Johnny's Italian Steakhouse

After a productive Sunday afternoon of cleaning and organizing the garage, it's time to write up a quick post about last night's dining excursion.  For our first "date" night out in Omaha, Bridget and I headed up to Village Pointe to try Johnny's Italian Steakhouse.   I'm going to try and keep a somewhat consistent review method of restaurants/bars, so let's see how this works:

Johnny's Italian Steakhouse  3/22/09

Style:  JIS had a Sinatra/Martin/Rat Pack feel to it.  Dark wood tables, low lit.  Plenty of Sinatra playing in the background.  I'm always up for some Frank or Dean, so that's always a plus in my book.  While I do love Frank and Dean, the overall feel was a bit too chainy for me.  When I'm out at an Italian restaurant, I like for it to have that family run feel to it.  Not necessarily that I feel like I'm eating at someone's house, but that some family members got together and bought the pictures, tables, etc.  JIS didn't quite have that.  It wasn't over the top chainy like 54th Street, but enough that you could tell there was description given to someone.  Unfortunately, a family with two kids sat down in the table next to us towards the end of the meal.  Kids were well behaved, but the toys they were playing with where the wind up kind.  That buzzing sound they make when the toys are walking around is very annoying.  Props to the kids for being quite and playing with their toys.  Thumbs down to the parents giving them annoying toys to play with during dinner.

Drinks:  Appeared to have a normal stocked bar.  Drink menu had some specialty martini's and such.  I was in the mood for a manhattan with Makers Mark.  They put a LOT of MM in there.  So much that I had to spend the entire meal nursing it down so I didn't pass out.  Whew.  Should have ordered my usual Tanqueray and Tonic.  Oh well.  That one was on me.  Bridget got some wine <yawn>.

Food: Food was very good, but not outstanding.  We had some fried mozzarella wedges for an appetizer.  Nicely fried and breaded, but the mozzarella could have been a bit fresher (I think).  I've had better mozzarella apps before, and I think the difference is due to making your own or using the pre-prepared ones.  I had a parmesan encrusted new york strip with garlic mashed potatoes, which came with a salad.  The salad was mediocre at best.  Tasted like a bag salad from the grocery store, topped with ranch dressing from a tub.  The steak was outstanding though.  Cooked to a very nice medium rare.  The parmesan encrustation was a parm butter sauce or something like that on top.  It was spectacular.  Really, really good.  The garlic mashed potatoes were good as well.  Not quite garlic-y enough for me.  Bridget got crab stuffed shrimp, which appeared to be shrimp with crab cake in it.  Very good.  Would have been outstanding had they used bigger shrimp.
Overall, the entrees were very good, but the lack of effort on the salad was really disappointing.

Price:  Nothing wrong with the price, $25 for the steak seemed reasonable. 

Will we go again?  Yes, there were several other steak entrees that looked really good.  The steak I had was good enough to keep my interest high on the other ones.
Is it a place when friends come in town and we say we have to go there?  I would say no.  Not quite enough to set it apart from other chain Italian restaurants like Carraba's.

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