Chef Nick Strawhecker and Dante were recently featured in Real Food Traveler’s review of the best restaurants in Omaha. During a recent trip to Omaha, Real Food Traveler co-founder and editor-in-chief, Bobbie Hasselbring, was pleasantly surprised by the unexpected quality and variety of food to be found in the Omaha area. We are so pleased she came to Dante and really appreciate the wonderful things she said about us! Read on to learn more and see what dish she claimed made her swoon.
Veteran chef Nick Strawhecker, owner of Dante Pizzeria Napoletana on the city’s west side, cooks up wonderfully creative pizzas and much more. This smart and casual eatery serves up rich and complex dishes that reflect Chef Nick’s deep culinary knowledge and his decade of cooking around the world.
We sample a simple and tasty, thin crust marinara pizza studded with big pools of house made fresh mozzarella and shreds of fresh basil. It’s creamy, classic and garden fresh. But the next pizza is a complete surprise–chicken liver and lemon with mozzarella and red calabrese peppers. This is not a combination I’d normally order. However, it’s incredibly delicious: rich, crispy chicken livers, thin, tangy lemon slices all offset by silky mozzarella and sweet red peppers.
Dante’s offers much more than pizza. We try their duck liver crostini, tiny, super-crisp toasts fried in duck fat and topped with uber-silky duck pate and duck prosciutto with greens and finely shaved radish that gives a fresh crunch and astringency to this rich dish (see photo above). Next is a delicate soup—chicken stuffed tortellini in a flavorful yet light rabbit broth. The handmade pasta has the perfect al dente chewiness, the chicken filling is smooth with a soft chicken flavor, and the broth makes me want to tip the bowl up and drink it.
The next dish, as beautiful as it is flavorful, is rabbit roulade with house made rabbit sausage with fresh and grilled persimmons and fennel and hand-pulled mozzarella.
The rabbit saddle, perfectly cooked and juicy, has just the right seasoning and the flavorful sausage has a deep, rich rabbit-herb flavor. The grilled persimmons offer a sweet smokiness that marries perfectly with the creamy cheese.
Fennel-persimmon salad, lightly dressed with lemon-thyme vinaigrette, provides a nice freshness to round out our meal. A bowl of fingerling potatoes with crunchy oats, lightly smoked with apple wood, have just the right chewy texture and smoky flavor. However, for me, the star of the day is beef cheeks with mitaki mushrooms, fall-off-the-fork hunks of deeply-flavored beef. This perfect fall/winter dish takes hours and hours to make, makes me swoon.
Author Bonnie Hasselbring is a multiple award winning travel and food writer and editor. We invite you to enjoy the whole article at Real Food Traveler by clicking this link.