There are a couple of restaurants in the Omaha area that I consider my “go-to” places when I need to make a quick decision of where to take friends or family. These are places that have great food and drinks, reasonable prices, and good service. They’re places that I can go to several times a month (without tiring of them) and always have a consistently good experience. Stokes is one of the restaurants on my very short go-to list.
Stokes opened their first location in Omaha in 1998 at 114th and Dodge. After a successful first decade, they opened a second location in the Old Market at 12th and Howard. In November 2012, Stokes moved their West Omaha location to 137th and Dodge—the location formerly occupied by Blue Agave and, before that, Ted’s Montana Grill. I recently visited their new location, and it looks fantastic! The restaurant features Stokes’ trademark copper tabletops and Southwestern art. There are also plenty of ornate wood booths and a large bar, which make this a very comfortable and fun atmosphere.
The food at Stokes is beyond reproach. Executive Chef John Ursick has all but perfected the style of Southwestern/Tex-Mex cuisine. On a recent visit, my dining partner and I had some of my favorites, starting off with the Black Bean and Sweet Corn Taquitos ($7.95). This scrumptious plate of fried, rolled corn taquitos with corn, black beans, and Cotija cheese are served with two great salsas. Next, we tried the Queso Fundido ($8.95). If you’re a fan of queso, it doesn’t get any better than this! Stokes’ recipe features beans, jack cheese, caramelized onions, chorizo sausage, and ancho chile sauce served bubbling-hot with warm tortillas.
For an entree, I had my favorite, Sharon’s Chicken Enchiladas ($14.95). These are not your traditional chicken enchiladas and instead feature shredded chicken breast topped with a white sauce, a poblano pesto, and a mountain of melted jack cheese. Trust me, even if you don’t like enchiladas, you will like these. My partner ordered the Twisted Garlic Shrimp Pasta ($14.95), which I have also had many times myself. This delicious radiatore pasta dish is made with a tasty Southwestern sauce, fresh tomatoes, avocados, and garlic.
The excellent bar at Stokes is another reason I keep coming back. They have some incredible margaritas, as well as an excellent wine list and some very imaginative cocktails. They also have some well-regarded beers available…Not to mention that they have great happy-hour specials and, on Tuesdays, their entire wine list is half-price. Between the great food, beautiful new location, excellent bar, and friendly service, it’s pretty much a no-brainer dining spot and will remain one of my favorite go-to places for years to come.
13615 California St.
RATING (5 Stars Possible)
Food & Beverage: ****
Price: Great Value