**Editor’s Note: This feature was brought to you by our newest contributor Vera Lynn Petersen, #SupportLocal advocate and founder of The Omaha Foodie Club. Look for more of Vera’s work here and on her Instagram @VeraLynnPetersen
Omaha’s beloved vegan restaurant, Modern Love, debuted their new location in Midtown Crossing at 3157 Farnam Street on September 21, 2018. As much as one would like to reminisce about the former location being a spot to host memories for special anniversaries and get-togethers, their fresh new dining room cannot be beat.
Picture the once-cramped dining space, tripled in size, giving each guest more than enough elbow room, along with a new glittering bar, fresh painted murals, and a panoramic view of Turner Park and downtown. Owner and Executive Chef, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, shared that her favorite parts of the new dining atmosphere would be the soaring two story ceilings with full height windows. During opening day, she said, “Last night it was raining, and it was so beautiful with the lightening and all of the light reflecting in the raindrops. It’s like we have constant ever-changing scenery.”
In the comfort of the main dining room, you may start to imagine that you are sitting on a rustic front porch with the surrounding view of the world and the string of lights hung back and forth across the ceiling, all while experiencing the pleasure of a formal dining room with its glamorous table settings, soft velvet seating, and rich pops of color.
One of the most curious questions asked was in regard to having a bigger kitchen. Would there be better opportunity for new dishes to be served? Of course, the enchanting Isa had our answer. She stated, “We are able to bring in more creative, slightly fancy vegetable plates, like the Smoked Potatoes Romesco and the Roasted Delicata Squash with house-made butter. On the other side of the spectrum, we are able to add healthier, but really filling, flavorful menu items, like the Tempeh Tahini Bowl, which is a perfect every day sort of dinner.” She expressed that although her restaurant is perfect for an anniversary or a third date, she would love for everyone to feel comfortable to visit any day of the week to enjoy her every day dishes.
On my visit during one of the soft opening nights, my table started off the night with glasses of spiced apple Kombucha and cherry sodas full of fascinating flavors that made us shout, “I taste the cinnamon!” and, “Do you get a hint of lemon?” The bubbling drinks were a perfect resemblance of the bubbly atmosphere we were shown by our enlightening server and the smiles on all the guests’ faces.
Although I had already enjoyed a few of Modern Love’s delicious dishes during previous visits, I was intrigued by the idea of vegan fried mozzarella. It is officially my favorite menu item, and I would be surprised if I visited Modern Love without ordering these heavenly bites of bliss. The breading had the perfect crisp to it, so perfect that when I dug my fork into its shell, I could hear it crackle above all the noise of the restaurant. After diving in, the cashew mozzarella held its shape while lightly oozing like the gooey dairy mozzarella we all know. The texture was a little softer and lighter than typical mozzarella, but the flavor was on point. My table agreed that we loved the taste of these cashew cheese morsels better than the “real deal” and eating regular mozzarella sticks may never be the same.
Any fan of the restaurant would proclaim to you that every entree is delectable, but after my visit, I am intrigued by the idea of sitting at the bar, ordering 3-4 appetizers and munching the night away. In particular, I plan on ordering the Seitan Buffalo Wings, Brussels Aioli, and a chocolate malt because every one of these plates that walked by made me practically drool on the table. Isa knows how to find the right textures and flavors to replicate many traditional American dishes, and I hope more meat-lovers of Omaha will be willing to try something as enticing as her Seitan Beet Ruben.
When asked about the ease of transition between locations, Isa responded, “It was very natural. The space is very similar to my Brooklyn restaurant in lots of ways, so it is eerily familiar! I loved picking out the fabrics for the banquet, and getting to be business partners with my best friend, James Walmsley, is a dream come true. Our head chef, Julie, is just a joy to work with, and so dedicated and hardworking. All the food is coming out great! Of course there is stress, but we have such a great team in place, there is nothing we can’t handle.”
With their courageous leader in charge, I am a believer in the absolute success of Modern Love’s new adventure, continuing to steal the foodie hearts of Omaha vegans and meat-eaters alike.