Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sage Student Bistro - a Highlight in Omaha

A recent trip for my day job landed me in Omaha, Nebraska.

There, I had the opporunity to enjoy a dinner a Sage Bistro at Metropolitan Community College.
College cafeteria food? What's so special about that?

Our dinner at MCC was prepared by students enrolled the the culinary arts program. The students prepared local foods dinner for myself and my colleagues, and we were treated to some of the finest grub that Omaha producers have to offer.

(click on the image to enlarge it)

On our menu, the chef listed the sources of the ingredients, a rare treat on a menu, and something I truly appreciate.

Our entree was a roasted lamb rack. The lamb was overcooked, sadly. It was still edible, but the star of the dish was the mix of red beans paired with it, which were chock full of slices of amazing Loukanika sausage from Bluff Valley Farms. Loukanika is a greek sausage. Ours was made with ground pork and lamb, and seasoned with orange rind. It was my first time trying Loukanika sausage, and it certainly won't be my last - that's some darn fine sausage! No booze was served during our meal, but guests can carry in their own bottle of wine.

The squash confit was a delight, and something I've never tasted before. The butternut squash was smooth, with a depth of flavor that was charged by the confit technique.

The pear and cranberry crisp was done up right with a brandy-cider flambe that was prepared in the dining room. Pyrotechnics during a meal? Why not? It's a bunch of college kids, afterall. The crisp was served with a creamy french-style ice cream, made with eggs, that was speckled with vanilla bean.

After dinner, the chef offered entertaining stories while we sipped coffee, and it was great to hear about his experiences and relationships with each of the producers featured on the menu.

Details: MCC is the only educational institution in the country to offer a program in Culinology™. Culinology blends traditional culinary arts with food science. MCC ranks in the top thirteen culinary schools in the United States, and the cost of the entire program is only about $3500.

Worth noting: The students at Sage Bistro offer a menu degustation for four people for $145 in their dining room.


And just in case you're wondering, yes, I did indulge in some Omaha steak while in Omaha. I'm not a steak person, but when in Rome....

I had a 8oz. fillet at Omaha Prime. Located in Omaha's Old Market district, Omaha Prime is one of the few restaurants in the country to serve exclusively USDA prime grade beef. Our group of six was escorted to a beautiful table on the second floor. I was one of two women in the dining room. They do it right at Omaha Prime - white jackets, family style sides, and a spectacle of raw beef presented before you place your order.

I topped my steak with some locally made Maytag bleu cheese and I opted for a Fat Tire Amber Ale instead of wine. It was delicious.

[where: Sustainable Food, Omaha,]


Doug Peckenpaugh said...

Actually, there are several schools that offer Culinology programs, but MCC--in combination with UNL (culinary arts studies at MCC, food science studies at UNL)--has the distinction of being one of the first (and graduating the first individual with a degree in Culinology a handful of years ago). You can read more about Culinology degree programs at

Reetsyburger said...

Thanks for the info, Doug.
I guess MCC's web site is a bit out of date!

Culinology is pretty hot these days. I'm interested in picking up the Science and Lore of the Kitchen, but I heard it's QUITE a read.