23 Jun 2009 @ 7:28 PM 

This past weekend, The Omaha Critic and I duct taped the kiddos in the closet (har har…grandparents are wonderful things) and escaped for a long overdue date night.  Long overdue, especially since it was our anniversary!  (WOOHOO, go us!)  While our normal inclination is to head out to you know where for sushi, we instead decided we needed to do some work for the site here, and hit up a place we’ve never been before.

This time, that place happened to be LiT…the Contemporary Tapas Bar and Lounge on 180th and Center.  We arrived around 5 pm on Saturday, which obviously is a bit early for things to be happening at LiT.  Now, we’ll admit, we’re in our mid 30’s.  Our general impression was that LiT probably caters more to the 20-something set.  That said, the decore is very nice, upscale, and geared more toward a night out drinking than dining.

Alas, it is generally the food that we’re there for!  The Critic and I ordered four different tapas dishes:  crab fritters, shrimp cargot, candied coconut jumbo shrimp, and pepper encrusted beef tenderloin skewers.  I also partook of the drink menu, and ordered an ultimate chocolate martini and a dirty monkey martini.

Let’s tackle the food first.  The crab fritters?  Awesome.  The texture was fantastically light and the outside crispy.  The inside gave you a great taste of crab, witha sweet edge of corn.  The fritters were very enjoyable, especially when eaten with the creole remoulade and the chipotle honey.  Next was the shrimp cargot – or shrimp served in the fashion of escargot- fried in butter and garlic, and topped with melted havarti cheese.  The shrimp were cooked perfectly, and the dish was quite enjoyable.  The Omaha Critic preferred the shrimp, I preferred the crab fritters.

On to the “main course” dishes.  The Critic took the shrimp, and I had the tenderloin (although we shared quite a bit, as you should withtapas.)  I will admit?  I wanted his.  The shrimp was great, as was the orange marmalade dipping sauce.  Is it better than The Critic’s other place to get coconut shrimp (Outback Steakhouse)?  No.  About the same.  Probably about the same price as well.  The tenderloin was good as well – tender and juicy, and great withthe sauce it was served with.  Bothplates came witha small salad with vinaigrette dressing that was very tasty.  All in all, the food was very good.

The price for the food?  Not a bargain.  The price aren’t huge – $10 for the crab fritters and shrimp cargot, $17 for the coconut shrimp, and $22 for the beef tenderloin – but when you consider that these are basically the same prices you’d pay for similar dishes at other local restaurants and get more food – it’s just a consideration.

Our other main observation about LiT is that the service?  It’s not so great.  The Critic and I are big on good service, and definitely try to show the love to those servers who do a great job for us (Hi Rusty, Sammy, and John!).  When we don’t get great service, we try to determine if there’s a good reason (really busy night), or if the server is just inpet.  Sadly, we have to say the server we had at LiT was somewhat inept.

I’d like to tell you how the Dirty Monkey martini was – but she brought me a second Ultimate chocolate martini instead.  While I didn’t mind the chocolate martini, I wanted to try something different the second time.  I’d have complained…but our server never came back for me to tell her.  When it came time to pay, we waited for a considerable amount of time for our server, and finally went up to the bar to pay.  If that was the type of place LiT was, we’d understand, but it isn’t.  So, the food was good, but the service was not so great.

Pluses:  The food was very good, the decor is nice.  For this I would have given it a solid 4 napkins.

Minuses: The service wasn’t great, and the prices are a little high for what you get.  These things degraded my rating.

Overall Impression:  It is probably a fun 20-something lounge, but I wouldn’t plan on it for dinner.  I give it 3 napkins.

~The Critical Wife

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

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 26 Aug 2008 @ 3:34 AM 

Ok, so it’s not the most spiffy catch phrase/title I have come up with.  Along with the name of the restaurant, it may be a little misleading.  It is what it is. 

On this evening out, it was the eldest son and I.  It was the night of what will, I’m sure, be the first of many “man talks”.  The kid is 10 and well, I must say that he is like his old man and “bloom early”.  We’ve already seen some of the signs…  The “faux stash” has started to appear and his little legs are starting to hair up.  It is a little disconcerting.  That being said, my wife and I decided that a night out with Pappa would be a good way to break some ice.  So after a few rounds of “Where do you want to go?”, I decided that it may just be best to go where I want to go and leave the rest to fate. 

