Best Overlooked Pizza and Beer in Lincoln

26 04 2008

On a recent Friday evening, Mr. & Mrs. Wisco decided to go to Yia Yia’s, one of our favorite pizza places in Lincoln. Our other favorite is Piezano’s, but we’ll save that for another review. Yia Yia’s is at 1423 O Street.

We arrived about 7:30 or 8:00 on a Friday, and the restaurant was very full. We were lucky to snag a table right by the window in front. Yia Yia’s doesn’t have waitstaff, so everyone orders at the counter. There are a large number of specialty pizzas, as well as the typical ‘make-your-own’. Yia Yia’s has an astounding selection of beer – over 300 of them in fact!! They have beers from all over the world, as well as excellent choices on tap. The display is categorized by region, making it easy to find something froma certain area. Mr. Wisco has a Wychwood Hobgoblin (British), and Mrs. Wisco had a Paulaner Salvator (German).

We ordered a large pizza with sausage and onions on one half, and onions and green peppers on the other half. The place was very busy, but the pizza only took about 15 minutes. The pizza is served with bread on the side – it’s good, but not as good as the pizza.

Our beer choices were fantastic. The Paulaner Salvator is a semi-sweet brown ale, and the Wychwood Hobgoblin is a dark red with lots of flavor. We’ve had these beers before, so the fact that they were great wasn’t surprising. Next time we’ll have to try something new – any suggestions?

The pizza was delicious – the crust is thin and crunchy, the sauce is good, and doesn’t overpower the crust and toppings, there is a perfect amount of cheese (not too much and not too little), and the toppings are all fresh and tasty. In short, it’s a great pizza. A large with two toppings was about $20, but it provided plenty for us to take home for leftovers. A large would probably feed 3-4 people (3 if you’re hungry, 4 if you’re not so hungry). With the beer, our total was about $30.

Yia Yia’s feels like a pub, with pub-style tables. The inside has a décor of brick walls and old giant-sized European posters. It’s definitely a little eclectic, but it has great character.

Overall, Yia Yia’s doesn’t have a large selection of different types of food, it’s a pizza place. But, if you’re looking for some really great pizza with a good selection of toppings, and an unbelievable choice for beer, you can’t beat it.

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Eat Pancakes to help Kids.

22 04 2008

 

The Annual Cornhusker Kiwanis Pancake Festival will be this Saturday, April 26th

from 6:30 am to 2:00 pm

Inside at the Antelope Park Recreation Center

(enter from South  or “A” street near the Zoo on Memorial Dr.)

 

Tickets are $5.00 at the door

Children 3-12 $2.00

And Free under the age of 3

 

All You Can Eat

-Pancakes

-French Toast

-Sausage

-Real Orange juice

-Milk

-Coffee

 

I only recently joined Kiwanis when I moved to Lincoln and can’t say enough about all they do for the community.

I would like to invite all of you who read the DINK Review to attend this great tradition and help Lincoln’s children. 100% of the profits go directly to the kids of Lincoln. This is the biggest fundraiser Kiwanis does and it funds a lot of the work we do during the year. Advanced ticket sales have been sluggish this year, so come out for the Best Deal in Town and have a great Breakfast/Brunch.

 

So what is Kiwanis?

Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time.

 

Cornhusker Kiwanis helps feed elementary school children who wouldn’t otherwise have anything to eat by sending backpacks with food home with them over the weekend, read to and provide books for children who may have no other books at home, put on Bike rodeos to promote bicycle safety and physical activity with kids and provide scholarships to Lincoln’s next generation. We also do a lot of volunteer work in the community by picking up trash on Lincoln’s highways, trails and parks along with volunteering at Teddy Bear Cottage and Meals on Wheals.

This is just a taste of what Cornhusker Kiwanians are doing and have done.

 

Hope to see you there!

Wisco

post scriptum, Mrs Wisco is in Mexico for work until Friday so we’ll post our next review (Yiayia’s Pizza) when she returns.





Sushi or Teppanyaki? Tokyo Steak House Review

9 04 2008

On Saturday evening, Mr. & Mrs. Wisco decided to try a new restaurant, the Tokyo Steak House. It’s a new restaurant that is near the Shopko by 27th Street and Highway 2. It’s on the north end of the strip mall (it used to be a sports bar).

We were never in the restaurant when it was a sports bar, but it looks like the current owners have done an excellent job of redecorating. We asked the chef, and he said that they spent about 7 months remodeling the restaurant. When you first walk in, there is a small bar area with a couple of televisions. There are two sections – a sushi bar and dining area to the left, and a grill area to the right. It’s a traditional-looking sushi bar, with places to sit and eat either at the bar or at the tables. The sushi bar side even has a fish pond in the middle with big coy fish. They’re fun to watch! J The grill side is beautifu – everything is new. There are about 10 grills, and each will fit about 8 people around it. They are Teppanyaki grills (also called “hibachi-style”), where the food is cooked in front of you. There is a nice mix of bamboo wood and wasabi-colored walls, as well as some very nice glasswork. There are Japanese woodprints and artwork around the entire restaurant.

We arrived about 9:00 pm. There were 5-6 tables seated on the sushi side, but none on the grill side. We were greeted by the hostess, who was wearing a kimono-style outfit. We asked to be seated on the grill side, and were immediately brought to a table. The first thing we noticed was the beautiful plates at each seat. We ordered hot sake to share, and started to look over the menus. Both the hostess and our server were young and seemed a little on the green side. This didn’t mean that they ignored us, in fact, they were very attentive. Of course, the restaurant has only been open a couple of weeks, so we’ll give them some slack.

