Greetings Eaters and Readers!
This month’s pick was:
8100 Cass St
Fare: Bar and grill
Cost: $50 for drinks, shared appetizer, dinner and shared dessert.
Reservations: Not needed
This week’s NFF was heavy on the convenience factor and light on the adventurous. En route to the theatre with a curtain call of 7:30 p.m., we knew we would be in a race against time and challenged with finding a place within close proximity to the Omaha Community Playhouse.
On short notice and being about five minutes from the playhouse, Big Red provided what the evening required: quick, close, and hot food. But it left both of us longing for our usual food adventure. A Nebraska chain, Big Red is your typical sports bar with little flair and a focus on Keno and Husker football games. To no fault of their own, we wouldn’t consider this a sought-after destination.
We say this with well-intended criticism: a server is the welcome mat to a restaurant. If they can’t answer your basic menu questions, the whole experience is potentially compromised.
Perhaps our young waitress was new and inexperienced in beer culture, but Jaclyn’s attempt to order a drink was painful. Our server openly admitted that she didn’t know what stouts were, what dark beers they had or even what kinds beers they sold in general. She offered her hand-written list of about 15-20 beers, from which Jaclyn picked Oktoberfest ($?). What kind of Oktoberfest? Who knows.
Picking up on the awkward exchange, Martha didn’t even test the waters. She requested a glass of whatever Zinfandel the bar had available, knowing it would satisfy her want for a taste of chilled wine. The glass was small but it was full. Price and name? Moving right along…
The best part about our entire experience was how quickly and fresh all plates came out. Starting with the Poutine – Big Red Style ($8.99). The crispy fries were topped with shredded Philly steak and white cheddar cheese curds drizzled with beef gravy. The dish screams Midwestern (meets East Coast?) American and accurately presents itself as such. (If you’re searching for anything close to traditional Poutine, keep searching). Overall, it worked.
For her main course, Martha ordered the Anytime ($10.99). This hearty burger has melted American cheese, a crispy hash brown patty, country style gravy, bacon and an egg on grilled sourdough. The burger comes with your choice of side and Martha asked what Buffalo Fries were (they were offered as a side option). Our server indicated no one had ever asked for those before so Martha opted for the Sweet Potato fries. The sandwich was piled high and very filling, so much so that half way through, Martha ditched the hash brown patty and bread in order to save some room for dessert.
Jaclyn ordered the Taco Salad ($9.59) with seasoned chicken, cheddar jack cheese, tomatoes, black olives, salsa, sour cream and ranch in a fried tortilla bowl. With the notion that it’s hard to screw up a taco bowl, she wasn’t disappointed. No questions were asked.
Martha: Dessert Game? 1..2..3!
Jaclyn: Brownie Sundae.
Martha: Snickers Pie!
Jaclyn: I KNEW you’d say that one!*
*Technically not a Spirit Sistah fail, right?!
Jaclyn let Martha win this time. The Snickers Pie ($4.99) had caramel, salted peanuts, fudge, cream cheese filling, fudge brownie, and chunks of Snickers bars.
Despite that premature smile you see in the photo above, neither of us loved this pie. Cream cheese filling is an ingredient Jaclyn does not gravitate toward and its overall flavor was too rich. We didn’t even finish it.
Martha finds it hard to take normal pictures, but this photo accurately sums up our experience at Big Red. We give it a big ‘ol sideways fork with a heaping side of “take it or leave it.”
Added bonus: If you’d like to ask us about Omaha Community Playhouse’s presentation of Sister Act, we’d love to tell you about it.
Martha and Jaclyn