For 15 years, Sean O’Casey’s has doubled as a family-friendly restaurant and a place to sip pints of draft beers while watching sports games on two big-screen televisions. Ales, stouts, and Irish whiskeys pair with classic American bites on the menu, which includes half-pound burgers, grilled salmon, and the signature sky-high reuben. Guests partake amid a classic pub atmosphere depicted via exposed brick, dark wood, and framed Guinness posters.
The owners of Brewsky’s Food & Spirits know that the best way to get friends and family together is to create a vibrant space filled with live music, all the best sporting events on TV, frosty brews, and a menu of comfort foods. While taking pride in being the spot to gather for Huskers games, as well as all other major sporting events, the owners also take immense satisfaction in serving a selection of juicy steaks, flame-broiled burgers, and wings that their chef concocted exclusively for the restaurant. The team also entertains patrons with trivia nights and shows such as dueling pianos or quarreling xylophones at the Haymarket location.
Grilled over a wood fire, baked with buttered breadcrumbs, served raw with a touch of horseradish?when it comes to oysters, the chefs at Plank Seafood Provisions have nearly every preparation covered. Updated daily, their oyster bar's menu sports catches flown in from the Pacific and Atlantic coasts several times a week. And Omahans have taken notice. One busy weekend, Plank Seafood Provisions had to order 2,000 oysters to meet demands, reports The Reader.
But beyond oysters, the eatery?named 2013's Best New Restaurant by Omaha Magazine?celebrates all kinds of seafood delicacies, from potato-crusted calamari to pan-seared diver scallops served with creamy farro and braised kale. It even steps on land with smoked beef short ribs and Angus burgers topped with fried oysters. And to complement such feasts, bartenders pour plenty of beer, wine, and cocktails as well as six varieties of spiked lemonade.
The interior of Plank's dining space derives its inspiration from some of the cooking methods in the adjoining kitchen?namely the wood-fire grill. With nautical accents, retro-style booths, and stools, hard wood furnishes dominate. The tables are hard wood, as well as the stools, the door, and a massive boat frame hanging overhead to remind diners of the sea's bounty and sunken boat skeletons.
"No cookbooks. No measuring cups. No measuring spoons. No scales. I know from experience," Be Lam—the executive chef of Saigon Surface—responded when Jane Palmer of the Omaha World-Herald asked if she uses a cookbook. Lam, who runs the restaurant with the help of her daughter and son, Ngoc and Tu Nguyen, told Palmer that she learned her culinary and artistic techniques from a group of elders in her native Saigon. She creates her signature grilled pork dish, for example, not from a written-down formula but from a memorized marinade that developed over years of practice and bestows flavor to the meat over several days.
Though steeped in the food wisdom of several generations, the restaurant's overall vibe is decidedly modern. The Omaha World-Herald, which had already named it one of the Top 8 restaurants in 2011, said that it "mixes the traditional with the technological to great effect. It's a welcome addition to the downtown dining scene." There's an iPad at every table, which guests can use to order a lychee martini from the lime-green-backlit bar or fiddle with when their dates decide to show their ventriloquism skills. The walls, meanwhile, are covered with dark wood paneling, which provides a pleasingly stark contrast to the sleek white booths and tables.
Inside The Den, two activities rule: savoring cold beer and playing fun games. Until 2 a.m. every night, bartenders pour nine beers on tap, ranging from familiar standards such as Guinness to The Den's house beer, Grizzly Honey Brown. A tenth tap supplies Giggling Grizzly Punch, a mixture of lemonade and four Pinnacle Vodka flavors garnished with gummy bears.
Drinks in hand, patrons can pose for pictures or select tunes on the Virtuo jukebox, which comes installed with its own built-in camera. Elsewhere, darts zip toward bull's eyes, life-sized Jenga pieces tower and totter, and Pac-Man races around eating fruit. Now connected to Room 13 Pool & Game Room, The Den's gaming inventory extends to several billiards tables, virtual shuffleboard, and classic shoot-em-ups like Time Crisis 3.
There's always some special to take advantage of at Grant Street Bar & Grill, whether it's Monday–Friday's all-day happy hour with a next round bought at 5 o'clock, taco night, or free pool—the sports bar definitely knows how to keep its patrons happy. In-between games of pool or beer pong, guests can satisfy their hunger with American pub food including burgers, philly steak sandwiches, loaded nachos, and spicy pub pickles. On Saturday, classic breakfasts are served from 9 a.m. until noon, so customers can fill up on comfort food such as biscuits and gravy or pancakes.