down.  The shift manager was attentive and helpful, even offering to get us other things.  He cracked a few jokes, then he was gone.  I tore into my Carnitas Burrito with fervor… I was starving.  The meat was tender and juicy.  It had great flavor and was filling.  The Kids Tacos were scavenged quickly (save our rather fickle chainsaw).  We finished up and we were then again on our way. 

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Overall impression: I like Chipotle.  I always have.  I have never had a bad experience in a Chipotle and the food is always consistent.  It is a solid choice for a burrito or Taco.  You will not be disappointed in their quality.  The Decor was modern Aztec.  It was interesting.  I have been coming to Chipotle since they have been in Omaha, and I love it.  For what they want it to be, it is.  Good, fast, fresh, creating a craving for some.

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Plusses: Good and fast food, good after service and the store is typically spotless.  Special attention is paid to cleanliness.  I was well fed for the money. Minuses: THE CHAIRS HURT MY BUTT! and I would love someone coming around filling drinks. That’s a want more than anything. The chairs though… need a bigger butt-pad on them.  

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~The Omaha Critic

Posted By: The Omaha Critic
Last Edit: 22 Aug 2007 @ 04:56 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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