Tag Archives: steakhouse

Mahogany Prime

December 4, 2014 by and
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

When you think about that special night out, celebrating a promotion, impressing a client, or perhaps your next anniversary, you want to pick a restaurant like this one.

Mahogany Prime is a restaurant that knows exactly who they are, and they embrace it. It is considered a premium Omaha steakhouse, a place for special events. They deserve the reputation they have cultivated, from making the reservation to the personal “Thank You” as you exit, they hang their hat on impeccable service.

My recent visit was no exception.

When we made our reservation, they asked if we were celebrating anything special. They understand the perfect way to welcome guests is to make their visit personal. Mahogany Prime is decorated like a traditional steakhouse, with dark woods, rich textures, warm colors, and a perfectly set white clothed table. The table and booths are arranged with intimacy in mind, and you feel as if you are the only ones there. It was full when we dined, but not noisy. We were able to enjoy our conversation, something that is difficult in many restaurants today. The lead server greeted us and offered our choice of water before discussing the wine and cocktail offerings. We selected a bottle Terra D’Oro Red Zinfandel from the Deaver Vineyards of California ($45). It was modestly priced and we enjoyed it thoroughly. There is an extensive choice of wines available and the staff is very well trained in assisting with the perfect selection for your preferences. If you want to pick a wine to impress, you’ll find it at Mahogany Prime.

The assistant server arrived to discuss the features of the menu, and her knowledge of the offerings and preparations bore the stamp of a good training program. On this occasion they had three bone-in steaks available, including a Bison steak. Her description of the Lobster Cargot ($29.99) made our selection of the appetizer almost an obligation; we knew we would miss out on something special had we not ordered it.

Just prior to our appetizer arriving they presented warmed plates. Cue the anticipation. In the typical Cargot preparation, the creamy Havarti cheese was toasted perfectly atop succulent lobster in piping-hot, melted butter. And it was served with freshly baked bread so you could enjoy every drop. It was that good!

Next we enjoyed the Mahogany Prime salad ($7.99), a mixture of five greens with slivered carrots, sliced radishes, tomato, tangy goat cheese, toasted candied nuts…all tossed in a house-made creamy parmesan dressing.

As is the way of a steakhouse of this caliber, steaks and the accompaniments are ordered a la’ carte. I selected a 14 oz. Prime New York Strip ($45.99) and my dining partner an 8oz Filet ($39.99). We elected to share the Au Gratin Potatoes ($9.99) and the Fresh Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce ($12.99).

When our steaks arrived sizzling from the grill and placed in front of us, we were asked to cut into the center of the steak to confirm they were prepared to our liking. Our savvy server looked at my dining partner’s steak and knew it was not as requested. She handled it expertly. Soon a series of managers were stopping by and, before long, the steak was returned perfectly cooked. You might think this would have distracted from a perfect evening, but the staff had been so expertly trained it somehow turned into a big plus. The beef was prime as advertised. The Au Gratin Potatoes were a masterpiece of spuds in a cream sauce topped with seasoned bread crumbs and golden brown cheese. The etherial, lemony Hollandaise sauce was served on the side of the fresh and perfectly
steamed asparagus.

At this point we absolutely could have (and should have) been done, but you can’t celebrate without a little dessert. We selected the house-made bread pudding with Cognac cream sauce to share, but it was a tough choice considering the five layer chocolate cake that was also on the menu. We enjoyed our dessert with espresso before learning that our server had taken the dessert off the check as an apology for the very slightly miss-cooked steak.

I mentioned earlier about the great service fueled by the team-style attention at every step of our visit. The thing about excellent service is that it is competent without being intrusive. It is woven into the fabric of the experience so that you don’t even notice when, say, a server deftly replaces a fork between courses, almost as if by sleight-of-hand.

Give Mahogany Prime a try for your next special dinner. You won’t be disappointed.

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J’s on Jackson

October 28, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Ask Jay Siers what the best thing is on his menu.

“Our filets.” This is said with finality.

The owner of J’s on Jackson will have his medium rare, thank you. Carrots and asparagus on the side, please, with a little seasoning and butter. Possibly accompanied by a glass from one of the Old Market steakhouse’s 300 bottles of wine.

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General manager John Thompson is well-versed in the type of restaurant Jay Siers wants J’s on Jackson to be. Thompson began working with Siers in a consulting capacity last fall for his Norfolk steakhouse.

 

Siers’ confidence in his steaks stems from the fact that J’s on Jackson sources and cuts all of its meat through its own steak-cutting operation, Platte Valley Meats, in Fremont. “It gives us much better quality control than if we just tried to source meat on the open market,” Siers says, “and it’s almost 100 percent Nebraska beef.”

Platte Valley Meats seems a natural addition to Siers’ empire. J’s on Jackson is, after all, his third restaurant. Dedicated patrons can find a J’s Steakhouse and Winebar in both Norfolk and Fremont. “Our core menu’s pretty much the same,” Siers says, “but I wanted this one to be a little different.”

J’s on Jackson manages to have a traditional steakhouse feel (you know the type: dark wood, white tablecloths, heavy bar) without completely closing off diners from the bustle of the Old Market. The dining room overlooks 11th Street, and a small patio affords fantastic people watching on Jackson.

While you’re out there, consider the chef’s patio special of the evening. “It’s usually a unique appetizer, like Chesapeake Bay oysters,” says John Thompson, the restaurant’s general manager. For dinner, try the nightly feature. J’s on Jackson differs from traditional steakhouses in that it serves a composed plate rather than a la carte, so your pork filet might come with a cherry remoulade sauce and a side of pureed sweet potato.

 

Of course, with Zeb Rogers in the kitchen, who knows what will be featured on any given night. “He’s dying to do a stuffed squid,” Thompson comments, “but the market’s a bit high right now.” The restaurant’s executive chef was a sous chef at several restaurants in Minneapolis before moving to Omaha, where he became executive chef at 801 Chophouse and then Mark’s Bistro. He finally joined forces with Siers and Thompson at J’s in 2012.

“He’s been here since we opened,” Siers says. “He’s an amazing guy, and he has full latitude over the menu. He can do whatever he wants.”

That’s another twist at J’s: Even if you’re not in the mood for a steak, chances are you’ll find something to tempt the palate. The restaurant offers seafood fresh from Omaha’s own Jacobson Fish Co. and makes its gnocchi and pasta sauces in house. “It’s not that we have so much,” Siers says, dismissing the idea that the menu’s variety would indicate a lack of focus. “We don’t have 16 chicken dishes. We just tried to cover everything.”

And if it’s still not quite what a diner needs?

“They’ve never said no to a special request,” says Kim Kanellis, a regular at J’s. As a sales and marketing rep for an insurance company, she frequently entertains clients at the steakhouse. “If they have it, they’ll do it.” During one particular business lunch, a fellow diner wasn’t finding a vegetarian option on the menu that appealed to her. “So they asked her some questions and made a Portobello sandwich up for her,” Kanellis recalls. “Fabulous service. That’s what it’s all about there.”

It doesn’t sound like Siers is willing to rest on his laurels though. When asked if he has plans for a fourth restaurant, his quick response is, “Always.” The details are still being hashed out, but look for something in the way of a raw bar in southwest Omaha sometime this spring.