Restaurant Assessment: Boiler Room has by no means been so scorching and Omaha is prepared for it | Omaha Dines

The menu is still simply divided into two categories, defined by one star for options for first course and two for starter options. I’ve always preferred to share in the boiler room. The portions are sized for easy and give maximum opportunities for tasting to any dinner at the table. Nobody was hungry.

On the first evening we shared two first courses: Tagliatelle with a hearty ragu Bolognese, Grana Padano and a strudel of olive oil; and the culatello, a salumi that took two years to make, was served with a silky burrata, salsa verde, a dash of black pepper and a splash of oil. “Sublime” might be the right word for this culatello, which the burrata combined with its buttery texture as they warmed and melted together bite by bite.

A note: you won’t find any of these dishes – or most of what I write about in this review – on the menu in the Boiler Room when you visit. That’s because Nicholson, who has headed the Boiler Room for about three years, changes the lineup every day.

By the way: the first night I had prepared a meaty piece of swordfish with tough black barley, sweet roasted onions, spaghetti squash, tender stone shrimp and crispy, glazed heirloom radishes. The second night, about two weeks later, swordfish was still on the menu, but now there was potato gnocchi, crispy roast beets, wilted spinach, butternut squash, and a hearty saffron broth. Both dishes let the gentle taste of the fish shine through, but could not have been more different. Nicholson had shifted the preparation I had the first night to a new fish; it appeared with a Scottish steelhead trout instead. Another evening he sent a braised Wagyu beef cheek on a parsnip puree with local wild rice, braised cabbage, and pumpkin pastrami. I asked Nicholson about this “pumpkin pastrami” later, especially after I had a different version with butternut squash as a base on another night. He said a vegan dinner had come one evening to request a tasting menu. He took it as a challenge and eventually created a vegetable version of pastrami in which he takes a vegetable, salt it, season it and smoke it.

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