Tag Archives: Hotel Deco

A Taste of the Great Gatsby

November 3, 2017 by
Photography by Doug Meigs

The Monarch Prime & Bar resembles a scene from The Great Gatsby. Bartenders whip up whimsical cocktails; servers dance around with trays of food and drinks; meanwhile, poshly clad guests enjoy a whirlwind of happenings.

Omaha Magazine attended a preview dinner of the restaurant at Hotel Deco on Oct. 26. My dining partner and I sampled dishes composed of grasslands game meats and produce from local farms.

While waiting to be seated in the lounge area—connecting Hotel Deco’s lobby and the Monarch Prime dining area—my eyes fell on the top-shelf spirits, which included some of the most sought-after Japanese whiskies, such as Yamazaki and Hibiki.

A view of the bar

Although I normally prefer my whisky neat, Monarch’s “Blood & Sand” cocktail was tempting. Mixed with Johnnie Walker Black, Cherry Heering Cocchi di Torino, and fresh orange juice (with orange peel and olive garnish), the cocktail turned out to be an excellent aperitif.

My dining partner and I were escorted to our table through a short tunnel-like passage separating the lounge and dining area. A butterfly mural on the back wall provides the focal point of the restaurant. Other decorations include butterfly specimens displayed with preserved insects. Our server explained that the interior design incorporated themes of nature and royalty (after all, a monarch is a butterfly as well as a supreme ruler).

A view of the main dining area

On the main floor, tables are arranged intimately. Those who seek privacy, however, can reserve booths with curtains tucked into the arches. I particularly like the thoughtful lighting of the dining area; mono-point lights illuminate dishes in front of diners in an otherwise dimly lit, romantic atmosphere.

The menu features different courses in categories that range from “to begin,” “to continue,” “to dévour,” “to carve,” and “to add.” As our server told us about the game meats available and proudly introduced their in-house meat drying facility, the menu’s “elk osso bucco” and “30-day bison strip loin” piqued our interests.

She recommended we try the “potato and trout,” but we were torn between duck confit and chicken pate for an appetizer. We decided to go with the duck, “Monarch Burger with lamb bacon,” bison, adding a side of smoked maitake mushrooms, and ending the meal with donuts for dessert.

Meat aged on site

The duck was prepared by sous vide for 30 hours, rendering in duck fat, resulting in a creamy veloute formed into croquettes, lightly breaded and fried. Accompanied by a vibrant and sweet carrot puree, along with some crisp carrot and celery pickles, the duck is both rich and savory—my favorite dish of the night.

Our Monarch Burger, bison, and maitake mushrooms arrived at the same time. We dug into the bison immediately. Meat of bison is typically leaner and sweeter than beef; Chef Patrick Micheels grilled the aged bison and paired it with a light sauce that did not overpower the meat flavor. It reminds me of beef tataki and went really well with the earthy maitake mushrooms side dish.

Lamb bacon burger, bison, and maitake mushrooms

The burger came with frites and spicy aioli made of peppers from Spain. The ketchup, which they called “green tomato jam,” was a rich green and sweet with slight tang. We ordered lamb bacon with our burger—the bacon’s gaminess and fat added complexity to the flavor and aroma.

One note: you should always start with the burger before diving into other dishes as the house-made bun may soak up the cheese mornay sauce and become a little soggy—which is a shame, because their house-made bread tasted absolutely fantastic.

Our bill totaled about $130 before tip—including three dishes, two cocktails, one beer, and a dessert. While many of the items on menu were not yet available (or supply ran short on the night of our preview), we look forward to trying other game meats and unique desserts such as lemon goat cheesecake next time.

Visit monarchprimeandbar.com for more information.

Duck confit croquettes

Hotel Deco XV

April 1, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Providing a comfortable, sophisticated environment with a team dedicated to service is at the heart of Hotel Deco XV’s mission.  Since being acquired by Aparium Hotel Group, the historic 11-story Hotel Deco XV has been renovated and furnished in a neoclassical style reminiscent of its 1930 Art Deco origin.

