Wednesday, February 24, 2010

JTK Lincoln

201 N. 7th St.

Monday - Thursday: 5:oo PM to 10:00 PM
Friday and Saturday: 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM

Atmosphere: Located in the old train station in the Haymarket, the restaurant inherently gives off a classy, "old-timey" feel. Very nice decor, blacks, reds and greens, candles at each table, tables set with more silverware than you know what to do with, that kind of thing. Classy without being stuffy, however. The restaurant is also much bigger than you would think when you first walk in: the front room is bi-level, with about 10 tables. This room then expands into the back where there are a number of other tables, mostly deuces and four-tops. Outside seating is also available when it's not -12 outside.

Service: Service was allright. There weren't many people that night, so service was fast, but not very involved. Our server was very plesant, but not overly engaging. It seemed that there was only three front of the house staff that night, our server, one other server and a host/bartender/manager, so maybe they were busier than they appeared. My biggest issue with service was that each course seemed to be fired too early, then left to sit in the window until we were ready for it. Maybe we were just slow, but it removed that sense of individualized service.

Food and Drink: The reason we started going to JTK was for their Date Night menu, which was orginally only on Mondays, but has now expanded to every night of the week. Talk about a great deal! It includes an appetizer to share, two entrees, a dessert to share AND a bottle of wine. All for $50...definitly manageable on our budget. I do believe, however, that this expansion of the date night is somewhat responsible for the decline in quality of food (mainly just the entree) and service that we noticed on this visit.

Our meal started out with a GREAT bottle of wine. It was an Austrailian blend of granache, shiraz and mourvedre, very fruity and complex, but not heavy enough to ruin dinner. The appetizer we chose was the tempura battered calamari (squid). It was served with a chili lime aioli and siracha, and was absolutly phenomenal! Light and crispy, great with the aioli!

Next came our soup course, which, as I mentioned above, was served way too soon. We hadn't even finish half of our appetizer... I chose the tomato basil, which was the soup of the day and the boy got the two onion, which was basically French onion. Both soups were good, the two onion was a little on the salty side, but not enough to be inedible. The tomato basil was delicious, rich and creamy, big pieces of basil leaf.

On to the entree. I chose the mahi mahi while the boy had the chicken parmesan pasta. Both tasted alright, but unfortunately look as thought the had been under the heat lamp for a while. For my dish, the fish itself was flavorful, but cold. It was a pairing, however, that I found odd. It was served with green beans, which is just fine, but was on a bed of mashed potatoes and topped with corn. First off, fish and mashed potatoes are never a good combination, in my opinion. The potatoes were too heavy and over-powered the flavor of the fish. And the corn still baffles me, it didn't do anything to enhance the flavor and was just sitting on top. It was as if the chef ran out of the actual garnish, and just threw whatever s/he could find on there. I'm all for experimenting with flavors, but that doesn't even make sense.

For dessert we had the chocolate torte, which was good, but tasted and appeared to be straight from a box. I guess if we're only paying $50 for a 4 course meal, you can't really complain too much there.

Value: Despite my issues with the food, overall, the date night experience is a great value. I have never tried other items off the regular menu, (I do mean to, however, and will report back when I do) and am curious to know if the quality of the "full price" items is better than the "value" items. If not, I see no reason not to save a few bucks and enjoy the date night menu.

Cleanliness: Very clean. Servers were quick to clean off empty tables, and there was not a crumb to be found around our table.

Overall Impression: Great for a night out, a chance to dress up and go somewhere classy but affordable, especially for college students. Probably not a great place for the kids or large groups, but great for a date.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

First Review! - Bison Witches Lincoln

All right, so the first review is finally in, sorry it's taken so long.

Bison Witches
1320 P St.

Kitchen - 11 AM - 10 PM
Bar - 11 AM - 1 AM

7 days a week

Atmosphere: My first thought upon entering was how loud the music was. While I am not typically opposed to this type of thing (especially since it was good music) it was a little overwhelming at 3 in the afternoon. It was also pretty dark, but at the same time welcoming. Felt very small town bar-like.

Service: Very friendly server! She seemed very busy, since she was the only one there, but she was always prompt and smiling. I did find it odd, however, that the menu had a disclaimer excusing slow service due to the small kitchen, but it did add to the small town feel. We got our food and drinks quickly, despite the disclaimer.

Food and Drink: Great drink specials! We went on a Wednesday, and import bottles were $2.50! Even for Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout, one of my favorites, and also usually more on the expensive side. For lunch I tried the Beef and Brie sandwich. I got to choose the type of bread (which is always a plus) and they had no problem with special orders (no tomatoes, sauce on the side etc.)

The sandwich itself was huge, with a massive amount of beef and cheese on very thickly sliced wheat bread. It was served lukewarm, I would have preferred it to be hotter, but it was not unpleasant. The taste was great, and very unique, not something you find on every menu. The Russian mustard sauce they served on it (I got it on the side...) was interesting. Basically, it was a dijon mustard mixed with horseraddish. Since I am not a fan of horseraddish, I could not pass judgement on it. The boy tried it, however, and loved it.

Value: Awesome value, lots of food for a great price! As I said, the sandwich was gigantic, and also included chips (packaged, not homemade unfortunately...) I would expect to get a good, filling meal here (not including alcohol :) ) for around $8-10 a person

Cleanliness: Very clean for an older establishment, though our server did have to wipe our table as we sat down. Didn't get a chance to check out the bathrooms, however.

Overall Impression: Overall, this was a great place for a quick, inexpensive lunch. Good food and service for a great price. Somewhere I would definitly recommend for college students (and it's within walking distance of city campus) or for business lunches. Probably not a great place for family gatherings, however...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

New to this...

Hey all! My name is Sarah, and I am a self-proclaimed food geek. I am intrested in and intrigued by all aspects of the restaurant and food service industry. I have a background in both back of the house and front of the house, and thouroughly enjoy both. I am currently a student at the University of Nebraska, majoring in Restaurant Management. My goal someday is to own my own place, whether it be a brewpub in Wisconsin (where I grew up) or a small town bar and restaurant somewhere in Nebraska. The objective of this blog is to visit and reveiw restauarants, mostly locally, but also nationally, should I get a chance to travel (another one of my favorite things to do...). My goal is to bring you reveiws that are not only helpful and relavent, but intresting as well. Being a college student, most of my reveiws will be of the more affordable restaurants, but every once in a while I might splurge and go somewhere I really can't afford :). If you have any suggestions of places you want me to check out, or somewhere you think needs some recognition, please let me know!