Dear Dine

In an effort to help elevate the Nebraska Dining experience, we answer the questions you’ve always wanted to ask while dining out.

Dear Dine,

I want to venture out and try new types of fish, but I don’t know where to start. Do you have any advice? – Sammy J. 

Dear Sammy,

Brian Leimbach, manager of Absolutely Fresh Seafood Market, said his team  answers this question daily. He shared, ‘What does it taste like? Does it taste fishy?’ is where the comparison game comes into play. Obviously, the answer to, ‘What does swordfish taste like?’ is swordfish, but if you can give the customer a frame of reference with texture ‘firm, steak-like’ and another fish they may have tried such as ‘in the same family as Opah or Ono’ that usually is enough for them to take the plunge and deviate from their usual rectanglular piece of skinless salmon. Another etiquette issue we run into is people upset that we don’t have a particular item they are looking for. Many popular fish are seasonal, and we believe in playing by the rules as far as buying from reputable and sustainable suppliers. Season durations change every year, and just because it was here once in October, doesn’t mean it will be here this October.”

Dear Dine,

I love going out with friends, but can no longer drink alcohol. What would be the proper etiquette for ordering a mocktail? – Jillian C.

Dear Jillian,

It may feel intimidating to ask for a mocktail, however, most bartenders are familiar with how to adapt a drink to suit you. Megan Malone, a managing partner at Tiny House Bar, said, “‘Sure, no problem!’ is the short answer to anyone who is looking for a nonalcoholic drink. Clearly, some recipes, like a martini, are traditionally 100% alcohol and would not adapt well, but plenty of others will. Think of cocktails as a lot like fancy sodas, and pick a style you’d like to try such as fruity, spicy, or sour. With hot drink season upon us, it brings along plenty of tea, cocoa, coffee, and ciders too. There are all sorts of reasons people choose not to drink; mocktails are increasingly popular. So don’t be shy, be clear about your likes and dislikes, and have fun!”

Dear Dine,

Why does malt vinegar come with orders of fish and chips?
– Matt W.

Dear Matt,

Isaiah Renner, co-owner of Dire Lion Grille & Chippy food truck, answered this one. He stated, “I think it’s proper, and most Brits would likely agree that malt vinegar is the only condiment needed for fish and chips. At the Dire Lion, we recommend squeezing copious amounts of malt vinegar on our fried fish right when they’re fresh out of the fryer and enjoying them hot. However, after three years of Omahans requesting tartar sauce, we finally caved and created a house-made tartar that’s available by request only (we sneak a little malt vinegar into it). Our fish comes with a side of chips (thick-cut fries, not potato chips) covered in curry-garlic seasoning, which is not necessarily traditional, but we think it’s tasty! This idea originated via the recognition of a strong Indian influence in British Cuisine.”

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