The Boiler Room is an excellent choice for a cocktail and wagyu sirloin steak while visiting Omaha, Nebraska. It sits in an absolutely gorgeous location in, yes, an old boiler room. You enter from the street onto the second level, which is a suspended iron grate floor with a beautiful view down into the open kitchen and bar below.
The walls are made from ancient multi-colored brick, with steel posts, steel I-beams and giant ducts overhead. The tables are covered in crisp and clean white tablecloths, which provides a great contrast to the industrial structure. I thought the seats were a little weird. They were loungey in style and pushed you low and away from your date. It was a little hard to actually sit up and close to your meal. Me problems, I guess.
I started with an old fashioned cocktail, which is made with bourbon, bitters, and a twist of orange. I loved how the orange just perched on the edge of the glass, giving off a generous orange air as I sipped. Bourbon and bitters is a great way to start a meal. It really gets your appetite humming. I sipped on that while I perused the menu.
I decided to start with the bigeye tuna crudo. A crudo is kin to a ceviche, which means raw fish served with a sauce made of oil, citrus, and seasonings. The fish is not cured or cooked, but just quickly and gently doused with that bright and flavorful sauce. At The Boiler Room, the bigeye tuna crudo comes with a smoked raspberry acqua pazza, pickled pearl onion, crispy plantain bits, and sorrel. An acqua pazza (Italian for “crazy water”) encompasses a wide variety of sauces, but generally includes a tart component like tomato or vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and fresh herbs.
The crudo featured several nice thick slices of tuna, sitting atop a bright sauce made from the raspberry and vinegar and dotted with beautifully green extra virgin olive oil. The plantains were a nice crunchy textural contrast to the sof slices of tuna. The crudo had a delicious underlying umami smokiness too, like that Japanese rice seasoning furikake, which has smoky shavings of bonito tuna.
I love a well-composed surf and turf, so I chose the Morgan Ranch wagyu sirloin steak to follow. It came sliced into medallions, over a puree of potato, creamy braised heirloom pinto beans, sautéed green beans, grilled shallots and a beautiful roasted garlic jus. I wish I could have taken a jar of that delicious jus home. They finished it by dusting the dish with some crunchy Maldon salt over the top.
This was a spectacular dish. Big and bold and beefy and beautiful. I’d come back here again for this dish, and again and again. With such a powerful entree, I had to try the dessert.
My server recommended the brown butter raspberry tart, which I thought would cap off the raspberry infused crudo just right.
The brown butter raspberry tart was accompanied by a bright lemon curd, raspberry ice cream, an amaretto shortbread crumb, and a terrific burnt honeycomb waffle. I loved the texture of the honeycomb. It had this pleasant bitter undertone from the burnt honey, and an interesting, crispy layered waffle texture. It was so cool to eat and was a great bitter and crunchy counterpoint to the soft tart and sweet ice cream. I would buy that by the bag. I think you would too.
The Boiler Room is a beautiful restaurant that serves beautiful, delicious food. I was not surprised to see that chef Tim Nicholson was named a 2018 Semifinalist for the James Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year. His win is not far behind. Get on over to The Boiler Room. It’s delicious fun.