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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 23 Mar 2010 @ 5:59 PM 

Have you ever noticed that the nicer the area, the worse the service? I mean really, I have never had worse service (on a consistent basis) than I do in the Regency/One Pacific Place area. More specifically Ruby Tuesday’s and CPK.  One would think that people in a higher income bracket would expect better service. I have had my best service in the worst neighborhoods.  (Excluding Hiro and Mahogany)

It would be different if this was a one time thing, but it happens every time.  Today we went to CPK (California Pizza Kitchen) for lunch and the service was horrible.  We waited forever to get noticed (Even when we were seated by 11:20) and were one of 3 tables at the time seated.  We didn’t get our drinks until 15 minutes later then took til noon to get our order placed.  I had to suck down an over priced Cobb Salad just to make it back to work on time.  Then when I went to pay, the server was nowhere to be found.  I had to leave my wife, my friends, and my daughter there to pay for it, because I had to get back to work for a meeting.  I am not impressed with CPK’s service and neither my wife (who ordered theire “NEW” cheeseburger pizza) nor I (Cobb Salad) were impressed with the food either.

I give California Pizza Kitchen an “F” for service and a “C” for food quality.

Likes:  There was a lot of Bacon, Avocado and Turkey on my salad, the tea was good, and one of the other servers who came over to our table to help out was nice.

Dislikes: Our server was inattentive, spent too much time gabbing with the people in back (we could see her) and hardly checked on us, then was slow cashing us out.

Overall Feel: I don’t go to CPK very often, and I don’t think that I will be increasing the frequency.  The salad was “Ok” but for the price I would think it would be outstanding.  I think that CPK could do better than mediocrity.

~The Omaha Critic

Posted By: The Omaha Critic
Last Edit: 23 Mar 2010 @ 06:35 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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