Lombardo’s: A Wing-Piphany and the Best Meal We’ve Had in 2017

Martha’s Pick:
Lombardo’s
13110 Birch Drive
Fare: Italian bistro and bar
Cost: $60 for 4 drinks, one appetizer and two meals
Reservations: Not needed

You guys.

I’ve been eating chicken wings wrong … for 33 years.

Until recently (and by that I mean: up until last Tuesday), I thought it acceptable, maybe even preferable, to enjoy wings of the boneless variety. You know, small chunks of breaded chicken meat. No bones to maneuver. And usually dipped in whatever saucy flavor that sounds good in the moment.

But that was wrong of me. To repent, I aim to spend the rest of whatever days I have left in this mortal coil eating wings the way God intended: char-buffed. And my first act of contrition is sharing and telling you all to head to Lombardo’s and try them first-hand — the wings that have lead me to my foody-salvation.

Maybe they are some of Omaha’s best.

Maybe they are par for the course, as char buffing food goes.

Maybe they were simply my first taste into the delicious world of char-buffed wings and I’m being dramatic and I’m wrong.  (No – YOU’RE wrong.)

But let’s not point forks here. We’ve gathered today to spread the gospel of our latest foodventure and are excited to confess: from the great vibe and design, charming deck with comfortable furniture and ample shade and a killer meal, start to finish: we are Lombardo’s believers.

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Monday through Saturday, Lombardo’s Happy Hour runs 3 to 6:30, and on Sunday it lasts all day – which feels generous on time and friendly on the wallet.

Jaclyn and I both sipped on a Moscow Mule ($5/Happy Hour) and agreed that it was the best we’ve had to date. It went down so easy, we got two.

First to the table and also off the Happy Hour menu – those wings! ($8)

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Char buffed to perfection, still hot from the grill, crispy and meaty in all the right places and drizzled with ideal amount of the housemade Caesar – we think we heard poultry angels singing. But one of two things happen when the starter is this good: it either sets the tone for the rest of the meal to live up to — and it does — or it’s downhill from there.  Spoiler alert: Lombardo’s delivered on the former.

Before my entrée arrived, I noshed on the Caesar salad (included with my meal). Sure, it’s a menu staple, but guess what … this one? You know it — best we’ve ever had. We know, it’s just a salad.  But Lombardo’s still wins. The same housemade dressing from the wings and crispy Parmesan pieces are what pulls it together. Jaclyn was eyeballing me as I ate it, so I shared the rest. Next, I cut into my delightful Marinated Flat Iron ($18). I devoured the asparagus and I subbed out the potato fingerlings for the creamy and dreamy mushroom risotto. I all but licked my plate clean.

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Jaclyn ordered the Proscuitto Ciabatta sandwich ($12). She doesn’t normally gravitate towards chicken-based meals, but words like basil, provolone and proscuitto de parma were hard to pass up. Her feelings toward all of these ingredients translated into how she ate it — none of the chicken and all the toppings. But she didn’t count it as a loss, it just reaffirmed her general nonchalance towards chicken.

If we failed you at all, loyal readers, it was that we broke our own commandment of always having dessert. But only because we were so pleasantly full! They had several desirable options, and because we knew we’d be repeat customers after our first bite, we’re going to try them as soon as we can. We’re still sorry and we pray for your forgiveness.

At the end of the meal, full tummies and even dessertless, we were nothing but happy and impressed with one of Omaha’s newest eateries. We texted each other about it in the days that followed. And I even convinced a friend to meet me there for happy hour a few days later. Lombardo’s lived up to the hype for round two.

Open for only five months, Lombardo’s is tucked in a corner so that the sunny but shaded deck overlooks the busy street and rolling hills of a nearby golf course. Lombardo’s is worth the drive, whichever part of the city you’re coming from. And if our first experience(s) were any indication – this place will have a congregation trekking in from miles around and, hopefully, years to come. Can we get an AMEN?!

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