“Block 16” 1611 Farnam Str. Omaha Nebraska
If you had told me that we were going to find amazing, affordable food in Omaha on a recent Thursday night, I might have scoffed and said, “yeah, right”. However, what co-chefs Paul and Jessica Urban have put together is beyond amazing and affordable. It’s down-right delicious and more than reasonably priced. The 16th and Farnam business district was quieting down as we arrived. But the happy hour at Block 16 is going on. Reduced prices on wine and some beers. Nice touch while we wait for our friends. Block 16 (from their web site) is a locally owned restaurant that’s ‘hell-bent on creating fresh, fun, street-style food.’ Wow. They are doing it! If you want a quiet, cozy, romantic meal, this isn’t the place. But if you want an eclectic restaurant with a diverse menu to enjoy with friends, this is definitely worth a try.
Block 16 is a relatively small eatery. Perhaps seating for 24 at tables that are close to each other. Perhaps 20 stools at counters that line the walls. Grab a table or stool (while you wait for a table to open up) and prepare to have your taste buds impressed.
Jim was impressed with the fast service, the good value and said this was a ‘multiple napkin meal’, meaning that the juices ooze and the messy deliciousness was more than the bun could contain.
Rick had the pull pork roll, with melted Swiss and caramelized onion, pickles and mustard & mayo. Rick declares this “pretty yummy. No, AWESOME!” He had a side of seasoned fries and was pleased with their crisp texture and great seasoning.
Jim had the Block Burger, a ¼ pound of beef with Swiss cheese and all the fixings, also choosing the seasoned fries. Jim decided this might be his vote (so far) for the #1 ranked burger in Omaha. He loved the sauce, said that the vegies were fresh and crisp and the pickles tasted homemade.
Patty tried the Philly steak sandwich and onions rings, and while thinking they were both good, didn’t think either was outstanding or remarkable. But Patty quickly added that she’d eaten here a few times before and had thought her other choices had been excellent.
Sarah ordered the Reuben with an interesting list of ingredients for a Reuben. Smoked corned beef, pickled beets (really?!), chocrute (sauerkraut with bacon) and kajillion island sauce. Wow. The pickled beets added a layer of flavor that was nothing short of amazing. Coupled with perfectly fried and sea salted sweet potato fries, she will be back for another round of this combination.
What we wish: One of us should have been more adventurous with our sides. The table next to us was raving about the Duck Duck Goose Fries, calling them “to die for”. Block 16 also offers Dragon Fries, Poutines (French fries, cheese curds and gravy) and Gangsta Fries. The sandwiches are reasonably priced from $5 to $9. The sides run $2 to $6, depending on what you choose to smother your fries in.
Don’t overthink the combinations that the co-chefs have come up with. Who would have thought to put pickled beets into a Reuben, but it works! These two chefs have a knack at building unique complexity into their meals that will astound your taste buds.
Overall, 4 thumbs up from our group. Omaha, pay attention to these two! Paul and Jessica are very talented chefs who are changing the taste of affordable food in Omaha.