Eatin’ in the Heartland

November 22, 2013 at 1:17 AM Leave a comment

Over the last two months, Jeff has traveled through the center of America for work. While there, he had the opportunity to try some excellent restaurants in somewhat unlikely locations.

When Jeff mentioned he had a great meal in Omaha, Nebraska, most people wondered if it was steak. Nothing could be farther from Dario’s Brasserie, a Belgian restaurant that specializes in mussels! Mussels were available Provencal, with Bleu Cheese and the style Jeff ordered with caramelized leeks, sorrels, parmesan cheese, prosciutto, lemon and beer. Served with a side of pommes frites, these were excellent mollusks. Perhaps best of all was the chance to try a number of Belgian beers on tap. Because Jeff sat at the bar, he was able to learn some of the nuances and flavors of this unique taste treat. This was an excellent restaurant.

Bluestem is located in an unassuming neighborhood in Kansas City. The menu is prix fixe and filled with remarkable options. Jeff especially enjoyed the first course Foie Gras sitting atop a dusting of coffee cardamom and served with a side of nectar ice cream and honey. The main course, “Hen & Duck” was a delightful leg/breast poultry combo that was locally sourced. He finished with the Pumpkin Fritters. Everything was perfect, supplemented with a skilled staff that insured satisfaction.

Perhaps the best of the middle-American bunch was Recess. Located in an Indianapolis storefront space, surrounded by minimal adornment, the Chef designs a single prix fixe menu for each day. Jeff learned later that the restaurant sends out a daily email blast with the day’s offering. As he is generally game for anything and he only had one day in town, he was eating what the chef was cooking and what the chef was cooking was GOOD. If you find yourself in Indianapolis, this is the place for adventurous eaters who are willing to leave their satiation in the hands of a very capable chef.

Like Cleveland, the middle of America is often thought to subsist on only burgers and fires. Their approach to food is wider and more varied. Omaha might serve a great steak, but in addition to Dario’s, The Grey Plume is making some of the best food in Omaha, if not America. In Indianapolis, R Bistro can also be counted on to serve inventive foods. This is not a one-chef area of the country. Good food is being prepared in Cleveland and much of middle of America. Take that New York and San Francisco. 4920 Underwood Avenue Omaha, NE 68132 402-933-0799 Westport RoadKansas City, MO64111 816-561-1101 4907 North College Avenue Indianapolis, IN 46205 317-925-7529 220 South 31st Avenue Omaha, NE 68131 402-763-4447 888 Massachusetts Avenue Indianapolis, IN 46202 317-423-0312

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