Restaurants & Bars

Lincoln, NE - The Oven, Abe's, Leadbelly, Pickleman's, Rendang, and Crescent Moon in Omaha

Steve | Nov 28, 202106:27 AM    

Spent a long weekend in Lincoln (which we loved) and managed to have some good food. The overall winner, and really surprising choice is Rendang for Malaysian food. Small, focused menu mostly of rice and noodle dishes. I had little idea of what to expect and we were truly shocked at the quality. Superbly executed and plated, this is better than the two Malaysian spots I have easy access to in the Washington, DC area. What a surprise! We started of with two small dishes, stuffed tofu and the roti canai. Both dishes so fresh and hot. The roti was wondrously flaky and the tofu hot and crispy with a cooling vegetal stuffing. We were in the hands of experts.

We went on to Nasi Lemak with Rendang, Char Kway Teow, and Nasi Goreng Cina (Chinese style). All super delicious.

Also tried out a couple of the specialty beverages: freshly squeezed limeade with palm sugar syrup and sparkling water with evaporated milk and rose syrup. Both killer!
shup, palek chole, Chicken bhuna, and Safed Maas. On the side we ordered a raw onion and chili plate as well as a mango chutney.

The Oven is a tremendously popular Indian restaurant with two locations. Reservations necessary. It has a very large menu, and we had no clue on what to order. Even at my favorite restaurants I find that there are three or so items that are remarkable and the rest is just ok. So we ordered a lot. Naan with filling, an assortment of pakora with a large papadam cracker on top, mulligatawny soup, palek chole, chicken bhuna, and safed maas form the lamb dishes. On the side we got raw onions in a chili paste and a mango chutney to spice things up.

The naan was a fail, terribly soggy. The pakora were wan: hot but not crispy. Probably made with a chickpea batter. Still, the papadam was awesome, melt in your mouth delicate, and the soup had a strong cilantro finish and delicious tang. The palek chole was spot on with spices and an overall winner.

The other two dishes both had a creamy sauce (our bad in ordering), different but both boring. The sides were very welcome in helping spice things up.

Abe's is a counter service place with somewhat thin but beautifully charred burgers. Mine had some pink in the middle. An interesting assortment of toppings, I got the Park Avenue which came with a horseradish slaw. Very delicious, recommended.

Leadbelly is a bar/eatery in the Haymarket district. My poutine was a complete fail, made with waffle fries and the cheese curds were in stick form, cold and hard. But they made a rather cheap sirloin steak that was gorgeously cooked, and thoroughly pinkish red, nice char and tasty as all heck.

Pickleman's is a toasted sandwich place. The bread they use is nothing special until it's toasted, and then it works very, very well. The Italian beef came with a very nice giardiniera. Two soups were delicious: a lentil chili and a creamy tomato basil.

We also had ice cream at the UNL Dairy, where I felt compelled to try the corn flavor. The taste is surprisingly subtle. A special pleasure.

On our way out of Nebraska, we stopped at Crescent Moon in Omaha to get a reuben. There is reason to believe the reuben sandwich was invented in Omaha, and there are a bunch of places that serve it. Crescent Moon claims to serve the 'original' FWIW. It was probably the worst rueben I've had. Very little meat which was overwhelmed by the russian dressing. We got green pepper rings on the side (instead of onion rings), and they were the saving grace.

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