Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Bohemian Cafe

1406 South 13th Street
Omaha, NE 68108
(402) 342-9838
Open Sun-Thurs 11am-9pm, Fri/Sat 11am-10pm
More economical lunch prices are offered until 3pm everyday except Sunday.
www.bohemiancafe.net
Bohemian Cafe on Urbanspoon

Czechvar Lager Beer--
Also known as Budweiser Budvar in Europe,
beer critics call this one of the world's great beers.
I have to agree. 

Positively bustling on a recent blustery Saturday afternoon, this classic Omaha favorite -- and by "classic" I mean open since the Roaring Twenties -- still had plenty of room for our four-top, past a maze of tables and side rooms, to an intimate table near the windows. Our server could have been from New Jersey's best diner, refilling our coffee diligently, and then later, our beers. The decor was less kitschy than expected, but the use of "Czech" was not. (On the wall: We accept Czechs, not checks. On the menu: Czech us out.)

Egg Noodle Soup

Liver Dumpling Soup

The food was straightforward, no-frills, meat-and-potatoes, stick-to-your-ribs. Hearty. Simple. Comfort food. Vegetarians can enjoy the vibe -- and the booze -- but not a whole lot else. I wished I could have a whole loaf of their soft seeded rye and a crock of butter all to myself. The Egg Noodle Soup was just that: Egg noodles, like the German spƤtzle, and salty broth. The Liver Dumpling Soup came with one slightly rubbery ball of liver, which was mild in taste. I'd call this Liver for Beginners for someone on the fence. It's one of the Cafe's signature items, and it's a goody you won't find on Panera's list of daily soups.

Czech Goulash

Svickova (Czech Sauerbraten)

Both the Sweet and Sour Cabbage and the Sauerkraut were almost soupy and gooey, and a vast improvement over the canned variety we are likely used to. The Czech Goulash was a ladleful of beefy stew flavored with paprika over a thick, dense slice of bread dumpling. The Svickova, or Czech-style Sauerbraten, wasn't very tender, but the slightly sour gravy would make any Czech grandma proud. As if all this wasn't enough for my stomach o' steel, I added a Kolacky with warm prune filling, though other flavors such as Bavarian creme were available. Save your jokes about prunes, kids. This was the best pastry I've had since leaving Euroland. (At a $1.25 apiece, they're almost too good to be true.)

Kolacky:
More caky than flaky, filled with a slightly sweet warm prune compote.  

To describe the food at the Bohemian Cafe as "traditional" would be redundant and obvious. I picture the cooks slopping the stuff on your plate with extra love and care -- but slopping nonetheless. I overheard a woman with a thick German accent bemoaning the lack of boiled beef on that particular day. I say boil your beef at home and go here for beers, liqueurs, pastries, dumplings and soups you can't get anywhere else.

Just set me up with a few loaves of this seeded rye for the winter and I'll be just fine.
Don't forget to Czech out the FiO Facebook page and "Like" it: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fat-In-Omaha/124948780916431?ref=tn_tnmn

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