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Friday, January 08, 2010

Best-ter-est of Omaha Restaurants Award Winners - 2009

posted by snekse
Best-ter-est of Omaha 2009
We've closed the polls and tallied the votes. Once again a lot of great local restaurants took many top spots, while national and regional chains didn't fare as well in most categories. Several categories had big changes, several where very dispersed in votes and the new categories this year, especially the broad categories towards the end, were fascinating to see (I love the Most Overrated category).

Voter turn out was not what we were hoping it would be, but that's a bit of a dilemma. We don't publicize much beyond our readers in order to keep the results of a higher quality. Finding really good food requires us to lean on those who are really passionate about food. We figure if you heard about this poll through our limited promotion and felt moved enough to vote, then you were a true foodie. This was always meant to be a poll for foodies, by foodies, so thank you to all the foodies who voted. We hope you enjoy the results as much as we did.

Some quick notes about our notes. By some categories, you might see a [NOTE] in brackets that gives you some insight into that category beyond the winners ranks. For those, we urge you to take a look at the raw data to get a peek at all the votes. You'll also see the same kind of notes by individual restaurants. This is to give you an idea of how things have changed since last year and/or key you into decisive wins.

Best-ter-est of Omaha 2009TM

Best American Bistro in Omaha [All Local]

Best Appetizers in Omaha [Big Changes]

Best Bagels in Omaha

Best Bar-B-Que in Omaha

Best Breakfast in Omaha [Big Changes; All Local]

Best Buffet in Omaha

Best Burrito in Omaha

Best Chinese Restaurant in Omaha [Big Changes; All Local]

Best Coffee Shop in Omaha

Best Desserts in Omaha

Best Family Restaurant in Omaha

Best French Fries in Omaha [All Local?]

Best French Restaurant in Omaha [All Local]

Best Fried Chicken in Omaha [Big Changes; All Local]

  • Jack & Mary's
  • Chi Town Chicken (Tie ~ 2nd) [NEW]
  • Millard Roadhouse(Tie ~ 2nd)
  • Time Out Foods (Tie ~ 2nd) [NEW]

Best Greek Restaurant in Omaha [All Local]

  • The Greek Islands
  • Katie's
  • Jim & Jennie's Greek Village

Best Hamburgers in Omaha [All Local]

  • Dinker's
  • Stella's
  • Louie M's Burger Lust [NEW]

Best Hot Wings in Omaha

Best Indian Restaurant in Omaha [Contentious Category; All Local]

  • Jaipur
  • Mother India [NEW]
  • India Garden
  • NOTE: Though there were clear vote winners, this was still a highly divided category.

Best Italian Restaurant in Omaha [Big Changes; All Local]

Best Japanese Restaurant in Omaha [All Local]

Best Korean in Omaha [Low Vote Count; All Local]

  • Han Kuk Kwan
  • Korea King
  • Korean Food Restaurant

Best Mexican Restaurant in Omaha [Contentious Category; Big Changes; All Local]

Best Onion Rings in Omaha [No Clear Winner]

Best Pasta in Omaha [Big Changes; All Local]

Best Pizza in Omaha [Contentious Category; All Local]

Best Sandwiches in Omaha

Best Seafood in Omaha

Best Soup in Omaha

Best Steak House in Omaha [Contentious Category]

Best Sunday Brunch in Omaha

Best Sushi Restaurant in Omaha [All Local]

Best Thai Restaurant in Omaha [Contentious Category; All Local]

Best Restaurant in Omaha for a Business Lunch

Best Restaurant in Omaha for a First Date [All Local]

Most Romantic Restaurant in Omaha [All Local]

Most Overrated Restaurant in Omaha

Most Underrated Restaurant in Omaha [All Local]

Best New Restaurant in Omaha [All Local]

Best Chef in Omaha [Low Vote Count]

Best Restaurant in Omaha

NOTES AND COMMENTS: Since the form fields were free form, we tried to interpret the results as best we could (e.g. We might count Radial Cafe towards Lisa's Radial Cafe). If you'd like to double check our work, feel free to look at the raw data. No member of the GFC team voted. Since this was such a small sample size and some of the categories were so close, some of the results would be different if our votes were counted.

