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I recently took my first solo flight to Omaha, Nebraska to speak with a group of rheumatologists and their staff. The restaurant that hosted the private dinner was Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse on the west end of town in a fairly new open-air mall.

Now I have to admit a few things here: I am a California born and raised girl, I have never liked beef and I was freezing.

However, as soon as I walked in, the atmosphere was warm, welcoming, smelled wonderful, and a very gracious hostess escorted me back to the private dining room where my speech was to take place. From there, the waiters came over to ask me what I would like to drink. Having a food allergy, I asked them for suggestions on what would be the best entrees / side dishes offered to order. They told me they would be happy to make sure if I ordered the filet mignon, double cut stuffed pork chops, grilled salmon or angel hair with grilled chicken they would have the chef tailor the food to my needs . They also checked which appetizers were served and informed me which ones were “safe”.

Although I am more of a “vegetarian” person, all concerned told me I should try the grain steak and the pride of the region. Before the meal, I was able to try the smoked shrimp cocktail. The shrimp were quite tasty and plump and were served over dry ice (hence the smoked). I also tried the bruschetta with goat cheese and shrimp, it was pretty good too. The calamari looked wonderful, but sadly, and the cheese-filled bread wasn’t on my “can-dos” list.

Most of our group ordered the filet mignon. My order came without the cabernet sauce and I had garlic steamed broccoli instead of the garlic mashed potatoes, which was thankfully not overcooked. The filet was quite tasty and tender. One lady had the angel hair pasta with grilled chicken and fresh basil, which looked just as good.

I had to skip dessert, but the seasonal mint cheesecake or decadent chocolate lava cake made me wish I didn’t have food allergies to cow products.

The coffee was good, served hot and the size of the cups was perfect.

Would I go to Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse if I was in my own backyard? You gamble. Great food, great atmosphere and wonderful staff, what more could you ask for when dining out?

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