This article appears in July/August 2015 Omaha Magazine.
Photography by Bill Sitzmann
The local dining scene has come a long way in the last decade. These days there are so many great restaurants in Omaha it is becoming hard to keep track of them. I remember a time not long ago when I could count the great Omaha restaurants on both hands. Now I have to keep a voluminous list because there are so many. I’m not complaining. This is a good problem.
One restaurant that has earned a place on that list is Salt | An 88 Restaurant. Salt 88 opened in west Omaha two years ago. It features a unique style of Mediterranean cuisine with some interesting modern American elements. Chef John Horvatinovich has done an incredible job of creating a dining experience that can’t be duplicated anywhere else in Omaha.
Salt 88 is also a beautifully designed restaurant. It features a contemporary look with high ceilings, lots of pastel hues, great artwork, and elegant tableware. The space has a formal look to it, but it somehow still manages to feel casual. Don’t let the strip mall location fool you. This is one of the more striking dining spots in Omaha.
On a recent visit my dining partner and I started off by trying The Other Calamaria ($10). It’s called that because they also offer a Salt and Pepper Calamari, which I have eaten in the past and really enjoyed. This time I let the server talk me into trying its cousin. I was not disappointed. The breaded and fried calamari was cooked to perfection, seasoned nicely with sea salt, black pepper, garlic, green onions, lemon zest, and cilantro. It was served with a tasty Asian-style sauce as well as a red pepper aioli-type sauce. We also tasted the Goat Cheese Rangoon ($9). These were fried wonton wrappers shaped like little purses filled with a creamy goat cheese mixture and served with a garlic aioli sauce. For dinner I tried the Plank-Fired Scottish Salmon ($29). This signature dish is served on a mesquite wood plank, topped with a tomato basil sauce and served with grilled vegetables. The salmon had a rich, smoky flavor and literally melted in my mouth. My dining partner had Chicken Terra ($16). This was a juicy grilled chicken breast served with wasabi gouda mashed potatoes and seared fresh spinach. The combination made for a memorable dish.
For dessert we split the Chocolate Cake ($11). This moist, house-made treat consisted of at least seven layers, all smothered in a hot chocolate sauce. It was the best chocolate cake I have eaten in ages.
I was extremely impressed with my meal, and equally impressed with the assistance I received from our friendly, knowledgeable server. She was responsible for recommending all the incredible food I tried, and she brought it out with impeccable timing.
The bar at Salt 88 has a great list of craft beers and cocktails as well as a carefully thought-out wine list that features some of my personal favorites. The server made a great recommendation for a craft beer I had not yet tried and was well versed on the wine list. They also have a robust happy hour every day. It’s not surprising that Salt 88 has earned a prominent position on my list of favorite Omaha restaurants. I am confident once you give it a try it will also be on yours.
The check was accompanied by house-made cotton candy, a sweet touch capping an even sweeter evening of indulgences.