The Supper Club: Old Market Progressive Dinner
Publisher’s Note: Omega Omega Omega (Tri Omega), the culinary fraternity at the Institute for the Culinary Arts at Metropolitan Community College, strives to provide students with opportunities to apply and develop their skills through unique experiences. One of these experiences is the Supper Club. The Supper Club selects a restaurant once a quarter and works with the chef of the restaurant to provide a unique dining experience to challenge the palate and minds of the students with the unique ingredients and techniques found in that chef’s kitchen. The article and photography for this article are also done by students.
This quarter, The Supper Club took a trip downtown to see what the chefs at Upstream Brewing Company, Stokes, Rock Bottom Brewery and Jackson Street Tavern had to offer. This time the group sported four groups of seven to eight diners. The restaurants were asked to create a unique four-course menu for the evening. Each group experienced one course at each establishment, then rotated to the next. This setup allows students the opportunity to enjoy multiple places in one evening.
Upstream Brewing Company, at 514 S 11th Street, is a large upscale pub built into an old firehouse with a warm and upbeat environment. The groups were seated at a round table with a great view of the brewing equipment, which sparks conversation and makes the space inviting.
The first group was served a mixed green salad with a Hispanic flair. The greens were topped with spicy house-made chorizo, orange supreme, Mexican Parmesan cheese, tomatoes and radishes. The salad was dressed with an aged sherry vinaigrette. The sweet from the oranges matched well with the spicy sausage. This course was paired with a hibiscus ale fresh from Upstream’s brewery.
As soon as the second course landed on the table, the second group was overcome with a mouthwatering aroma. The delicious course was broiled fish tacos made with blackened cod, finished with a cabbage and jicama coleslaw dressed with sriracha mayo. This spicy and crunchy taco had a fresh taste that satisfied the whole group. Chef Brian O’Malley remarked, “I’m glad these are on the menu. I’ll eat them again!”
Chef Jeff Everroad, the executive chef of the Old Market Upstream, came to the table to explain to the group what the beautifully plated main course consisted of. This chicken dish is Chef Jeff’s take on osso buco. The chicken legs were braised in a lemon white wine julep. The legs were served on a bed of Parmesan whipped potatoes staggered with prosciutto wrapped green beans. The chicken had a perfectly crispy skin with a very moist flavorful interior. Very well seasoned, this dish was a great spin on a classic.
To finish the night, the last group was treated to an Upstream favorite, bread pudding. The bread pudding was fried up like French toast, which gave it a nice crunch outside while maintaining its creamy inside. The bread pudding was served with a warm vanilla custard and a tart strawberry to add some fresh flavor and cut some of the sweetness of the dish.
Stokes, at 1122 Howard Street, is a swanky grill and bar that prides itself on bringing southwestern flavors to Omaha. The dining groups were seated in their own private room off the main dining space. The room was cast in a warm light and the music was soft enough for conversations to be appreciated.
The first dish was a duck breast bruschetta and a mushroom stuffed with chorizo. Both the duck and the stuffing had a nice spice to them that seemed to balance each other when eaten together. The stuffing of the mushroom even had some cream cheese mixed in with the chorizo to help meld flavors.
The second dish was a wedge salad served with corn chowder. When diving into the salad, the group unanimously agreed the crunch was exactly what they were looking for in a second course. The chowder was a blend of sweet and smoky with a smooth texture that proved to be the best counterpoint to the crunch of the salad.
The third dish was the Mayan fire pasta with shrimp. As the name would lead you to guess, this dish packed some spice and heat. For some of the diners it was a little too much to handle, but the wine paired with it was delightful.
The final dish served was a crème brulée with a berry drizzle on the side. It was a nice little ending as it provided just the right amount of creamy texture, sweet taste and a bit of crunch. The berry drizzle was a counterpoint to the crème flavor that gave the dish a little something extra once the top crust was eaten away.
The third restaurant of the group was Jackson Street Tavern, located at 1125 Jackson Street. As the evening was cool and comfortable, the large garage door (which doubles as the front wall most days) was wide open, allowing the group to feel a calm summer breeze. There was a guitarist in the corner playing soft music that perfectly accompanied the wonderful food.
To start the evening, the first group received a beautiful bowl full of grits paired with prawns, Gouda, mushrooms and prosciutto. This delectable dish was seasoned with Tabasco and white wine. The diners felt that the tabasco was just right on top of this dish, adding a nice kick and good flavor. The cheese and prosciutto add just the right amount of richness and the shrimp was full of flavor.
The second course from Chef Deke Reichardt was a play on pozole which he called pozole con papas. This creamy soup was filled with chunks of potato, pork, roasted chilies and tomatillos. The warm, spicy bowl was topped with pico de gallo and sour cream. Everyone enjoyed the mild heat combined with the fresh pico and creamy soup with good corn flavor in it.
For the main course, the group was presented with a pork chop with pork belly, peppercorn gravy, red potatoes and green beans. The pork chop was topped with goat cheese whose tanginess was a magnificent compliment to the rich gravy. The gravy was very smooth and everything was perfectly seasoned. Some of the diners enjoyed a fruity sangria that was perfect for the summer night.
To finish the night, the last group of diners was treated to a s’mores brownie and vanilla ice cream that were to die for. On top were whipped cream and fresh berries. Everything on the plate played so well together. The dish was a delicious end to a relaxing evening in the Old Market.
Rock Bottom Brewery, 1101 Harney Street, is a place that invites you in to sit down and enjoy food and a beer with friends. The rotating groups were seated at a longer table that made it easy to see everyone and have a view of the sports being played on several televisions.
The first dish was an Asiago crab dip served with crostini. The dip was a nice blend of cheese and cream with green onions, tomatoes and crab meat. The thinner crostini gave the right amount of crunch to counter the creamy dip. The flavor was lightly meaty which made it perfect for people who usually shy away from seafood. It was a little large for a single person portion, but something perfect to share with someone before a second course.
The second dish was a mixed salad of romaine lettuce, well-seasoned croutons, cucumber, carrots, egg, tomato, sunflower seeds and raisins. The diners were given the option to dress their salads with the house ranch or a balsamic vinaigrette. The group enjoyed the various flavors going on in the salad but the standout was the sweetness of the raisins.
The third dish served was grilled chicken breast, smoky bacon mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, crispy onion straws and green beans. The dish was well balanced in flavors and when each component was incorporated into the same bite it was quite delightful. A light and smooth white ale was paired with the dish.
The final dish was a hearty brownie made from brown ale paired with ice cream. Simple and straightforward, the dish had the richness of the brownie complimented by the smooth, creamy ice cream. This provided the group with a satisfying ending to the meal.
It was a great evening to enjoy not-so-traditional pub fare at some of Omaha’s favorite Old Market barroom restaurants. The diners left that night very full and with a greater knowledge of what the Old Market has to offer.
Baily is currently a culinary student at MCC. She love food, science, and feeding people!
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