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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 12 Feb 2010 @ 7:29 PM 

Week 3!

 

Your tasters have indulged and have chosen a winner…

Mama’s Pizza

Johnny Sortino’s

3.06027027

3.21027027

 Johnny Sortino’s holds off Mama’s

Mamma’s Pizza scored a grand total of 116 points while Johnny Sortino’s edged them out with 121.  Yuk Factor for Johnny Sortino’s was a whopping 2.22 while Mama’s oozed further down in the overall score with a rating of 2.77…

 Long live the pie and on to week 4!!!

Random comments:

“Pepperoni was somewhat close, but in hamburger, Mama’s sucked.”

“Mama’s was burnt. (Next portion was edited because of content talking about the less than appealing appearance.) Too much hamburger.  Pepperoni was pretty.  Johnny’s – liked the flavor of the beef and crust.”

“Couldn’t finish the Mama’s beef slice.  Flavorless sauce and bad tasting beef.  Sortino’s tasted good but a bit low on the quantity of Pepperoni.  Beef was good Quantity.”

Now none of those were my comments, just random comments taken from the sheets that came back from rating. 

This week, I was pleasantly surprised.  I actually thought that they were both good and the best week so far for Pizza.  There was plenty of flavor and toppings and pizza to go around.  Everything was fresh and the sauce from both, in my opinion, had some zing.  I was rooting for Johnny Sortino’s all the way… but I didn’t tell anyone this week for fear they would vote the other way for the third straight week.  Normally at Johnny’s I get the Supreme (everything on it) with extra cheese.  After a few slices you fall into a deep coma… Good stuff.  I am excited, because today, even though it lost, I was able to try a new place.  Mama’s, you lost by 5 points.  I think that you have some awesome potential and a good Pizza.  I think Sortino’s was just a hair better.  I think that if you could have not burned the crust, you may have won.

~The Omaha Critic

Posted By: The Omaha Critic
Last Edit: 12 Feb 2010 @ 07:29 PM

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 29 Jan 2010 @ 10:41 PM 

Recently there was a contest at another branch of the company I work for in Connecticut to crown their king of pizza. Not wanting to be out done by people from the east coast, my office is getting together to do our “Super Bowl” of Pizza. We’re in process of building our “Pizza Grid” of our competitors which we should have out next week.

This week we pitted La Casa against Zios in a 3 pie battle. 

The rules are as follows: 3 Pizzas will be ordered from each location. A hamburger, a pepperoni, and a cheese. Each pizza will be rated on crust, sauce, toppings, cheese, “eww” factor, and general overall like or dislike.

La Casa —————————-Zios
Total 2.878787879                  Total 2.878787879
Yuk 2.875                                   Yuk 2.2857142
Total points: 95                           Total Points: 95
Net Points: 92.125                    Net Points: 92.714

As you can tell Zios squeaked by La Casa.

Comments include: “I didn’t like either, but Zios was better all around. Zios looked like a pizza. La Casa more closely resembled an oil drip pan.”

“La Casa: Too Garlicy Zios: Good, but so-so crust”

“Zios: Crust Limp, Greasy, Cheese is weak”

For the record, my preference is La Casa between the two. Who knew that Zios would win… I will keep you posted.

~TOC

Posted By: The Omaha Critic
Last Edit: 05 Feb 2010 @ 07:09 PM

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 24 Nov 2009 @ 5:27 AM 

With the economy taking a big dump here lately and comfort food finally getting some of the gourmet recognition it deserves, hamburgers are getting a little bit more press and more of the spotlight. Lately, I had been hearing some buzz from co-workers on two new burger joints going in. One is 5 guys burgers and fries and the other is Smashburger. Funny thing is I have been meaning to go to each and review them… ok.. yeah.. well… Apparently I haven’t reviewed jack squat for a while. To be honest, I haven’t been able to go out much and when I do, I go to places like Hiro because I know what to expect. (Quality food and quality service) but since I have not Posted anything in a while… I figure I should flex my descriptive muscle and start writing again. That being said… Here goes nothing..

