I used to work near a little restaurant called “Rasta Grill”. It was this weird fusion of Italian and Jamaican food, and everything was absolutely delicious. We’d walk down to Rasta at least once a week or so and have giant plates of spaghetti with jerk chicken in the wonderfully bizarre atmosphere.
Well, we always suspected that some of the employees perhaps took the Rasta theme a little far, and occasionally partook of Jamaica’s other famous export. Our suspicions grew one day:
Us, ordering: …and an order of garlic bread.
Cashier: [writes “GBR” on the ticket, but draws the “G” almost like a “6”]
Cook, taking ticket: OK…. hey, what’s “6 B R”?
Cashier: That’s a “G”. It’s garlic bread.
Cook: [long, confused pause] And they want 6 of ’em?
As our anniversary dinner tradition, Jen and I drive to Stanton to eat at the Uptown Brewery. Each year, we ask each ourselves if we really want to go all the way down there. Each year, we decide that we’ll have a nice meal and that it’s not that far anyway. Each year, we wonder why we don’t go there more often. I don’t want to disparage any of the wonderful local places, but it really is true: the best restaurant in Norfolk is in Stanton.
The building itself is interesting and the service is always top-notch, but it’s the food that brings us back. We started with the seafood-stuffed mushrooms and moved to amazingly good tomato bisque and cream of chicken noodle soup. The entrees, though, were exceptional. Jen loved the seafood crepes, which were very similar to the stuffed mushrooms but so large that she could only eat one of the two. I ordered the steak Johannesburg, which is a thick cut of angus beef covered with chopped lobster in Madeira cream sauce, and remembered why it’s my usual.
I’m not a food critic, which you can pretty easily tell by my previous attempts at describing meals, nor have I read many restaurant reviews. I don’t know all the words I should use to tell you why you absolutely must take the trip to Stanton to see for yourself. Just trust me on this one, OK? Go. You’ll be glad you did.
Jen and I took Jake and Ari to Omaha. I had joked with Jake that I was going to make him eat sushi, and to my surprise he loved the idea. There was a restaurant downtown within walking distance of our day’s destination and I thought we’d leave Norfolk early and have an early lunch. On our way in, though, we were running a little late. As we passed Yet Another Strip Mall, I saw a big “SUSHI” sign and asked Jen if she wanted to see if it was busy rather than getting all the way downtown and finding out we didn’t have time to eat. She agreed and we pulled in.
What a surprise.
We ended up at Hiro Japanese Cuisine (on W. Maple, near Borders), and I state without exaggeration that it had the best sushi I’ve ever eaten. My nigiri plate was superb. Jake’s California roll was far better than I knew one could be. Jen’s tempura was fresh, crisp, and varied. Ari’s teriyaki chicken was tender and delicious. The salad dressing was so good that I was only halfway joking about tipping my bowl up and drinking it. There’s really not much more I can say; it was awe-inspiring.
The decor was elegantly cool, and I felt stylish simply for being there. Even the bathrooms were beautiful.
Our waiter was exceptionally good. He was funny but not annoying, and helpful without being condescending. For example, Jen poked her chopsticks into her rice bowl and left them there. Our waiter came by and whispered to her, and she blushed and started laughing: that’s apparently a symbol of death. However, he told her this discreetly and politely, rather than making fun of us ignorant folk behind our backs (or at least hiding it well if he did). The service easily ranked among the best we’ve had.
If you like sushi or other Japanese fare, you must try Hiro Japanese Cuisine. We will definitely be eating there whenever we visit Omaha from now on.
I was buying groceries and saw a new display of pre-packaged plastic boxes of sushi. In the middle of Nebraska. Supermarket sushi. The idea kind of horrified me, but eventually my curiosity got the best of me and I had to try some. I settled on the spicy surimi roll and threw it in the cart. As I was checking out, I asked the cashier if anyone else ever bought these, or if I was the guinea pig. “Oh yeah,” she said. “We sell lots of it!”
Later that afternoon, Jake was asking for a snack so I recruited him to help me try it. The package came with little packets of soy sauce and wasabi, and the sushi itself looked pretty good. Steeling my nerves, I tried it.
The first bite wasn’t bad.
Jake was digging in, and I took a second, less-timid bite. No, not bad at all.
By the time we’d finished, Jake was loving it and I was pretty happy I’d taken the chance.
It certainly wasn’t Haruno, but it was actually pretty decent and something I’d gladly buy again. It was made by Fuji Food Products, Inc., and had a blue-and-gold “Fujisan” logo on the dark red-orange tape strip.
Decent sushi in Norfolk, from a grocery store cooler of all places. Who’d have thought?