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Restaurants & Bars

Omaha Report: The Tasting Room, Taste

SmallCap | Jun 16, 200612:17 AM

Okay -- two small-plate restaurants, similar names, completely different experiences.

The Tasting Room (far west on Maple, I think it is) remains one of my favorites. It is a true "tasting room experience" in the best sense of the word, at least based on Midwest standards -- interesting & reasonable retail wine shop, classes, educated & accomodating servers, excellent wine flights served nightly, live music several times/month, patio dining, good small plate selection, casual & social "furniture" seatings, etc. I adore the atmosphere, I usually adore the service, & I have yet to be disappointed in the $10 flights (4 1-oz. pours). They've finally begun changing the menu on occasion, too, which was a long time coming. Periodically, I'll try an appetizer that is overly-creative & just doesn't quite "work" -- & the cheese plate is still a bit lacking in view of the price -- but TR is definitely more hit than miss, plus just an overall good time. (I cannot praise the staff enough, especially my favorite server – Gina!) Two diners, two wine flights, you can probably get out the door for $75 or so.

Taste... Taste (in Rockbrook Village) is one of those places I really *want* to like.... & I've tried a few times, but it just isn't happening. Like so many of the spots I write about, it is strictly small-plate, & does have an expansive menu that is organized creatively. And frankly, the dishes always sound terrific at first glance. But there usually seems to be something missing in the delivery -- too many of them served on boring beds of pasta, perhaps, or maybe it's that most seem to be nothing more than regular entrees shrunken down to “small plate” size. The wine list is okay & getting better. Service is a little rough around the edges & not improving that I can tell. I have tried some good soup selections, but overall, everything seems to be a bit too bland for my taste -- too Americanized, maybe? That may just be my prejudice. I don't know. I will give them credit for keeping long hours most nights of the week, so it’s good for not-too-fancy late-night dining. But it wouldn’t be my first (or second) choice on a regular basis.

P.S. Both of these spots are still on the “Passport” card, for any of you cardholders out there.


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