For the Teppanyaki dishes, there were chicken, shrimp, or steak choices available. There is also a selection of different steak cuts to choose from like a NY strip steak. The sushi menu has rolls, sashimi, and vegetarian choices. We decided to order a combination. Mr. Wisco chose the sliced-steak teppanyaki with fried rice, and Mrs. Wisco chose a side of shrimp Teppanyaki, unagi (bbq eel) sashimi, and a spicy tuna roll. We shared an order of edamame (boiled soybeans served with salt – yummy!). The dinners are all served with a side salad and soup. It’s not a traditional miso soup, but more like a chicken broth with scallions and thinly sliced mushrooms. The dinners are also served with grilled vegetables (zucchini, onion, and mushrooms) and steamed rice. It’s possible to substitute either fried rice or house noodles for the steamed rice for an extra $2. They didn’t have the noodles available when we were there, but we might have been too late in the evening for them.

The edamame arrived first. It was very good. The sushi arrived just before our Teppanyaki chef. The Teppanyaki experience was a lot of fun. It was strange at first, being the only people at our table and on our side of the restaurant. The chef was fun, and did a great job of entertaining us in addition to cooking our food. He even showed us how to put our hot sake on the grill to keep it warm.

The sliced-steak Teppanyaki was cooked to a steakhouse medium-rare, which may be a little too rare for people used to other levels of doneness. The quality of the meat was excellent. One might expect a sliced-steak to be a lower quality of meat, but that wasn’t the case at all. It was very tender and lean. The sauce was light and tasty (it tasted like it was cooked in a soy sauce). The fried rice was as good to eat as it was to watch being cooked on the grill. Mrs. Wisco loved the grilled shrimp. They were perfectly done – tasty but not overcooked. There were two sauces served on the side. One was a ginger base that was excellent for the shrimp and the vegetables. We preferred the ginger sauce to the other sauce.

The unagi sashimi was good. The fish was tasty. The spicy tuna roll was pretty good. Now, one thing that Mrs. Wisco really hates is mayonnaise, and she forgot to ask if the sushi chef uses any mayonnaise in the filling. It’s something we’ve seen at other Japanese restaurants, so she wasn’t entirely surprised to see it again. Just make sure to ask if you’re worried, or sit at the sushi bar so that you can see everything and talk to the sushi chef directly.

We’re not sure if it’s because of inexperience or because we were there so late, but the server asked us about dessert (we declined) and brought the check while we were still eating. We didn’t feel rushed to leave, but the timing was a little off. Our total bill was $66 for 2 large hot sakes, edamame, a Teppanyaki dinner with fried rice, a side of shrimp, one unagi sashimi and one spicy tuna roll. We think it’s reasonably priced. Japanese food is never cheap, but it is a high quality, and worth splurging on once in awhile.

Overall, the restaurant is beautiful. The food does a good job of an ‘East meets West’ goal, without sacrificing much of the traditional Japanese cuisine while still making the menu accessible and providing choices for people who are not as adventurous. The food is on par with Shogun, and the décor is nicer. The service was friendly and attentive, and with a little more time will probably work out some of the kinks. Given how successful Shogun has been in Lincoln, the Tokyo Steak House should succeed and do well, as long as people find out about it.





Lunch at Mr. Leno’s

6 04 2008

Mr. and Mrs. Wisco decided to have a late lunch on a Sunday at Mr. Leno’s Mexican Food. The restaurant is at 7040 O. St., just across from Earl May Garden Center, and right where the Mopac Trail crosses O Street. It used to be a Kentucky Fried Chicken, and reopened about 6 months ago as Mr. Leno’s. It has a drive-through that’s open 24 hours a day, so if you’re ever in the mood for Mexican food at 3:00 am, this is your place.

We arrived mid-afternoon (about 2:30 or 3:00 pm) and we were initially the only customers in the restaurant. One other couple came in before we left.

Mr. Leno’s is very casual, and customers order at the counter. Food is served on paper plates, and the restaurant has plasticware instead of silverware. There is a small salsa bar. When we were there, the salsa bar had some pickled peppers and carrots, and two salsas – one red and one green. Both were tasty, and had some spice to them. There are additional spaces in the salsa bar, so it might have other choices at different times.

We ordered several items: a fish taco combination plate, a California burrito (has potato, steak, and salsa), a carne asada taco, a soda, and horchata.

Mrs. Wisco had the fish taco plate. It came with two fish tacos, rice, and beans. The fish was lightly breaded, and served with lettuce, tomato, and onions. The fish tacos have a light sauce on them – it tastes like a sour cream base, but it’s not heavy at all. Mrs. Wisco can be very picky about sauces and dressings, but she thought this one was good. The rice and beans were decent, but needed salsa for some more flavor. The horchata was very good.

Mr. Wisco had the California burrito and a carne asada taco. His eyes might have been bigger than his stomach, because the burrito would have been enough, even for a late lunch. The meat in both was average quality (better than some Mexican restaurants), although it seemed a little overdone and was probably kept warm in hot water before serving. Under closer inspection, Mr. Wisco realized that the potatoes were actually French fries, although they weren’t greasy and appeared to be at least reheated on the grill. The tortilla for the burrito seemed fresher than the taco tortilla. The taco was basic – a tortilla with some meat (no lettuce, onions, etc.). It was the same meat as the burrito. It was a little overdone and the taco shell was a little dry. He would have preferred the taco more authentically prepared with meat, chopped onions, and cilantro. The taco was bland without salsa, but adding salsa gave it more flavor.

The total bill came to about $17. The bathrooms were clean and well-stocked, but they are somewhat rundown.

Overall, it was decent. The people are very nice, and the food is fair. In our opinion, it’s not worth going out of the way for, but if you’re in the area and looking for a fast meal or a quick burrito, it’s a good choice.