The Nebraska Rifle season for Deer opened weekend before last. I had taken the day off of work in hopes of getting all my errands done, get the last trip to Sheels in and then get out to door and make it to the hunting ground and set up shop. What I thought was going to be an early start, got off late. My wife and I had some time to kill and we were driving on L street and decided that perhaps that day was going to be the day to hit Smashburger. We pulled in and crossed the parking lot with plenty of anticipation. It was 11:30AM and we could see that the place was already packed. We walked in and it was standing room only. There was no place to sit. Every table was taken and there was a line to the door. My wife spotted a table that was about to empty and made a B-line for it and claimed it as ours. Meanwhile, I stuck it out at the counter and put in our order. 1 Husker burger and an order of fries. Then a double baja burger and an order of what they call smash fries. Then I ordered two drinks. I received my plastic “10” and two cups. I filled them at the drink station (one diet coke and one coke zero) and then headed off to meet my lovely bride who was fending off a hoard of angry drunken midgets bent on usurping our table(sorry, just kidding). I sat down with her and started talking about kids and work. A few moments later a few ladies showed up with our food. They came out in rectangular metal baskets with paper lining. Our fries rested atop this basket in a conical shaped basket with fries in each. My wife had and order of fries and the husker burger which came with cheese and A-1 . I ordered a double meat Baja burger and smash fries. It was a well played attempt to bring some class to the a common burger.

Smash fries, I must say, were a bit surprising. They are a seasoned fry, using oregano as their primary herb. They were hot, crispy and cooked to perfection. I really liked them. My wife’s fries were good too, but she didn’t have the seasoning. I would say that the smash fries are a win. My burger, the spicy baja, comes with pepper jack, guacamole, veggies, chippotle mayonnaise and jalapenos. I tore into this burger with a vengeance…. it was my breakfast after all. The meat was flavorful and you could see the wonderful crust on the meat from being smashed flat Each bit was seasoned and flavorful. I have to say I got lost in my food until I looked up to this person looking over the wall at me with a mouthful of burger bliss. I could tell by the fact that the line was moving slow and he wanted to try to find a seat. So I snapped out of it and began to rush through my food. My wife rushed through hers. As soon as we were done, we were ambushed by the wait staff trying to get us out the door.

Pluses: Darn good burgers. Great fries. Food came out fast

Minuses: SMALL dining area and not enough seating.

Overall Impression: It was a fantastic burger experience that I will do again. I would love to rate them higher but I felt we were rushed out to get out rable. They should have made it bigger from the start. I will suggest this place to anyone that wants a good burger.

~TOC

Posted By: The Omaha Critic
Last Edit: 24 Nov 2009 @ 05:27 AM

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 23 Jun 2009 @ 7:38 PM 

Ok, I will admit we are big Food Network watchers in this house.  The Omaha Critic and I both love to cook, and inevitably on the weekend we end up watching something that makes us drool with food lust.  Often, that comes from Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.

Guy was in Omaha at some point in the last year or two, and one of the places he covered was California Taco, on 30th and California.  After seeing it on tv, The Critic and I decided that one of these days we’d have to make it down there.  Well, we tried last weekend.  Sadly, we arrived right before 9 PM when the restaurant closed.  However, the guy at the door was nice enough to let us in to place a quick order to go – and thinking quickly on our feet, we ordered some beef puffy tacos – I think they’re referred to as california tacos on the menu.

The puffy taco itself is a piece of flatbread stuffed with taco meat and deep fried, after which they add lettuce and cheese.  In our to-go bag, they also included cups of red salsa and green salsa, to add a little extra flavor.

After waiting maybe 10 minutes, our order of 4 puffy tacos was handed off, and we headed out to the car, wishing we’d been there early enough to try the chimichangas and other treats on the menu.  Alas, we will have to visit again sometime in the future!

I will say, we both enjoyed the tacos.  Without the sauces, they were a little bland for our liking.  I liked the addition of the red salsa to the tacos, where The Omaha Critic preferred the heat of the green salsa.  The tacos were a good size and flavorful, and all in all, we both thought they were good.  The price?  It’s a little high perhaps for what it is and the location, but that’s based on The Omaha Critic’s Texas roots.

Pluses:  The food was good.  It didn’t take a long time, and thankfully, they still let us order as they were closing the doors.

Minuses:  It’s a little pricey for what it is, but it was still pretty good.

Overall Impression:  The puffy tacos weren’t enough to sell us on this being one of our favorites.  They were, however, enough to get us to want to go back and try more of the menu.  All in all?  I’m going to give it four french fries.  With salt and red salsa, Baby.

~~The Critical Wife

Posted By: The Critical Wife
Last Edit: 25 Jun 2009 @ 03:54 AM

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