23 July 2022
What a terrible sleep. You end up in these hotels and they sometimes look good, but you get a crazy patron in the room above you. This one decided to STOMP ALL NIGHT. At midnight. At 1.30am. At 3am. At 4.15am. I gave up by then, so got to enjoy the Nebraska/Iowa/South Dakota sunrise. Tired, but full of recharged energy, and I headed south-west.
I spent the day snaking through Nebraska, through windy and dirt roads, visiting small towns few have heard of. I eventually rounded out to Grand Island, and started to head back east on smaller highways before arriving in my final destination of the day, Lincoln.
I first visited Lincoln during my first cross-country drive back in 1992, and ironically it’s nearly 30 years to the day that I last did an overnight here in Nebraska’s capital city. I had a few places to visit in town before an earlier dinner tonight at Dish — probably the most interesting restaurant in town.
Parking in the busy downtown area, despite the students being gone (Lincoln is Nebraska’s capital city, but also home to the flagship campus of the University of Nebraska), was very busy — not made any easier by the excess construction. But found a lot nearby and walked through the very warm and thick air to my dining destination. It’s cooled off from the 104F (40C) a little, but not much — and it’s gotten more humid…
I arrived at the door and what? There was a bouncer?
Must be the cutest bouncer, ever. I wish I had some food to feed it, but clearly it knows where to wait when the students are out of town!
I evaded its sad, hungry eyes and headed in. I took a seat at the bar, not wanting to take up a two-top on a busy Saturday night. I relaxed with a cocktail. The bar staff seems to be overwhelmed not from orders, but covering a lot of bar back work. But it was nice and relaxing for patrons, so I was relaxed. I ordered, enjoyed my drink, and soon my first dish arrived.
This is a nice start. The pork pâté is done quite well, delicious with a hint of excess and rustic. I like when pâté is not ultra-refined, when it has the consistency of pet food. The tomatoes brings it home nicely, all going down well with the crackers. An excellent start.
I switched up to a wine and relaxed. The place was nice and busy, and I shifted to let a group of four into the bar — which turns out to not be necessary as they got their table within 5 minutes. Shifted back just in time for my main.
I have to say this is one of the best duck I’ve had in many years. Blows away many a Michelin-starred places. Absolutely tender and rich, cooked perfectly. It’s almost fluffy, not a tinge of that “livery” thing you get from a second of overcooking. With a rich variety of carrots — from pickled to grilled — it adds a wonderful touch to this fabulous dish. A complete winner!
I was in a very good mood, so I decided to look at dessert. I ordered and relaxed with some coffee and rye. Also began chatting with some fellow patrons, which was fun. However, I was a little surprised that at a relatively early hour, when the walk-ins sat down at the bar, they were told the kitchen was no longer taking any orders. Really? On a Saturday night when the place was packed? Wow.
My dessert was a nice combination of three scoops I picked out. The “chocolate xtreme” was nice and rich, with the addition of chocolate cake crumble. The black sesame was okay, but it really made me miss Japan and the intensity of their version. And finally, a cherry lemonade sorbet, which was refreshing. All of this with some rye, which made for a fine way to close this evening.
I wished my fellow bar patrons luck with finding food, and headed out the door. The comedy with that was the only real hitch of the night, but the food was fabulous. This is one excellent kitchen, so I feel bad for those people who didn’t get to enjoy the food from this excellent back of house team.
Still blazing hot as I headed back to my hotel, hoping for a better sleep. Home tomorrow, after another 500+ miles of driving!
100 East O Street