Best-ter-est of Omaha 2010TM

Of course we plan to do this again next year, so please leave comments below with your thoughts about what you like and don't like about the categories, results, promotion, etc.... We would like to include some "Best Dish" categories, but I think the votes would be so unique that we wouldn't have a clear winner for any category. I'm very open to ideas around this. Here are a couple of examples that came out in the voting.
  • Big Horn Mountain BBQ: Beef Brisket
  • Upstream: Smoked Gouda & Blonde Ale Soup (x3)
  • Upstream: Tomato Basil
  • Mai Thai: Tom Yum Gai Soup
  • McFoster's Natural Kind: Roast Tomato Soup
  • Jaipur: Mulligatawny Soup
  • Grisanti's: Tomato Tortellini Soup
  • McFoster's Natural Kind: Sweet Potato Fries
  • Taste: Sweet Potato Fries
  • Smashburger: Smashfries (w/ Garlic and Rosemary)
  • Barrett's Barleycorn: Kitchen Sink Burger
  • Dinker's: Haystack Burger
  • Ethnic Sandwich Shop: The Irish Coned Beef Sandwich
  • Hiro: Husker Roll
  • Chinatown: Veggie Fried Rice
  • Whole Foods: Creme Brulee French Toast
  • Dixie Quick's: Oatmeal & Ice Cream
  • Mark's Bistro: Bread Pudding
  • Dario's: Banana and Brown Sugar Ice Cream

Closing Thoughts

For the most part, I'm very pleased with the results and I think they are a good representation of the Omaha food scene and the spots that foodies tend to favor. Next year we might try to clean up some of the categories, or at least define them better. I'd like to find a way to get restaurants like Peru, Mucho Gusto nominated for something, but it, like many other restaurants, don't fit well into any of our current categories really. One thing that I noticed while looking at the results is that there are some great opportunities for restaurants to step up and fill some voids. Categories that were dominated by chains or just plain didn't have many votes would be a good place to start. So if you had been planing on opening a Korean soup-and-sandwich shop or a breakfast spot offering a burrito-on-a-bagel, you might have something going for you.

On a personal note, while looking at the results, I realized the need for us to cover the Omaha restaurant scene more. Though I've been to well over half of the places on this list, we've reviewed just a fraction of them. Maybe you can help us with that problem.

On a related note, we'd like to send out window clings to all of the restaurants you see above. If you make window clings or know someone who does, contact us. If you're a person who would like to help us design our decal, contact us. If you are a business owner who would like to offer something to the winners (such as Joe Frost from Elify who will be offering free online strategy consultations), contact us. If you just want to contact us, contact us :-)

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Monday, April 20, 2009

S.Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants 2009

posted by snekse

Restaurant magazine has just released the 2009 list of the World's 50 Best Restaurants. The awards were based on 4,185 votes cast by 837 restaurant critics, chefs, restaurateurs and other qualified restaurant experts. You can see more about the voting process on the website.

Ferran Adria’s culinary mecca, El Bulli, and Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck restaurant once again top the list.

Michelin 3-star restaurant, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, owned by the Hell's Kitchen chef, failed to make the top 100 which is surprising since it was 13th on the list last year.

Thomas Keller's flagship restaurant dropped 7 notches to #12 and was beat out by it's New York cousin, Per Se, which took 6th place.

Grant Achatz from Chicago breaks into the top 10 with Alinea. Manresa squeaked in at #93. The United States had 8 restaurants in the top 50 and 12 restaurants in the top 100. Not bad when you consider this list of compiled of the greatest restaurants in the world and is bound to have a slight European bend. This can probably best be seen in the fact that Les Creations de Narisawa was the first Japanese restaurant to make the list, yet Japan racked up an insanely high number of Michelin stared restaurants last year.

More insight to come. Keep checking back. In the mean time, here are the top 50 restaurants in the World.

1 El Bulli, Spain (=)
2 The Fat Duck, U.K. (=)
3 Noma, Denmark (+7)
4 Mugaritz, Spain (=)
5 El Celler de Can Roca, Spain (+21)
6 Per Se, U.S. (=)
7 Bras, France (=)
8 Arzak, Spain (=)
9 Pierre Gagnaire, France (-6)
10 Alinea, U.S. (+11)
11 L’Astrance, France (=)
12 The French Laundry U.S. (-7)
13 Osteria Francescana, Italy (New Entry)
14 St. John, U.K. (+2)
15 Le Bernardin, U.S. (+5)
16 Restaurant de l’Hotel de Ville, Switzerland (+11)
17 Tetsuya’s, Australia (-8)
18 L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, France (-4)
19 Jean Georges, U.S. (-2)
20 Les Creations de Narisawa, Japan (New Entry)
21 Chez Dominique, Finland (+18)
22 Ristorante Cracco, Italy (+21)
23 Die Schwarzwaldstube, Germany (+12)
24 D.O.M., Brazil (+16)
25 Vendome, Germany (+9)
26 Hof van Cleve, Belgium (+2)
27 Masa, U.S., (Re-entry)
28 Gambero Rosso, Italy (-16)
29 Oud Sluis, Netherlands (+13)
30 Steirereck, Austria (New Entry)
31 Momofuku Ssam Bar, U.S. (New Entry)
32 Oaxen Skaergaardskrog, Sweden (+16)
33 Martin Berasategui, Spain (-4)
34 Nobu U.K. (-4)
35 Mirazur, France (New Entry)
36 Hakkasan, U.K. (-17)
37 Le Quartier Francais, South Africa (+13)
38 La Colombe, South Africa (Re-entry)
39 Asador Etxebarri, Spain (+5)
40 Le Chateaubriand, France (New Entry)
41 Daniel, U.S. (=) - Make a reservation
42 Combal Zero, Italy (Re-entry)
43 Le Louis XV, France (-28)
44 Tantris, Germany (+3)
45 Iggy’s, Singapore (New Entry)
46 Quay, Australia (New Entry)
47 Les Ambassadeurs, France (-2)
48 Dal Pescatore, Italy (-25)
49 Le Calandre, Italy (-13)
50 Mathias Dahlgren, Sweden (New Entry)

