When I started to get loads of emails inviting me to wine dinners at Omaha restaurants, I was intrigued. I had questions: Why so expensive? (Most are $65 a person, minimum.) What happens at them? And who goes? Well-traveled oenophiles? People looking to do something new? People like me?
It turns out to be pretty simple: They all go, because shelling out some cash to attend one of these dinners seems to be the best way to learn about wine and eat some incredible food while you do.
These curated wine dinners are not for kids. The fine food and fine wine, though, make them a great escape for mom and dad on a special occasion or just for something out of the ordinary on a random Tuesday night.
We attended one at the Boiler Room downtown which was $95 a person, though some cost less. The Boiler Room plays host to wine dinners on a regular basis, as do Dante Pizzeria Napoletana and Twisted Cork Bistro.
Nick Strawhecker, chef at Dante Pizzeria Napoletana, said his restaurant’s wine dinners cost anywhere from $45 to $90 a person.
“These are wines you’re not going to taste anywhere else,” he said. “And the dinners allow chefs to cook food they’re not going to be making otherwise. Wine is meant to be enjoyed with other people and with food. That’s what happens at the dinner.”
Most Omaha restaurants play host to wine dinners on a monthly or every other month basis. In January, Dante Pizzeria Napoletana will have a wine dinner focused on the northeast region of Veneto, around Venice. The wine will include sparkling whites and what owner and chef Nick Strawhecker described as “robust” Amarone, which is a rich Italian dry red wine.
The dinner takes place Monday, Jan. 16 and reservations are required. For more information, call the restaurant at 402-932-3078.
--World-Herald staff writer Sarah Baker Hansen