Food · In Omaha

Best Birthday Dinner Ever

[image by skeksa @ Gastronomic Fight Club via Flickr]

My requirements for an awesome birthday:

  1. My husband being there (versus being on the other side of the world).
  2. Partying with friends.
  3. Cupcakes from Cupcake Island.
  4. No pressure to do anything I didn’t want to do.
  5. The Boiler Room restaurant being as great as everyone says it is.

Check, check, check, check and check!

What I’d heard of The Boiler Room is that they serve great mixed drinks, they have one of the few certified wine sommeliers in Nebraksa, they incorporate much local and seasonal food into their interesting dishes and the space is really cool. I can confirm all of the above.

The main restaurant entrance is on the second floor of the space, so that you look straight down into the bar and kitchen areas. It’s a former warehouse (stockyard?) space with brick walls and exposed steel beams, decked out in a nice balance of traditional and modern feels. I enjoyed my bird’s eye view of the bar, watching the bartender take all of the (I lost count of how many) steps to make my Pimm’s Cup. We shared an amazing blue cheese made from buffalo milk and some other, milder sheep’s cheese, paired with fig jam, local gooseberries and (also amazing) house almonds. Oh, and also also amazing house marinated olives. The sommelier advised us on a lovely bordeaux to go with both of our lamb dishes – mine an interesting and delicious spicy lamb sausage with ricotta ravioli – as we skipped out on the pig’s head feature of the day. We topped off our meal with a heavenly lemon pound cake in (I think?) a raspberry balsamic reduction with hazelnut gelato, and then called ourselves stuffed fancy people and ready to kick back with an old movie at home. In retrospect, I should have ordered something with at least a hint of vegetable to it. But I don’t regret it. Everything was delicious.

The atmosphere was upscale but somewhat casual (more metro than sport coat), the wait staff knowledgeable and friendly, and the experience all-around delightful, if you don’t count looking for parking. If you’re like us and appreciate a place with interesting good food and service, and have a handful of relatives that like to be impressed by the cool factor of the places they take you, this is the place to show them that Omaha isn’t exactly a cow town.

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