If you think only pizza at Dante Ristorante Pizzeria, then you’re selling yourself short. Up until our last visit, we apparently sold ourselves short. Our first few visits to the west Omaha restaurant consisted of Dante’s Neapolitan pizza. Dante has been selected as Omaha’s best pizza since opening its doors in 2014. As for the rest of the menu, we learned quickly that we need to expand out taste bud horizons.
We were among Omaha-area bloggers invited to sample Dante’s spring menu. Man, are we happy we accepted the invitation. We sampled a four-course meal, complemented with a selection of excellent wines.
The antipasti (appetizers) consisted of items, ranging from a spring sunchoke soup to flatbread featuring prosciutto, arugula and buffalo mozzarella cheese. My favorite antipasti selection was a flax cracker crostini with raspberry and 12-month capollo. The flavors of the meat and the cracker were impressive.
What surprised (nay, shocked) Lisa was that I actually tried artichoke…and liked it. I have not liked the taste of artichoke until our visit to Dante’s. Chef Nick Strawhecker created a dish that even an anti-artichokist like me would like – fried artichoke with crème fraiche, bottarga and dill. The dish looked as beautiful as it tasted. Since we were eating family style with other bloggers, I’m not sure anyone else noticed (or cared) that I took a few more pieces of the dish as we dined.
Our first entrée was truly tasty. Beet tortellini and first of the year arugula. The small beet balls fit snugly in the handmade tortellini pasta pockets. The samples were delicious. I could have eaten a large bowl of the beet tortellini.
The second entrée was a delicious wagyu beef with a sweet potato square. I was in awe of how thinly the kitchen staff sliced each sweet potato layer.
Our meal was topped with a dessert serving of butterscotch budino with sea salt and caramel topping. It was served with a Nebraska pecan biscotti. The dish was rich and savory. It was an outstanding conclusion to a great tasting session.
Each course was complemented with an impressive selection of wines by sommelier Adam Weber. Weber – who is also Dante’s general manager – shared a bottle of wine he received as a gift from friends in Italy. He mentioned that we could be the first people in the United States to try the wine. The Elfo Bianco was a white wine from the Piedmont region in Italy. It had a nice wet and sweet taste to it. I’m not a wine expert, but I am a white wine fan, dating back to my military days in the Rhein region of Germany.
Other wines shared during the tasting included a spumante, chardonnay and a dessert Bianco.
During our visit, we checked out the wood-burning oven. Neapolitan pizzas are made in this type of oven, with the temperature at about 800 degrees Fahrenheit. Chef Nick said it takes about 90 seconds to cook a handmade pizza.
In order to be certified Neapolitan by a Naples, Italy, organization, restaurants must meet certain requirements. They include: dough must be made from special flour, sauce must come from San Marzano tomatoes (originally grown near the base of Mount Vesuvius), buffalo mozzarella cheese and cooked in a wood-fired oven.
While the pizza is amazing at Dante’s, we learned that the rest of the menu is just as good. Next time we visit, I may have to order off the non-pizza side of the menu. Either way, the food will be delicious. Check out Dante for yourself. Take a look at its menu and other information here.