It was a little later in the evening on a Friday night, (around 8:00PM) and we pulled into Prima 140.  There were just a few cars in the parking lot.  Looking into the place the tables were sparsely occupied.  I was a little worried that things may have gone downhill since I was there last, but went in anyway.   We were immediately greeted by a friendly, well put together waitress and then quickly seated.    Very soon after, someone came by and filled our water glass and placed bread on the table.  My son looked at me and asked me if I was going to review the place and I shrugged and told him the evening was about us, not a review.  He cocked his head and looked at me confused.  I then offered to let him “help me”.  He seemed to like the idea and proceeded to look at his menu blankly, not knowing really what he was looking at.

A few moments later, Matt, our waiter came over and started the “dance” of introductions, specials, and drink orders.  (Now in some previous string of comments, I was asked why I would put the server’s name.  Matt’s performance is exactly WHY I think it is a good thing.)  After Matt finished listing the specials, I had a few questions about what was on the menu, some things about the specials, and an appetizer.  He didn’t just answer, he elaborated on how it was prepared, what was in it, when the ingredients came in, and how proud the chef was about the fish.  Not to the point of being a pest, but Matt relished and understood what he was serving.  Soon after that brought our drinks, took our order and left us alone except to answer any question, check on us and fill our drinks. (until later when I cornered him about the place.)

My son and I ordered two different fish specials: My Mahi-mahi and then my son ordered (Oh man.. now I forgot. *gulp*) something else.  We also ordered the alligator pot stickers and another shrimp appetizer.  After that we began our “chat” about the who’s and the what’s and “where do babies come from” speech.  I must say, that was one of the hardest questions I have ever had to answer.  I’m an open guy.  I like my children to talk to me, but the boy didn’t want to ask questions.  So I must have sounded like a dope.  This 10 year old kid had me blushing.  Fortunately, I don’t think Matt, our server noticed or he was nice enough not to let on.  So our appetizers came and the boy and I sampled them timidly.  That didn’t last long.  The pot stickers were fantastic.  The alligator, which is typically chewy and fishy when I’ve had it, was tender, savory and just melted in my mouth.  The accompanying sauce really complimented the pot stickers.  The shrimp were fresh and had that nice pop when you bit into them.  They were not overcooked and went well, offsetting the richness of the pot stickers. 

After knocking out our appetizers, Matt came with our fish.  He gave us a presentation of what was on our plate, giving center stage to the fresh Mahi-mahi that was before me.  I cut into it, just delighted.  It came with a rich sauce that clung to the fish and enhanced its flavor.   (You know how on Iron Chef when they talk about the theme ingredient?  How some chef’s really bring out the flavor or the theme ingredient and others don’t?  Yeah…)  This was Mahi-mahi and it tasted like Mahi-mahi is supposed to taste.  It tasted like a breeze off of the ocean, with a meaty undertone and grilled sunshine.  The sauce was a rich brown savory sauce that spread across the pallet and didn’t overpower.  I took in each bit as it was meant to be taken: a slow orchestral romp of culinary happiness.  There was a lot going on in each bite.  It didn’t taste at all fishy.  It was… perfect.  Can you tell I liked it?  *laugh*

So now it comes time for dessert.  I picked the chocolate pecan tort.  The pecans were crunchy, and the crust of the torte was flaky.  The filling under the pecans was moist, but firm.  It was again… Perfect.
I am always amazed at the Prima 140 chef’s presentation on each plate.  It is one of the few places in Omaha that actually take the time to produce a beautiful plate.  It is a great counterbalance to all of the generic, pre-produced, fried plates that are cranked out of the generic tasteless kitchens that we people in Omaha seem to flock to.  Thank you Prima for helping to keep beauty, flavor, and art in food.  Thank you Matt for being one of the top 5 servers I have ever had in Omaha.   You joined a very exclusive group.

Plusses: Service. The food was amazing. The kitchen was visible and clean. The bar was well stocked and beautiful.  The place was flawless.

Minuses:  Two words – Bigger portions.  (HA!)  Actually they aren’t open on Sundays.  I think I would have gone there more if it had been open on Sundays.

Overall Impression:  Num-Num!  I had a great time.  My server was professional, courteous, knowledgeable, prompt, attentive, and funny.  He was PART of the experience, not just some goober that just slung plates at us.  This is another place I URGE the good people of Omaha to FLOCK to.  This place is fabulous!

~The Omaha Critic

Posted By: The Omaha Critic
Last Edit: 26 Aug 2008 @ 03:58 PM

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