Gastronomic Fight Club SM

Mischief. Mayhem. Soup.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Drover Restaurant - Omaha, NE

posted by snekse
And now for the most boring restaurant review ever. I have no pictures; no real insight; little to say.

So why bother doing a review? The story is typical. Friends or relatives are visiting from out of town and they want steak. And not just any steak. They want the steaks that Omaha, Nebraska is famous for. And like most locals, I find it hard to decide where to go because I'd rather just go to a local butcher and make my steaks at home. The big chains like Fleming's and Johnny's Italian Steakhouse might make a pretty good steak, but it's not very representative of the city. And unfortunately, the city is slowly losing it's old school steakhouses that helped build the reputation. Mister C's closed over a year ago, Gorat's just isn't that good, so what's next on the list? Well for me, it was the Drover based on recommendations from several people, and most recently based on a strong showing in our still running Best-ter-est of Omaha voting.

I now understand why it received so many recommendations. They make a good steak. They are famous for their Whiskey steaks, which adds a uniqueness that I really enjoyed. I'm not usually a fan of steak marinades, but this one was subtle and worked well. The steaks without the marinade were tender and flavorful as well, but if you're here instead of being at some other steakhouse, the Whiskey steaks are probably the reason why.

So great steaks are always a good thing; but what makes the Drover such a great place to bring visitors is it's Midwest character, both in decor and in the menu.

Let's start with the menu. It's boring. Seriously. This place is about steak and not much else. They make no apologies for that fact. Sure you can order salmon or pork chops, but the menu is dominated by beef. All dinners are served with soup or salad bar. The salad bar was one of the plainest salad bars I've seen in a very long time. Hard boiled eggs were about the most exciting thing I saw in it. You also get your choice of a baked potato, french fries, rice or vegetable with your dinner. The fries were barely average, but the potato was enjoyed, despite it being just a basic baked potato made gooey with lots of butter and sour cream. The wine list was nothing special, but respectable and priced reasonably - which was a bit of a surprise. So meat, potatoes, and not a lot of need for things that aren't needed. Midwest sensibility at it's finest.

You might make the same argument for the decor. It's worked for so long, why change it. The decor is not boring though. It's actually kind of fun in an old late 70's dark restaurant/lounge kind of way. It has a bit of a wild west cattle trail feel, which draws from the Drover name. The ambiance that is created is just another reason it's a popular destination place to bring your out-of-town guests. I guess for some, this is their vision of the Midwest left behind the times.

You could easily make an argument that the boring menu and cliche decor are negatives, but the Drover works both of them well. And for some, that's exactly what they're looking for.

So a boring review for a justifiably boring restaurant that is hard not to enjoy. They would have gotten a 90+ rating if they would just spruce up their salad bar a bit. Cutting a notch out of their prices could help too, but it's hard to argue with one of the best steaks in Omaha and a recipe that works.

Rating: 89++

Drover Restaurant & Lounge
50th & Center

2121 South 73rd Street (Map)
Omaha, NE 68124

Phone: (402) 391-7440


Hours of Operation
LUNCH:
  Monday - Friday: 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
  Saturday - Sunday: CLOSED
DINNER:
  Nightly: From 5:00 pm

Drover on Urbanspoon

RELATED LINKS:
Opinions on Yelp
Quality steaks drive Drover
Reviewed: Anthony's Steakhouse
A cut above the rest

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