Rounding out the top 100 restaurants in the world:
51 Zuma, China
52 Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley, U.K.
53 Spondi, Greece
54 L’Arpege, France
55 L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, China
56 Hibiscus, U.K.
57 Aqua, Germany
58 Le Gavroche, U.K.
59 Chez Panisse, U.S.
60 Les Amis, Singapore
61 El Poblet, Spain
62 Maison Pic, France
63 Cafe Pushkin, Russia
64 Le Meurice, France
65 Bukhara, India
66 Varvari, Russia
67 Schauenstein, Germany
68 RyuGin, Japan
69 La Maison Troisgros, France
70 Wasabi, India
71 The River Cafe, U.K.
72 Enoteca Pinchiorri, Italy
73 Le Cinq, France
74 Allegro, Czech Republic
75 Quintessence, Japan
76 Restaurant Dieter Mueller, Germany
77 Geranium, Denmark
78 Caprice, China
79 Jardines, South Africa
80 Amador, Germany
81 Biko, Mexico
82 L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon U.S
83 Fasano, Brazil
84 Mozaic, Bali
85 Obauer, Austria
86 Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee, France
87 L’Ambroisie, France
88 Maison Boulud, China
89 De Librije, Netherlands
90 Babbo, U.S.
91 Maze, U.K.
92 Zuma, U.K.
93 Manresa, U.S.
94 Pier, Australia
95 De Karmeliet, Belgium
96 Aubergine, South Africa
97 Bo Innovation, China
98 Rust en Vrede, South Africa
99 Del Posto U.S.
100 Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire, UAE

Special Recognition Awards

Reader's Choice:
Chef's Choice: Noma, Denmark
Breakthrough Restaurant: Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley
Lifetime Achievement Award: Joël Robuchon (details)

The S.Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants

List of Restaurant's 1-50
List of Restaurant's 51-100
Best Restaurant in The Americas: Per Se (USA)
Best Restaurant in Australia: Tetsuya's (AUS)
Best Restaurant in Asia: Les Creations de Narisawa (Japan)
Best Restaurant in Africa & Middle East: Le Quartier Francais (South Africa)
Best Restaurant in South America: D.O.M. (Brazil)

The International Agenda for Great Cooking
-By Ferran Adria, Heston Blumenthal, Thomas Keller and Harold McGee

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

WINNERS: Best-ter-est of Omaha 2008

posted by snekse
Find the latest Best-ter-est of Omaha Restaurant winners here:

GUIDE: The Best Restaurants in Omaha

Best-ter-est of Omaha 2008
Well the polls have closed [BUT THE 2009 POLLS ARE OPEN!]and I have to say, the results were interesting and just what we were looking for. There were lots of great restaurants that came out on top, while the chains didn't fare so well, except in categories where you'd expect them to. Voter turn out was respectable considering we didn't really publicize this much beyond our readers. This was always meant to be a poll for foodies, by foodies, so thank you to all the foodies who voted. We hope you enjoy the results as much as we did.

Best-ter-est of Omaha 2008TM

Best Bagels

Best Bar-B-Que

Best Bowl of Soup

Best Breakfast

Best Buffet

Best Burrito

Best Coffee Shop

Best Desserts

Best Family Restaurant

Best French Fries

Best Fried Chicken

  • Jack & Mary's
  • Millard Roadhouse(Tie ~ 2nd)
  • Popeyes (Tie ~ 2nd)

Best Hamburger

Best Pasta

Best Pizza

Best Sandwiches

Best Seafood

Best Steak House

Best Sunday Brunch

Best Sushi Restaurant

Best Chinese Restaurant

  • O Dining (Tie ~ 1st)
  • P.F. Chang's (Tie ~ 1st)
  • China Road (Tie ~ 2nd)
  • Golden Palace (Tie ~ 2nd)
  • Rice Bowl (Tie ~ 2nd)

Best Appetizers

Best French Restaurant

Best Greek Restaurant

  • The Greek Islands
  • Katies
  • Jim & Jennie's Greek Village

Best Indian Restaurant

Best Italian Restaurant

Best Japanese Restaurant

Best Mexican Restaurant

  • Alvarados (Tie ~ 1st)
  • El Aguila (Tie ~ 1st)
  • Guaca Maya (Tie ~ 1st)
  • La Mesa (Tie ~ 1st)
NOTES AND COMMENTS: Since the form fields were free form, we tried to interpret the results as best we could. If you'd like to double check our work, feel free to look at the raw data. No member of the GFC team voted. Since this was such a small sample size and some of the categories were so close, some of the results would be different if our votes were counted. Cafe De Paris, Elada, and Trovato's each got at least one vote, despite being closed.

