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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (July 29, 1999)
Caffe Amore fails to
live up to appearance
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By J.J. Harder
L’apparenza ingarma. Or for those
unfamiliar with the Italian language -
appearances can be deceptive. And for
Lincoln’s Finest Italian Ristorante (a
self-proclaimed moniker) the old
phrase definitely holds true.
Caffe Amore, 2901 Pine Lake Road,
looks simply fantastic. A cute emblem
for the restaurant greets the clientele
with puffy hearts and pink cursive writ
ing. Patio tables line the sidewalk for
Inside, the attractive young hostess
seats customers in a nicely-lit room
with quality furniture in deep colors.
Dean Martin is heard faintly, swooning
to his fitting classic, “That’s Amore.”
Once comfortable, the waiter brings the
bread to the table, and proceeds to pour
olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and grated
parmesan cheese onto a tray for dip
Caffe Amore seems to have all the
makings of a romantic evening for
Lincoln’s young lovers, and one can
only assume that the food would be
equal to, if not above this already splen
But let’s not let our assumptions get
the best of us.
The menu is like a little kid that
always exaggerates, puffing up all of his
neat toys. When it’s show and tell time,
he’s exposed to have nothing more than
a couple of broken He-Man figures.
Caffe Amore lists dish after elegant
dish, but most entrees weren’t too far
removed from my kitchen stove. For
example, the Meatball Sub was messy
and undercooked, and bland tasting at
that The rest of the sandwiches are not
that much different, except that Amore
substituted a chicken patty from the
nearby freezer. As for the pasta salad
that accompanies the sandwiches, you
may be feeling deja vu and accidentally
think it’s from the Hy Vee Deli.
Amore really does itself in when it
offers up it’s Chicago Style Pizza. Just
because they make the dough a little
thicker does certify the pizza Chicago
Style. Sure, it is deep dish, and it may be
the closest thing Lincoln has to the
Windy City’s pie, but Amore has noth
ing on Geno’s East or any other
The pizza sauce, as well as the
pasta’s marinara sauce, is just plain
weak. I can visualize the cook emptying
the huge can of wholesale pasta stock
into the pot. There it sits, lacking the
kick of perfect flavor that every good
sauce should have.
The food is what I would expect
from a restaurant that charges $5-10 a
meal. But Amoves $10-20 entrees talk
the talk without walking the Italian
walk - by doing something really fan
tastic with the pasta basics.
If Amore’s owners want to see true
fme Italian dining, they should make a
trip to St. Louis and wait in line at
Cunetto’s. And if Nebraskans \yant aq
expensive Italian meal that’s worth it -
try Pane e Vino on West O or Lo Sole
Mio in Omaha.
If not, che sera, sera.
Mid-East Restaurant serves
authentic food in simple setting
Do a cash register, a pop machine
and a stove equal a restaurant?
Normally, no. But for a few Iraqi entre
preneurs, that’s more than enough for
their own small business.
Mid-East Restaurant, 23rd & R
streets, brings a no frills style of food
service just a few blocks from City
Campus. Mid-East adds to Lincoln’s
growing number of authentic ethnic
restaurants, especially those of the
Middle Eastern persuasion.
It’s much like the nearby Arabic
Restaurant and southeast Lincoln’s
Jerusalem Cuisine, cooking up Middle
Eastern classics from the owners’ own
Mid-bast doesn t look like much
from the outside, located in half of a
small, shoddy building with a paper
“Open” sign in the window. Inside, it
isn’t exactly glorious, either - the decor
consisting of old blue carpet and a few
mirrored wall hangings.
But atmosphere isn’t what you’re
paying for here. And only takeout is
available, so you won’t have to hang
around to enjoy the ambiance. It’s the
authenticity of the food that gives this
place its great character.
The menu is small, but chances are
most of the items are new to you. Sure,
there’s falafel and gyros for the rookies
and unadventurous. But if you want to
actually try some food that isn’t
Americanized at all, then you’re in for a
Kuba, rice stuffing filled with meat,
is seasoned just right. It’s like eating the
Iraqi version of a Runza with some real
spice. And for the good Nebraskan,
there’s Shish Kabob - grilled steak and
vegetables. My favorite is tikka, perfect
ly seasoned ground lamb. If you can’t
decide what to try, go for the $6 combi
Everything else on the menu is
priced at $4.25 or less, so this dining
experience won’t break the bank. And
each dish comes with bread that rivals
the Oven’s. ^
Don’t be surprised if there aren’t too
many Americans around, because right
now Mid-East is mostly known in the
Iraqi community. But venturing into the
world of true ethnic food is worth it.
Stop by Mid-East Restaurant and catch
a glimpse of the world outside of UNL.
But don’t worry, you won’t get
homesick too fast - they only offer V
Any amount that you leave in
your will or trust to the American
Cancer Society brings us closer to
a cure. To learn more, call our
24-hour information line.
'proym.JJ • /4>u w*>rs.
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