Omaha | SIMA

“You must eat a lot of steak and corn.”

That’s what I hear when I tell fellow East Coasters that I’m living in Omaha. I suppose that’s because the brand Omaha Steaks is now a household name, and the University of Nebraska’s football team, the Cornhuskers, has the word “corn” in its name.

Truthfully, my diet hasn’t changed much now that I live in the Midwest. I very rarely ate corn before and I don’t often eat it now, although I have enjoyed fresh corn on the cob at various food festivals and from the local farmer’s markets (see above photo).

I’ve always liked red meat but don’t eat it too frequently either. I’d like to say it’s for health reasons, but the truth is that good cuts of meat can be costly and I don’t know how to prepare them at home.

But when I’m in the mood for steak, there are no shortages of good restaurants in Omaha serving it. My favorite is The Drover. It’s where I take all of my out of town guests, and where J and I will go if we’re craving some read meat. Their Whiskey filet makes my mouth water just thinking about it, and this summer, when my 80-year-old grandmother was in town, she called it one of the best steaks she’s ever eaten.

Which is why I was surprised to read in Travel + Leisure that fashion designer Thakoon Panichgul goes to the French Cafe for steak. J and I enjoyed brunch at the French Cafe a couple of times when he lived downtown prior to my move but we’ve never had a steak dinner there.

I was also surprised to hear that the Travel Channel’s Food Wars was coming to Omaha to check out two Italian steakhouses I have never patronized, Caniglia’s Venice Inn and Piccolo Pete’s. Apparently there has been a decades-old family rivalry between the two; the owners of Caniglia’s and Pete’s are cousins. SPOILER ALERT: Warren Buffet, whose favorite steakhouse is actually Gorat’s, may have gone on air to support Piccolo Pete’s, but Caniglia’s won the food war.

For all the Omahans out there, where’s your favorite place for steak?

And just to clarify… It is my understanding as a transplant that just because restaurants in Omaha serve steak, they aren’t necessarily serving “Omaha steaks.” As I mentioned above, Omaha Steaks is a brand. However, restaurants may be serving beef that was raised locally in Omaha, in other parts of Nebraska or in Iowa. Or not. I usually don’t ask where my meat comes from, although maybe I should start.

PS – Did you watch “Food Wars” last night? Everybody, including the Caniglia brothers, pronounce “Caniglia” like Ca-nig-lee-a, but the super annoying host kept calling them Ca-nee-lee-a. And talking with her mouth full.

(image 1: circa 2007, image 2)