Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Scouring & Devouring Omaha: Modern Love, Walks Beside Me

Like the David Bowie song starts off, "I know when to go out, I know when to stay in" - when it comes to our latest venture out to Modern Love, we definitely made the right decision by going out.

Located right next to O'Leaver's, I had been peeking in to see the restaurant's progression for what seemed like forever. Formally occupied by Worker's Takeout (now located downtown), then Star Deli (now located in Benson), This teeny spot next to one of Omaha's best patios and dive bars just couldn't seem to make anything stick.

That is until vegan wonder Isa Chandra Moskowitz invaded the space. On a side note here, I can't tell you how lucky we should all feel to have Isa in our little town. A celebrated author and activist, sometimes I still can't believe that she's ours (for the moment at least).

While some may classify Omaha as progressive, other's will tell you it's just your average Midwest town where you'll find the best steak your money can buy. Needless to say, the opening of an exclusively vegan restaurant certainly piqued some of our interests. I'm sure there are those nay-sayers out there who will say that a meal just can't be good without meat...

But we're here to say that it absolutely can be.

Inside, you'll find that Modern Love is cozy, bright, comfortable and fresh, just like their food. Accessible is the word I would most frequently use to describe our experience here. For some, dining vegan may seem daunting, or even undesirable. However, the food at Modern Love is nothing less than desirable.

To start our meal, the jalapeno corn fritters were calling our names. The fritters themselves were a little too batter-based for our liking. The corn and jalapeno flavors were there, but the batter taste occasionally overpowered the spicy flavors. The arugula and sauce really complimented the dish well though. The sauce was equally sweet as it was spicy, which had there been a bit more of it, would have cut a lot of our batter feelings regarding the dish.  

Kerry opted for the Mac n' Shews. The pecan-crusted tofu on this dish is really something to write home about, however the cashew cheese was a little less stellar. While we were eating, we chatted about how difficult it must be to turn out a rich, creamy cheese favored dish without, you know, using cheese.

And here in lies the "problem" with vegan cuisine. We're so used to the real deal - meats, cheeses, creams, dairy, etc. it almost feels like an unfair fight when you take all of that away.

Or maybe in that space is where the magic really happens...

I ordered the Polenta Romesco and was not disappointed. The flavors here are almost impossible to describe because they were that good. This is truly a complete dish. It's savory, sweet, filling, smoky and salty. OH AND THERE'S A FRIGGIN' STAR IN IT! I'm not a huge fan of brussel sprouts, but holy god these made me a legitimate convert.  I'm still salivating over the thought of those sprouts. 

the aftermath

To cap off our meal, we just had to order dessert. DUH. Desserts at Modern Love and constantly changing and all of them sound like perfection. The night we dined, there were probably four or five different dessert options. I had heard wonders about the pie, so we had to indulge in some mixed berry action. We were tickled with the results and the surprise stunner here was the homemade ice cream that tasted like the real deal (remember no dairy folks).

a few selfies were taken due to the adorable surroundings

All in all, Modern Love lives up to everything we thought it would be and more. Be sure to make a reservation (which you can do online on their website). Also, keep in mind they're still applying for their liquor license, so if you do visit soon, feel free to bring your own alcoholic beverages, i.e. wine and/or beer. The service at Modern Love is extremely friendly, albeit a hair slow. It could possibly be due to the fact that they're less than a month old, but then again, you get what you pay for - and at Modern Love, you get love-filled food.

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