Top Five Memorable Morel Dishes of 2015

As evident in past FoodMeOmaha blog posts and social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter), I am an avid fan of morel mushrooms. I love it so much that I bought morels for a steep $40 a pound from these guys at the Omaha Farmer’s Market in Aksarben Village.

Nebraska Morels at the Omaha Farmer's Market in Aksarben Village

Nebraska Morels at the Omaha Farmer’s Market in Aksarben Village

My morel mushroom madness is justified! Here are my top five memorable morel dishes of 2015 from great to greatest:

#5: Block 16’s Morel Philly Royale Special

Morel Philly Royale Special at Block 16

Morel Philly Royale Special at Block 16

My man, Brian, emailed me, “Did you see Block 16‘s lunch special?!?!” I immediately went to Block 16’s Facebook page and saw the above and read “Morel Philly Royale today! Shaved steak, provolone, grilled onion, truffle aioli and local MORELS on a sourdough roll. Won’t last long, get down here!!!

My reaction: Think Homer Simpson’s head tilted, eyes rolled back, mouth agape, tongue out, and drooling. Since I work out west and couldn’t make it, Brian saved the day and got me one to-go! I was lucky. They ran out of their special soon after opening.

The re-heated version was satisfyingly good. I enjoy Block 16’s regular Philly sandwiches. It is even better with the morel mushrooms. The morels picked up the savory meat flavor. While I know the Morel Philly Royale was not at its prime freshly-made state, I was happy!

Block 16 on Urbanspoon

#4: My Man’s Butter-Sauteed Morel Mushrooms

Sauteed Morel Mushrooms

Butter-Sauteed Morel Mushrooms Made By Man

I adore the homemade butter-sauteed morel mushrooms made by Brian. See the FoodMeOmaha post, “Butter-Sauteed Morels Made by Man“. This dish is simple, yet, sooo goood!

On another occasion, Brian made this morel dish for close friends, Maude and Joen Moreno. The Morenos were delighted and we were delighted to share the food experience with them.

Maude: “On my first bite, the texture, the oily moisture, how it just melted in my mouth… It was like wanting to delay my chewing just so this piece of heaven does not disappear down my throat. I wanted to savor every bit of it! So good and so unforgettable!”

Food is even better when shared with peeps we care about!

#3: Lot 2’s Bone Marrow and Morel Mushrooms

Bone Marrow and Morel Mushrooms at Lot 2

Bone Marrow and Morel Mushrooms Special at Lot 2

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Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar has my favorite bone marrow in town. Therefore, when I discovered Lot 2 had bone marrow AND MORELS, I had another Homer Simpson drooling moment on repeat. The roasted bone marrow is divine, indulgent goodness elevated to new heights with the morel mushrooms. The morels were sauteed in a lovely sauce of shallots, garlic, thyme, lemon, white wine, butter, salt, and pepper.

The bone marrow and morels are a dynamic duo! Brian and I were either sighing, moaning, or pausing in silence over the bone marrow and morels. My taste buds thanked Chef Joel Mahr and staff of Lot 2!

Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

#2: Taita’s Morel Mushroom Nigiri

Morel Nigiri at Taita

Morel Mushroom Nigiri at Taita

Holy morel nigiri at Taita Restaurant! The morel mushroom is honored in this dish. The woodsy mushroom is the featured star accented by a dark salty and sweet sauce, scallions, and neutral, compact rice.

Chef/Owner Jose Dionicio of Taita: “We slightly marinated morel in soy and dashi, then proceed to grill them finish them off to brush them with a nikiri sauce which contains hints of sake, soy and more dashi.”

This finely executed nigiri is a marvelous, woodsy-pure bite!!!

#1: Taita’s Wagyu Beef and Morel Ragout

Wagyu Beef and Morel Mushrooms at Taita

Wagyu Beef and Morel Ragout at Taita

FoodMeOmaha and Brian are frequent visitors at Taita since this is our top favorite restaurant in town. On a recent visit, Brian and I ordered our usual $60 omakase per person for dinner. The omakase is a great food experience. Chef Jose creates a series of courses of his choosing including sushi, hot dishes, and dessert. Our omakase journey hit a pinnacle with the wagyu beef and morel ragout! I was an ecstatic school girl when I feasted my eyes on this glorious course!

