In the heart of Omaha’s historic Old Market district, amid the brick warehouses converted into loft apartments, galleries, shops, restaurants, and cupcake stores, Plank Seafood Provisions has been making its mark since it opened in 2013 and promptly won the city’s Best New Restaurant Award that year. This highly popular coastal-inspired seafood grill — an anomaly in a sea of steakhouses — boasts an oyster bar that, on any given day, serves up fresh oysters from, say, Virginia, Massachusetts, or Washington that are served raw, baked, fried, smoked, or grilled over a wood fire.
A 50-seat outdoor patio wraps around the restaurant for dining al fresco, but you’ll get a better nautical vibe inside. In the main dining area, the wooden ribs of a boat float above a row of booths, and an enlarged photo of open ocean almost lulls you into a slumberous state as you imagine yourself bobbing on the water in your sailboat. The fonts used for the “P” and “K” in the restaurant’s name hint at boating rope knots. Tiny waves, anchors, and sea creatures dot the menu that you’ll spend a good deal of time reading, trying to select from a very tantalizing selection.
Try This: Unfold your very naval-looking blue and white napkin and start sipping on a tart blackberry nectar lemonade as you wait (not long at all) for your first course. Start with Plank’s highly touted macaroni and cheese, baked in a cast-iron dish with cavatappi pasta, cheddar, béchamel, parmesan breadcrumbs, paprika and chives, which you can embellish with lobster or applewood smoked bacon and green peas. Or, you might like the sautéed Prince Edward Island mussels. For an entrée, from a dozen choices, I opted for the trout meunière, pan-seared with capers, grape tomatoes, herb-roasted fingerling potatoes, and sautéed baby green beans, served in a lemon and white-wine butter sauce, along with a brown-butter almond purée, but the walleye puttancesca, diver scallops, and cedar-plank Scottish salmon all sounded equally outstanding. For dessert, launch into the banana foster bread pudding or the key lime panna cotta.