When drinking from a traditional Spanish porrón, diners must precariously funnel a stream of wine into their open mouths through a spout. Fortunately, at Espana, gracious staffers provide the daring drinkers with a glass of soda water to clean any spills from their shirts.
Porrón wine is only one of the Spanish traditions visitors encounter at the authentic Mediterranean restaurant, where more than 40 varieties of hot and cold tapas pair with pitchers of sangria amid the strains of a guitar. In the kitchen, chefs assemble exotic spices, fine meats, seafood, and vegetables onto small plates, drawing inspiration from generations-old Spanish recipes. They also prepare paella, a family-style rice dish that typically includes veggies, saffron, and meats. In 2009, an Omaha World-Herald writer lauded their paella a la tierra for its "earthy and rich, yet light and delicate" snails and "perfectly cooked" rice.
Out in the dining room, tapas plates speckle colorful red and yellow tables beneath the vivid abstract paintings that hang from sea-green walls. Each month, the dining-room stage hosts live cultural performances, which allow guests to enjoy Spanish guitarists, Spanish dance shows, and Spanish renditions of popular scenes from Good Will Hunting.
Nestled in the historic Haymarket area, JTK Cuisine & Cocktails works to preserve the traditions of American cooking. Chefs keep their menus short, using only fresh ingredients that are in season. As they follow the cooling or warming of the air throughout the year, they change up the menu three or four times to introduce new weather-appropriate dishes and plot twists in the story of Appetizer and Entree. Their menus have focused on elements of modern American cuisine from both land and sea, while accommodating vegetarian, gluten-free, and other diets. Culinary teams shape burgers from American Wagyu beef, marinate cuts of New York strip and flatiron steak, and sear duck and chicken breasts. They also drizzle glazes and seasonings atop scallops, Atlantic salmon, and shrimp. These dishes pair with the restaurant's wines, which include bottles from around the world that represent a range of grape varietals and regions.
At Tobey Jack’s Steak House, seasoned grill masters dish up a menu of succulent, handmade fare and serve it in the newly remodeled dining room. Warm up jaw muscles with an order of hand-breaded onion rings ($6.99) fried to a golden brown to launch taste buds into a lightly battered planetary orbit. The hand-pattied double cheeseburger ($7.99) fills cavernous appetites and weighs down important tax documents with more than a full pound of beef blanketed in american cheese and served with a choice of potato or cup of soup. Meanwhile, the tenderloin ($6.99) pleases palates with a tenderized center-cut pork loin breaded, deep fried, and topped with bacon, sautéed onions, and american cheese. Tobey Jack’s also features prime rib on Friday and Saturday nights ($13.99–$24.99), providing a slow-roasted option for celebratory dinners, first dates, and reunions with long-lost imaginary friends.
The chefs of Shevy's Sports and Steaks simmer slow-roasted prime rib in the kitchen, and the restaurant's five dining areas steep patrons in sports nostalgia. In the Heisman Lounge, photos of all the Heisman Trophy winners smile upon servers as they Hail Mary menu items, such as chicken-fried steak, onto diners' tables. Classic baseball memorabilia crowds the walls of a rustic-style dining room, and outside on a 750-square-foot paved patio, guests sit beside a bustling downtown street as they decide what toppings to draft for their custom Black Angus burgers. Throughout the restaurant, high-definition televisions broadcast games available through NFL and MLB packages, as well as all Nebraska pay-per-view football games and checkers matches.
Polish immigrant Frank Kawa founded Johnny’s Cafe in 1922, improving upon an existing saloon with an expansion, the addition of electricity, and a rule that forbade ketchup fights. However, despite its renovations, the restaurant still surrounds guests with old-fashioned saloon decor, including moose heads and slick leather chairs, and sates guests with hearty steakhouse fare. Hewn from corn-fed, USDA-choice beef, hand-cut and aged steaks include options such as porterhouses, rib eyes, and prime rib, served with salads, freshly baked rolls, and potatoes. Broiled lobster tails and half chickens round out the menu paired with wines and classic cocktails such as the old-fashioned, the Manhattan, and the martini.
Since 1964, Misty's has served a hearty combination of USDA premium beef and house-brewed beer, dubbed the Modern Monks Forbidden Ales. The menu lists a slew of quality steaks and chops, plus seafood, pastas, and sandwiches that satisfy even the most ravenous mad-griffin appetite. Spend your lunch hour cozied up to a smokey blues burger (topped with blue cheese, hickory-smoked bacon, and chipotle mayo; $8.95) and a pint of preservative-free Kolsch, a dry and crispy ale with fruity aromas ($4–$4.20). Hearty dinners heaped with aged Angus prime-rib, soup, salad, and a potato ($15.95–$29.95), along with a pint of Robust Porter ($4–$4.20), leave stomachs stuffed and pitched forward as their operators blissfully mosey home on chestnut mares. Seated amid warm décor with dark wood furnishings and trompe de l'oeil stone walls, you'll feel as comfortable as a snake in a luxury-sized can. Floor-to-ceiling windows let in streams of natural light and provide ample opportunities for people watching. In the warmer months, take advantage of al fresco dining.