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3 Omaha Chefs Take on Steak

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When you think of Omaha, two things usually come to mind, Warren Buffet and Omaha Steaks. As the former United States’ hub for livestock and meatpacking, more people are familiar with Omaha Steaks than the Berkshire Hathaway founder. Which makes sense because they are pretty darn tasty and you can order Omaha Steaks online.

When you visit a steakhouse in Omaha, you know you’re going to have a great meal. But you don’t have to go to a chophouse or fine dining restaurant like V. Mertz to get a tasty steak.

You can get a delicious meal featuring steak at many Omaha restaurants including a pizzeria and a sandwich shop.

If a trip to Omaha isn’t in your immediate future here’s how you can enjoy a little taste of Omaha Steaks from home for an #OmahaWeekend. These chefs present their unique take on steak.

Disclosure: I participated in Visit Omaha’s virtual Steak Lover’s Media Tour. All opinions are 100% mine.

V. Mertz Boneless Ribeye

21-day aged boneless ribeyes Photo courtesy: Omaha Steaks

Located in the Old Market District, the elegant V. Mertz focuses on seasonal and local ingredients. The restaurant is a three-minute walk from the Hyatt Place Omaha Downtown – Old Market and a two-minute walk from the Embassy Suites by Hilton Omaha Downtown.

Photo courtesy: Chef Jacob Newton

V. Mertz’s Executive Chef Jacob Newton, an Omaha native, developed his cooking skills at an early age. After earning his degree at Johnson & Wales, he worked in Omaha, Europe, and Charleston. While in Charleston, Jake worked at The Ordinary under James Beard Award winner (JBF) Mike Lata.

Chef Newton’s steak of choice for home cooking is a boneless ribeye. The hand-carved 21-day aged ribeyes are tender, juicy, and perfect for grilling.

Pro-tip: Take your steak out of the fridge an hour before cooking to let it come to room temperature. This ensures it cooks through to the middle.

Whichever method of cooking you use, grill, pan, or oven, Chef Newton recommends starting with a dry steak. Pat both sides with a paper towel to absorb any excess moisture.

1. Pat both sides with a paper towel to absorb any excess moisture. This helps with the carmelization process.

2. Liberally sprinkle both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper. At V. Mertz they use the Au Poivre style of seasoning.

3. Sear steak on the hottest setting possible with a generous amount of oil to create the carmelized hard crust. Press lightly in a cast iron pan ensuring all surfaces touch.

Pro-tip from Chef Newton: Use an oil that you can heat to a high temperature like canola, peanut, or vegetable. Olive oil has too low of a smoke point and can negatively affect the taste of your steak.

After 1 1/2 minutes move the pan to another hot spot on the grill (or stove) while searing to keep the temperature hot and ensure a nice crust.

Sear for a total of 3 to 3 1/2 minutes on each side for a 1/2″ steak.

4. Remove from the pan and let the steak rest for 5 to 7 minutes to cool the external temperature.

5. Finish in 450 degree oven for approximately 5 minutes or your preferred doneness.

6. The final rest depends on the size of the steak. A thicker, larger steak needs to rest longer than a smaller cut. A 1/2 to 1″ steak should rest for about 15 minutes to 20 minutes.

Pro-tip: Cut across the grain to serve using the entire length of the knife. Avoid a sawing motion.

V. Mertz
1022 Howard Street
Omaha, NE 68102
402-345-8980

Hours: Tuesday through Sunday 5:30 pm to close

Kitchen Table Teres Major (Bistro Filet)

Teres Major, Petite Tender, Bistro Steaks Photo courtesy: Omaha Steaks

Kitchen Table, in the Old Market District, serves “slow food fast.” Featuring sandwiches, snacks, and salads from seasonal local food prepared from scratch is their specialty. The restaurant is a six-minute walk from the DoubleTree by Hilton Omaha Downtown and an eight-minute walk from the Hyatt Place Omaha Downtown – Old Market.

Photo courtesy: Chef Colin Duggan

Omaha native Chef Colin Duggan, former Executive Chef at Urban Tavern in San Francisco, along with his wife Jessica, owns Kitchen Table. The daily changing menu is made in house and offers gluten-free and vegetarian options.

Pro-tip: Kitchen Table caters to all dietary requirements. Their philosophy is “if we can do it, we absolutely will.”

Chef Duggan’s steak of choice is the teres major also known as a “petite tender” or bistro filet. I call it “the poor man’s filet mignon.”

Once you go bistro filet, you may never go back to a filet mignon. Tender and flavorful, the hand-cut 21-day aged bistro filets are easy to cook.

Pro-tip: It’s one of the best values in steak. You can get two boxes of bistro filets for less than cost of one order of filet mignon.

The teres major is a versatile steak that you can serve for any meal.

Pro-Tip from Chef Duggan: Season your steak up to 12 hours before cooking to infuse the most flavor.