Best-ter-est of Omaha 2009TM

With such a great response, we plan to do this again next year, with some new additions thanks to comments from our voters.
  • Best American Bistro
  • Best Thai
  • Best Korean
  • Most Overrated
  • Most Underrated
  • Best New Restaurant
  • Best Restaurant - Period
We might also include some "Best Dish" categories. Dishes that were singled out this year include:
  • Grandmother's: Clam Chowder
  • Upstream: Smoked Gouda & Blonde Ale Soup (x2)
  • Upstream: Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup
  • Mai Thai: Tom Kah Chicken Soup
  • Don & Millie's: Baked Potato Soup
  • Burger Lust: Bleu Cheese Burger
  • Hiro: Avocado Rolls
  • Crescent Moon: Pickle Chips
  • Crescent Moon: Hot Wings
  • The Sportsman: Onion Rings
RELATED LINKS: Photos from the Best-ter-est of Omaha winners RESTAURANT REVIEW: Amsterdam Falafel & Kabob RESTAURANT REVIEW: Bailey's Breakfast & Lunch RESTAURANT REVIEW: Dario's Brasserie RESTAURANT REVIEW: Dinker's Bar & Grill RESTAURANT REVIEW: The Drover RESTAURANT REVIEW: Roja, Bianco and Blue RESTAURANT REVIEW: Shuck's Fish House & Oyster Bar RESTAURANT REVIEW: Sushi Japan Yakiniku Boy Omaha Restaurant Reviews WEBSITES: Omaha Restaurants Tags || | | | | | | more... |

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Chocolate Mousse Cake @ Au Coquelet Cafe

posted by snekse
This isn't really a review of the Au Coquelet Cafe in Berkeley, CA. It's just me espousing my love for a certain menu item there. The Chocolate Mousse Cake A.K.A. "Chocolate Butter"TM.

Cutting through this "cake" is very similar to cutting through butter that is chilled, but not cold - firm, yet yielding. In the mouth it has a slight chew, but mostly melts smoothly over your tongue. It's a very dense, yet light mousse that borders on being ganache. This dessert as a whole is just a paradox.

If anyone has this recipe, PLEASE . The closest thing I've found so far is the Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte from The Cake Bible. The torte is good, but isn't as silky as the Chocolate ButterTM which literally melts in your mouth.

Someone told me this is a purchased product. If you know where they buy this from, please .

A Foodie's Week in San Francisco
Chocolate ButterTM pictures
Au Coquelet on Urbanspoon

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The World's Best Restaurant - 2008

posted by snekse
The S.Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants list will be announced April 21, 2008. Until then, you can make your voice heard by voting for your favorite restaurant to receive The Alliance Restaurant Insurance Readers' Choice Award. The deadline to vote – March 14, 2008. Voting enters you into a drawing to win two tickets to The World’s 50 Best Restaurants event in London!

World's Top 50 Restaurants - 2008
World's Top 50 Restaurants - 2007

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Omaha's Best Dining Experiences (2006)

posted by snekse
A theme appears to be developing here.

John Keenan, dining critic for the Omaha World Herald, recently published his best dining experiences for 2006. An interesting read. Nothing really shocking on there, but I was a little surprised that Liberty Tavern was nowhere on the list. The list was heavily represented by V. Mertz, Paxton Chop House and Jack Binion's Steakhouse. I've only been to V. Mertz, but if the other two are comparable, then I'd be hard to find fault in the list. I would have also liked to have seen Sage get a special mention, at least for the experience aspect.

It's not entirely clear, but I think he also named a best of list that is linked in the upper right-hand corner. Whatever it is, I've posted it here.
  • The French Cafe ~ A five-star experience
  • Jack Binion's Steakhouse ~ No gamble with these dishes
  • O Casual Dining ~ Inventive chef equals exciting menu
  • Paxton Chop House ~ New presence in downtown fine dining
  • The Tasting Room ~ Come for the wine, stay for the cuisine
  • V. Mertz ~ Seemingly effortless elegance
Though their food is good, I doubt we'll see The Tasting Room on that list next year. There are just too many places in Omaha that are stepping up their game to let your menu become as stagnate as there's has become. Hopefully we'll see Darwin on there for 2007 and see Liberty Tavern get back some limelight.

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