Hotel Deco XV is both listed on the National Register of Historic Places as well as the only Historic Hotels of America property in Nebraska. The 89-room hotel is also an exclusive AAA Four Diamond luxury boutique property, due in part to its dynamic leadership team. General Manager Matt Korsos along with Assistant General Manager Brian Wenninghoff, Director of Sales and Marketing Laurie Czyz, and Nebraska-born Executive Chef Patrick Micheels bring their combined years of experience within the hospitality industry and a shared passion for creating unparalleled guest experiences to the Hotel Deco XV.

Hotel Deco XV and Aparium Hotel Group work to provide both locals and travelers alike unique experiences and distinctively tailored service through their philosophies of translocal hospitality, intuitive service and owner collaboration.

1504 Harney St., Omaha, NE 68102

402.991.4981 • hoteldecoomaha.com

This sponsored content is a page from the publication Faces of Omaha.  To read the entire magazine, click the image:

Ben Rowe

June 10, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Benjamin Rowe creates cocktails that, quite frankly, say, “drink me.”  They are magical, but they won’t make you smaller. The magic comes from the fact that they are crafted with a lot of thought and care.

“I couldn’t quite decide what I wanted to do for a living,” Rowe says of starting as a career bartender. “Bartending was something I had always done on the side.”

Rowe has worked in the bar industry for more than 10 years, and through that time he’s seen several changes.

“It’s only been in the past few years that you have been able to see bartending as  a career. It’s not just about slinging drinks anymore. It’s about being professional. I think it’s good for the industry to have someone in it for 20 years and impart that knowledge on to others.”

BenRowe1

He’s worked in several places, but came to the forefront of the bartending profession with an opportunity to work at the Dell in 2006, which, he says, had the best bartenders in the city then.

“It was a great opportunity to learn from who were at the time the masters of bartending,” Rowe says.

After learning from the best in Omaha, Rowe eventually wound his way to a bar that became synonymous with craft bartending and themed parties—the House of Loom.  The new wave of craft bartending reinvigorated Rowe for the profession.

“For me it really was the culture of The Loom that did it,” Rowe says. “From the beginning the motto at the Loom was ‘we care.’ We care about the customer experience, we care about the music that’s playing, we care about the cocktails that go across the bar.”

That care began to show in the passion he gained for the profession. He began wanting to know more about the spirits, about the ingredients. The House of Loom focused on a seasonal menu that encouraged people to try new drinks every quarter.

“For us it was more important to have you try a new drink. We put a lot of time and effort, and money, to develop these cocktails,” Rowe said. “They are still making great interesting seasonal cocktails.”

These days, Rowe can be found behind the bar at the Wicked Rabbit, a speakeasy near Hotel Deco serving a wide selection of pre-prohibition style drinks.

“Wicked Rabbit is a different animal,” Rowe says. “We find it is very much about the cocktails. It’s very much about the quality of the cocktails, right down to the glassware we choose to serve it in.”

While customers can, and are encouraged to, try a new cocktail, they can also serve the standards.

“A lot of this bar is about suspension of disbelief,” Rowe said. “You don’t go and watch Schindler’s List and then read it and expect the same thing out of it. Just to get into the bar you have to walk into a store, and then you have to walk through the shelf. That sets the tone for the bar. The rest of the experience should take you down that path. That being said, we don’t want to tell someone who has been drinking whisky and Cokes for 20 years that we can’t serve it.”

That attitude of serving what guests want was especially helpful when they first opened.

“We are technically a hotel bar,” Rowe said. “We get a very eclectic mix here. I appreciate that. The first week we were open there was a convention here that had something to do with farming. So they came in and looked around, and at first they thought they were a little out of place. But you put a whisky in front of them, and you chat with them, and soon they had a great time.”

But it’s the specialty cocktails that keep patrons coming back, and Rowe continues to create new specialty cocktails.

“As I progress, I want to push the boundaries of what is a great cocktail…At the end of the day, it’s liquid in a cup. I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of some of those bars that give out the best liquids in some of the best cups in the city.”

Whether someone wants to drink their standard cocktail or to try something new, Rowe’s commitment to caring about cocktails means he wants every patron to enjoy themselves.

“We want anyone who wants to experience this journey to come here and have a great time. I don’t care what walk of life you’re from. Anyone who wants to come here should be able to come here and have a great time.”