Restaurant Review: Ingredient Omaha (One Pacific Place)

Posted by on Jun 6, 2011 in Food, Product Reviews, Rant | 3 comments

Restaurant Location:
10317 Pacific St,
Omaha, NE 68114
402-932-2544
Visit their website.

Date I Dined: May 21, 2011
Meal: Supper
Diners: Me, Jud and Allison

Decor: Located in the old California Pizza Kitchen bay of One Pacific Place, Ingredient, is open and spacious. Windows and natural light keep it from seeming dark, but the tint kept it cozy too. There was a heavy use of plexi-panneling with bamboo and dried flowers and swirls and such to add privacy and visual interest. This is an order at the counter diner trying to feel like it’s upscale, except that they plastered the place with televisions. You can watch sports! And look at wheat encased in plexi-glass! I don’t know, either.

The menu is large, and I don’t just mean that there is a lot to order. The actual menus that hang on the wall are gigantic with writing so far up the wall that I literally had to crane my neck to read them. Granted, I’m 5’2″, so this is mostly bothering me, the little people and children. Still. Proportions matter.

Ordering: The young woman behind the counter seemed tired and a little overwhelmed, with a deep line of people coming her way, I couldn’t blame her. We asked about the ‘draft of the day’ which is $3/glass she stated it was Coors.

Can you see why that seemed slightly ridiculous?

Yeah, it should’ve been obvious that things here weren’t going to go well. If only, we’d gone straight to Red Mango at this point.

But we didn’t. We ordered the following:

Crispy Asian Salad – ALLISON
thai-chili glazed steak, napa cabbage, bok choy, glass noodles, edamame, crisp red peppers, snow peas, carrots, and spicy cashews with sesame ginger dressing, topped with crispy wonton strips 9.95

Thai Pie Pizza – THE JUD
curry chicken, grilled broccoli, red onions, julienne carrots, thai peanut sauce, fresh cilantro, and chopped peanuts 9.95

Meat Lovers Pizza – ME
Italian sausage, pepperoni, apple wood bacon, capicola ham, with rustic tomato sauce and our three-cheese Italian blend 10.95

AND, unfortunately, Allison and I decided to share a carafe of margaritas.

It seemed like a good idea. But it wasn’t. It really, really wasn’t.

First, it was a TINY carafe. Now, I know, in their defense, it says right there in giant numbers that this is a 1/2 liter. I, of course, am spatially stunted, so that means nothing to me. I expected one thing and got another.

When the young woman brought it to our table, she seemed apologetic. Probably because the carafe was full of ice. It was mostly ice. And I have never really hoped to pay $15 for a carafe full of ice, unless maybe I was taking the carafe with me at the end of the meal. Even then….

There were so many harbingers of the horror to come! If we had only been paying attention and not trying to catch up with each other and enjoy our birthday celebration. Be ye not so unwise, dear readers!

And then the food came.

And it was not pretty. I should say that the pizzas were not pretty. In fact, they looked barely baked, save for some char on the crust rim. The cheese was just to the other side of melted. You could still see the outlines of the shredding in some spots. Not gooey. Not bubbly. The salad was bright and had some nice pops of color. Jud and I were both immediately jealous of Allison (as if we weren’t already! Have you seen her stuff?).

And then we started eating. I know this guy, doesn’t agree, but it was awful. I believe my exact words were “I wish I was eating a Totino’s Party Pizza. I would be $9 richer and it would taste better.” The meat wasn’t high quality. The cheese was nothing of note. And the crust was bland, rubbery and flaccid. Jud’s pizza was no better. The thai peanut sauce tasted exactly like Kraft’s Asian Sesame Ginger sauce (which is pretty awesome on a salad at home, but less so on a pizza). The vegetables weren’t especially cooked. They clearly needed to spend more time in a ridiculously hot oven. The cheese and crust were just like mine.

Meanwhile, over in awesome land, Allison was not too unhappy with her salad. She munched. We all talked. Jud and I choked down our pizzas because we were STARVING. And then, IT HAPPENED. There was a terrible noise, like grinding and enamel and rocks. Why? Oh, because THERE WAS A ROCK IN ALLISON’S SALAD. Not like a little pebble or something. A rock. A rock that had been hiding in some lettuce and that she bit into multiple pieces. How large? Here you go. We photographed it.

Salad Rock - Post-Bite

After she had a moment to catch her breath and pick the rock shards from her mouth, Allison went to the restroom to inspect the damage. We asked to see a manager. When he came over, we explained what happened and he said “Well, lettuce grows in the ground so these things happen.” And then, as Jud as my witness, the dude Kanye shrugged. As if to say “Whatev!” “Not my problem!” “Lettuce can be rocky!”. And then he was all “do you want another salad?”

Let’s see? Another salad that you most likely have also poorly washed? NOPE! We’re good, sir!

Jud said “You know, water comes from the faucet and you should wash your produce.”

Another Shrug. “Do you want your money back,” asked Shruggy McShruggerton.

“This isn’t about the money,” I said. And it isn’t. It still isn’t. It’s about proper food preparation. It’s about public trust. It’s about taking responsibility and owning the fact that someone was INJURED eating the salad for which your name should be vouching.

Then he picked up the largest piece of rock and walked away.

Allison returned. We walked out and over to Red Mango where all of our hopes and dreams for humanity were restored.

Verdict: Eat at your own risk, Dan. I bet the rest of you are with me. Any place that wants to pride themselves on what goes into their food (hence the name ‘Ingredient’ I suppose) ought to start off with something great, make sure it is prepared properly and serve it with class. They missed the mark on every level and we will be using our own ingredients from here on out.

3 Comments

  1. Bahahah! Laughed out loud at the Schruggy McSchruggerton line….so ridiculous I can hardly believe this was your experience!! Take it from us who personally grow our lettuce in the ground…you CAN get all of the rocks out…it just takes a little attention! Good review Kim…can’t wait to read more!

  2. so glad i read this!! i have always wanted to try this place…..not anymore.
    guess i’ll stick to Red Mango too! (and maybe Ruby Tuesday on the other corner!)

  3. First off, thanks for mentioning my website!

    Second, oh my goodness, what a meal.

    Those menus hurt my neck too, and we were corralled in there so you couldn’t step back to take it in. And you are deciding while being shoved along with the line… high pressure! And they are using the metric system to fool people with those carafes. .5 liters is 16 OUNCES. That is a pint glass, filled with ice, and topped off with weak drink, to “share” for $15. Sorry, no one shares that. Hectic and overpriced. That rock (and poor, unapologetic service) did me in emotionally, but my tooth seems to be okay… Red Mango was tasty and didn’t have any rocks. Thanks, Red Mango!

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