Dining review_ at the old market’s plank, circle up for oysters _ living _ omaha. com

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Some might call Flagship Restaurant Group — the owners of the successful Roja Mexican, Blue Sushi and gastropub Blatt — crazy for even trying to open Plank Seafood Provisions, its latest effort in the heart of the Old Market.

The oysters are what Plank is all about, so we’ll start there.

Martini with sweet vermouth recipe Selections change daily. Manhattan cocktail recipe with dry vermouth When I ordered fresh oysters, the staff advised me to try what was fresh that day, so that’s what I did. Sweet vermouth recipes food I’m a big fan of oysters, and the ones I had at Plank held their own.

Salty but mild Peter’s Point oysters were medium-sized and earthy, and a half-dozen Moon Shoal oysters were smaller but popped with citrusy punch. Mixed drinks with vermouth The descriptions on the card that lists the oyster’s flavors and levels of salinity — saltiness — were spot-on. Mixed drinks with sweet vermouth All came with a thin ginger dipping sauce, a spicy cocktail sauce, fresh horseradish and a wedge of lemon; I liked the sauces but prefer my oysters with just a squeeze of citrus.

Tony Gentile, Flagship’s corporate executive chef, said eventually the wait staff should know more than just which oysters are fresh that day, the spot where my servers’ knowledge ended. Antica formula vermouth recipes The goal is to have the staff know what each oyster tastes like, how each is harvested and whether it is wild.

The barbecue oysters, served in their shells topped with a tangy, vinegar-based sauce, were good, too, especially for those a bit squeamish of raw shellfish. Martini rosso vermouth recipes The sauce lent a brothy texture and didn’t overwhelm the oyster’s mild flavor.

We also tried the Oysters Rockefeller, a classic Southern dish I ate this summer in New Orleans. Martini rosso vermouth price Plank deconstructs the dish. Martini rosso vermouth sweet The oysters sit below a bit of cooked spinach, nubs of thick bacon, buttered bread crumbs and Parmesan that form a light crust. Drinks with dry vermouth It’s not the classic, which is both heavier and smoother in texture, but I liked the lighter version’s blend of crispness and saltiness.

The best of the entrees I tried was one I would never have ordered on my own but did on the advice of a server. Martini bianco vermouth recipes Blackened Mississippi Catfish at Plank comes topped with an old-school, spicy Creole beurre blanc sauce, the top studded with crawfish bits and grape tomatoes. Martini rossi vermouth recipes Delicious dirty rice, with bites of spicy sausage, sat next to al dente green beans. Gin martini recipe no vermouth Catfish can be mealy and soft — that’s why I avoid it — but this blackened fillet, which Gentile said actually is from Mississippi, came firm, white and well-cooked.

We also liked the lobster roll, which clocks in at $20, high for a sandwich and a side of fries. Gin martini recipe sweet vermouth We doubted that price until a few bites in; the sandwich’s filling was thick with lobster and not overwhelmed by mayonnaise, celery, tarragon or citrus, instead harmonizing with the dressing and a buttery, grilled hot dog bun.

A huge, wooden boat-shaped sculpture is suspended from the ceiling in the dining room, and modern silver lamps, silver chairs, lots of wood and a big, busy oyster bar complete the space. Dry martini recipe gin vermouth An outdoor wrap-around patio lends an excellent spot for Old Market people-watching.

We liked hanging out in the space each time we were there, including for one dinner outside, and when filled with diners, the restaurant has a happening din. Cinzano bianco vermouth recipes Service was efficient across the board. Martini rossi red vermouth The rest of our meals, though, were less impressive than the atmosphere and staff.

A mustard-and-maple sauce mucked up an otherwise lovely piece of cedar-plank cooked salmon. Martini rosso red vermouth A too-large heap of overly peppery, underdressed arugula tasted bland. Martini rossi sweet vermouth A scoop of saffron-spiked couscous and the sauce, which tasted like bottled honey mustard, both felt woefully out-of-date. Martini with sweet and dry vermouth The salmon itself, cooked to a perfect mid-rare center, would have been delicious if served differently.

Another entree, a $25 pan-fried Costa Rican grouper, had deeper problems. Vodka martini bitters The fish itself was off in terms of both texture and flavor, and I got lots of sinewy bites and chewy cartilage. Martini rossi rosso sweet vermouth I did like the simple but rich lobster gravy that had bits of seafood, a side of cooked oyster mushrooms and a pile of garlic mashed potatoes, though pan-roasted broccolini felt forgettable.

The grouper has been one of Plank’s most popular dishes, Gentile said, and the restaurant has had problems getting enough of the fish to keep up with demand. Martini rossi sweet vermouth review Because of that, he said, quality has suffered.

The seared diver scallops came out overcooked and more chewy than buttery. Bourbon sweet vermouth bitters My husband liked the creamy, nutty farro and the braised kale with the dish, but some chunks of crispy braised bacon were too tough and stringy to cut.

We appreciated seeing alligator on the menu, though we’d have also appreciated a more creative preparation. Rye whiskey sweet vermouth bitters The crispy fried alligator is just that, served on a bed of onion strings and topped with pepperoncini peppers and a small bowl of Creole mustard sauce for dipping.

I will go back to Plank. Martini extra dry vermouth miniature I’ll sit below that giant boat sculpture, take in the people and enjoy the atmosphere. Martini extra dry vermouth white I’ll eat my plate of fresh oysters — the best I’m likely to find in Omaha — at the busy bar, drink a glass of wine, and totally feel like I get it. Vodka sweet vermouth recipes Hopefully, in time, I’ll feel the same way about the rest of the menu.

Plank, like Flagship’s other restaurants, has an extensive happy hour that runs Monday through Saturday from 3 p.m. Vodka martini without dry vermouth to 6:30 p.m. Cocktail of gin and vermouth crossword clue and all day Sunday, from noon to 8 p.m. Dirty gin martini recipe without vermouth Specials include $1 oysters, $4 and $6 drinks, $3 house wine and beer, and other seafood specials. Cinzano rosso vermouth cocktail recipes We tried one of the restaurant’s special lemonade-based drinks, “Two If by Vodka,” and liked the refreshing concoction.

Plank also has an impressive beer list that includes many large bottles designed for sharing, something rare at many Omaha restaurants. Cocteles con vermouth blanco It includes a lot of respected breweries — North Coast, Lagunitas, Funkwerks and Rogue among them. Martini sweet vermouth recipe My husband was especially impressed with big bottles of Funkwerks Saison along with Captain Sig’s Northwestern Ale and Hazelnut Brown Nectar.

The new menu will also include locally produced walleye in a crispy walleye puttanesca, along with an alligator po’ boy, baked lobster macaroni and cheese, a lobster wedge salad, smoked beef short ribs and grilled albacore sliders.

We tried one dessert at Plank, a delicious bananas foster bread pudding, a dessert created by chef Matt Moser. Martini dry vermouth recipes It tasted like banana bread and a cinnamon roll in one, and a salted caramel sauce pushed it over the top. Sweet vodka martini recipes Four small chunks of brulee-topped bananas made me change my mind about a fruit I don’t always love.

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