The wagyu beef was a savory, melt-in-your-mouth, beautiful moment. The exquisite salt added the extra edge! Chef Jose explained that the morels is a take on a classical ragout. Sauteed onions, wine and a hint of soy were involve in the making of it. The morel mushrooms was an oh-my-freaking-amazing, woodsy love immersed in a velvety sauce with roasted garlic cloves… Oh yeah…

This dish was superbly executed and zealously enjoyed.

Taita on Urbanspoon

This concludes my morel mushroom madness for this year!

For a different perspective, here is Brian’s top five from great to greatest:

  • #5 Block 16’s Morel Philly Royale
  • #4: His’ Butter-Sauteed Morel Mushrooms
  • #3 Taita’s Morel Mushroom Nigiri
  • #2: Lot 2’s Bone Marrow and Morel Mushrooms
  • #1: Taita’s Wagyu Beef and Morel Ragout

FoodMeOmaha had several memorable morel mushroom dishes (including others not mentioned) in 2015. Greedy MorelMeOmaha wants more morels! Next year, I foresee morel mushroom hunting in addition to the eating!


Morel Sightings at Omaha Restaurants

It’s morel mushroom season! I don’t know where all the morel gold mines are for the picking, BUT I do know the prized mushrooms are being served up at Omaha restaurants.

Below are Omaha restaurants that have morels! The morel sightings at Omaha restaurants were discovered via Facebook and confirmed via recent phone calls to the places. Be aware that they sell out fast and the season is up to mother nature!

801 Chophouse at the Paxton

801 Chophouse is one of my favorite steakhouses in town. I enjoy their prime rib, the great service, and ambiance including the view of the big gold bull statue, parts and all. They have morels to enjoy with your meat of choice. They sold out yesterday but fortunately they have a new batch for today.

801 Chophouse at the Paxton’s Morel Mushrooms

Chophouse 801 at the Paxton’s USDA Prime steak with this seasonal preparation: morel compound butter, grilled ramps, and sauteed morel mushrooms.

801 Chophouse on Urbanspoon

Block 16

Block 16 is a teeny restaurant in downtown Omaha. Daily they have a different morel mushroom special. Past specials include morel Philly, morel burger, morel hot beef, and creamy morel mushroom soup. According to Facebook, their morel dishes won’t stop until the season is over. I wonder what other morel dishes they will have.

(Note that they are open for dinner only on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and closed on Sunday.)

Block 16 black truffle PCF chicken salad panini wrap. Served with a bowl of creamy morel mushroom soup with crispy potatoes and sautéed morels.

Block 16 morel burger. House patty, oatmeal stout onions, morels, cheese and truffle steak sauce on a sesame bun.

Block 16 on Urbanspoon

The Grey Plume

Grey Plume’s Morel Mushrooms

The Grey Plume is a fine dining restaurant with fine food. The nice staff member I spoke with on the phone shared that they are receiving wonderful batches of morels. The morel dishes will vary day to day. Today they have “sauteed mushrooms with great texture and great profile.”

Check out the FoodMeOmaha story, “The Grey Plume’s National Rainier Cherry Day Dinner.” If TGP’s application of the morel mushrooms is as good as their rainier cherries, then you will not be disappointed!

The Grey Plume on Urbanspoon

J. Coco

J. Coco has morel mushrooms that can be added to any dish on the menu. The morels are made simply with sea salt and butter. I am salivating for all-star morels! Check out a past dining experience at J. Coco on the FoodMeOmaha story, “All-Star Dinner at J. Coco“.

5/15/2013 Update: I went to J. Coco today for an early dinner and they were out of morel mushrooms as of Monday according to the waiter! Tragedy. No forecasts on whether they will get more or not.

J. Coco’s Morel Mushrooms

J. Coco on Urbanspoon

Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar

Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar has morels as well! I got the inside scoop that they currently have 12 batch orders left. Lot 2 is serving morel mushrooms sautéed in white wine with garlic, shallots, and thyme for $12. Sounds yummy!

I know that there is a lot to love at Lot 2. Check out past FoodMeOmaha posts, “In Love with Lot 2” and “A Lot 2 Love at Lot 2“.

Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

These are all great restaurants in town that have morel mushrooms! Get ’em while they last! I know I will.

5/15/2013 Update: The Boiler Room Restaurant and Dante Ristorante Pizzeria have morels too! Today, Boiler Room is featuring sauteed morels with their plum creek chicken entree. According to Facebook, Dante has “locally foraged morel & 600 day aged prosciutto pizza on the menu tonight (the prosciutto is aged for 600 days not the pizza just to be clear).”

Note I recommend calling the restaurants beforehand to make sure they still have morels available.