Steak and Eggs for Breakfast

1. Pat dry to remove any excess moisture.
 
2. Trim the silver skin from the bistro filet, leaving some of the fat. Save the silver skin to fry in the pan later.
 
3. Season with chili, cracked pepper, and sea salt.
 
4. Sear steak in a hot cast iron pan with butter and herbs. Use the same pan to fry up the silverskin.
 
5. Slice steak across the grain, add finishing salt and serve with eggs over easy and grilled asparagus.
 
Pro-tip from Chef Duggan: When grilling vegetables, grill dry then add oil, dill, and seasoning to absorb all the flavor.
 
6. Drizzle the fat base you made from the silver skin over the top of the steak slices to give extra flavor and moisture.

Steak Salad for Lunch

1. Pat dry to remove any excess moisture. 

2. Trim the silver skin from the bistro filet, leaving some of the fat.
 
3. Season with Kitchen Table’s house spice (KT spice) of fennel, coriander, seed (didn’t get what type of seed), paprika, salt, and pepper.
 
Pro-tip: They use this spice on their bacon popcorn. Yes, I said bacon.
 
4. Sear steak in a hot cast iron pan with butter and herbs.
 
5. Rest and baste with seasoning.
 
6. In the bowl of greens, add Za’atar or preferred spices. At Kitchen Table, they grind fennel, coriander, cumin, almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds together. Add pickled onions, gently toss with Kitchen Table Greek Goddess vinaigrette without anchovies.
 
7. Serve on a plate.
 
8. Slice steak across grain on top of the salad.
 

Jerk Spiced Steak With Marinated Tomatoes Dinner

1. Pat dry to remove any excess moisture.

2. Trim the silver skin from the bistro filet, leaving some of the fat.

3. Season with Kitchen Table’s jerk spice.

4. Sear steak in a hot cast iron pan with butter and herbs.

5. Kitchen Table uses Omaha’s Oakview Farms tomatoes.

6. Slice across grain, add to plate with marinated tomatoes.

7. Drizzle the fat base you made from the silver skin over the top of the steak slices to give extra flavor and moisture.

1415 Farnam Street
Omaha, NE 68102
402-933-2810
 
Hours: Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11 am to 5pm; Friday from 11 am to 6 pm

Dante Pizzeria Tomahawk Ribeye

36-ounce Tomahawk Ribeye Photo courtesy: Omaha Steaks

Located in the Shops of Legacy, an upscale shopping mall in west Omaha, Dante Pizzeria serves farm to table seasonal rustic Italian cuisine and wood-fired pizzas. The restaurant is a 23-minute drive from the Old Market District.

Photo courtesy: Chef Nick Strawhecker

 
Owner and Chef Nick Strawhecker, an Omaha native, received his culinary training at Johnson & Wales. He worked in Europe at Michelin-rated Relais & Chataux in Tuscany. Chef Strawhecker also worked at Spring under James Beard Award winner (JBF) Shawn McClain.
 
Pro-tip: Dante Pizzeria Neapolitan pizza is one of a handful of restaurants certified by the Italian Government.
 
If that doesn’t convince you that Dante Pizzeria isn’t an ordinary pizzeria, Chef Strawhecker’s Rigatoni Bolognese made Food Network’s best pasta list.
 
Chef Strawhecker’s steak of choice is the Tomahawk ribeye. The hand-carved 36-ounce bone-in ribeye, aged for 21 days, is tender and full of flavor.
 
Pro-tip from Chef Strawhecker: Remove your steak out of the fridge two hours before cooking so it comes to room temperature.
 
1. Generously season with fresh black pepper and Diamond Crystal kosher salt.
 
2. Heat cast iron pan in a wood oven. From home, use your highest oven setting and preheat your cast iron pan. Or heat your grill as hot as possible.
 
3. Add olive oil to cast iron pan and cook the steak to an internal temperature of 115 to 120 degrees depending on preference.
 
4. While steak is cooking, prepare your tigelle flatbread. If you don’t have a tigelle machine or can’t locate any, you can use pita bread or an English muffin.
 
5. Baste steak with a generous amount of butter, garlic, and rosemary while cooking to add more flavor. Best if butter is at room temperature.
 
6. Let steak rest for at least 5 minutes, then slice across the grain.
 
7. Assemble steak sandwich, served with condiments of your choice. Chef Strawhecker recommends Gorgonzola Dolce DOP (Sweet Gorgonzola), Bella Sabine from Dutch Girl Creamery, mustard seed, fennel, chile aioli, kimchee, mustard, braised artichokes, pickled ramps, chervil, dill, radish, caramelized cipollini, and morels.
 
16901 Wright Plaza #173
Omaha, NE 68130
402-932-3078
 
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday from 11:30 am to 9 pm; Friday and Saturday from 11:30 am to 9:30 pm

Conclusion

When visiting Omaha, or cooking at home, you can enjoy an Omaha Steak.
 
I’m a big fan of Omaha Steaks, having received a gift certificate from some friends last year. I enjoyed learning the three Omaha chefs take on steak.
 
We usually grill our steaks and when it’s too cold to grill, we use a cast iron pans.
 
What’s your favorite steak recipe?

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