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Restaurant Hoppen: Five restaurant events you need to experience ASAP

Posted at 6:16 AM, Jun 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-14 07:16:55-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — With Omaha’s incredible roster of restaurants, diners can find fantastic meals any day and time of the week. But there are some extra special occasions that are only available at select times, and they’re so memorable that their availability causes food lovers to clear their schedules and mark their calendars ASAP.

These are five Omaha restaurant events that any serious Omaha foodie must experience at least once.

David Utterback

Yoshitomo

Any meal at Yoshitomo is special, as the nigiri and sushi rolls will forever change the way you look at other sushi restaurants. But there’s truly nothing like the Omakase, a 2-3 hour dinner with 4-6 people in which James Beard-nominated chef David Utterback personally cuts and serves 15-20 plates of sushi and nigiri right in front of you.

The courses, which change between every meal depending on what fish Yoshitomo has in stock and what’s inspiring Utterback at the moment, are incredible. The fish are so fresh they taste like they were swimming five minutes before service, and Utterback includes inventive courses like foie gras sushi rice and uni on sourdough with brown butter.

But the real joy is getting to enjoy intimate time with Utterback, who’s witty and willing to answer any question. On what other occasion will you get to spend hours with a nationally-recognized chef? Utterback thoroughly explains each course and what makes the fish special, and he’ll discuss anything from his culinary beginnings to why the “wasabi” served at most sushi restaurants is a farce. If there’s one meal in Omaha that simply must be experienced, it’s this one.

Where/how to experience: Reserve your spot when reservations become available here.

Nice Rollz Spicy Bulgogi Burger

Nice Rollz

Near the end of every month, Nice Rollz owner Kristina Lee sends out the burger bat signal on Instagram, opening signups for her pop-up’s epic burger night (which usually occurs on the final Sunday of the month). What began as a fun in-the-know secret has exploded into a sought-after event with a cult following that causes sign-ups to sell out within hours (or less).

Unlike any other in the city, this burger causes followers of Nice Rollz’ Instagram account to dutifully watch for the sign-up announcement. A perfect combination of sweet and heat, the burger features a bulgogi-marinated patty, pickled cucumbers, hot pepper cheese, gochujang mayo, and a brilliant runny egg that oozes yolk-y goodness everywhere. It’s one of the best burgers in Omaha and one absolutely worth marking the calendar for.

Where/how to experience: Archetype Coffee (Little Bohemia location); sign-ups are announced on Nice Rollz’ Instagram page.

Dandelion Pop-Up Birria Curry Chicken Quesadilla

Dandelion Pop-Up

The arrival of spring means warmer weather, more daylight, and the arrival of Friday lunches at Dandelion Pop-Up. Each week, a different Omaha chef, cook, or restaurateur takes over the snack shack-sized building on13th and Howard and prepares a unique menu. The meals vary from fried chicken to lobster rolls, Italian beef sandwiches, epic burgers, and so much more, and the lineup is a who’s who of Omaha’s greatest chefs, including Jessica Joyce Urban and Paul Urban (Block 16), Tim Nicholson (The Boiler Room), Glenn Wheeler (Spencer’s for Steaks & Chops), to name just a few.

But what really makes fun is the communal feeling it inspires. While you can get your meal to go, most diners choose to eat at the tables and benches on location. Seeing and eating beside new people allows experiences to be shared and friendships to be formed. Dandelion brings together Omaha’s food-loving community closer.

Where/how to experience: Visit Dandelion Pop-Up at 13th and Howard on Fridays from 11 AM-1 PM.

Dante Wood Roasted Bison Loin with Roasted Tomatoes and Gnoccho

Dante

Whether you’re getting a wood-fired pizza or handmade pasta, any meal at Dante is a special one. But once a month, Dante offers a five-course tasting menu in which each course is expertly paired with a glass of wine that matches the flavor profile of the dish.

The food alone is tremendous, as Dante’s tasting menus feature hyper-seasonal ingredients. The menu tells a story, taking diners by the hand through a progression of amuse bouches to seafood preparations to pasta, protein, and dessert. Certified Italian Wine Professional and Dante Sommelier Adam Weber selects the perfect glass of wine to match the flavor profile of each course, making each month’s offering a meal to remember.

Where/how to experience: Sign up on Dante’s website.

Porky Butts BBQ Beef Rib

Porky Butts BBQ

Ever wondered what it’s like to eat like Fred Flintstone? Porky Butts BBQ offers you the opportunity to find out.

Every so often, the award-winning BBQ restaurant offers its beef rib special. Bone included, this delicious monstrosity clocks in at over two pounds, with nearly a pound of rich, fatty meat. It’s the perfect type of sinful: the fat runs through the beef and infuses each bite with an extra punch of flavor, while the salt creates a perfect bark on the exterior.

This meal is so popular that lines typically start forming well before Porky Butt’s 11AM opening, so be sure to get there early… and hungry.

Where/how to experience: Follow Porky Butts on Facebook to monitor when the special arises

What Omaha food event do you mark your calendar for? Let me know what I need to experience by sending a message to @dan_hoppen on Instagram or @danhoppen on Twitter.

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