The first progressive dinner I attended was a more traditional one. Five different courses were served, each one at a different house, prepared by a different homeowner.

It was a lot of fun but since that time I had been wondering if there might be a contemporary spin I could put on the progressive dinner concept.

Then one day I thought, “Why couldn’t I invite some friends to join my husband and me on a three-course progressive dinner in a specific section of Omaha that had several restaurants located near one another?” So that’s what I did.

There are so many options from Dundee to the Old Market, but our foursome settled on Midtown. We would do Crave for appetizers, Black Oak Grill for dinner and Delice for dessert. The order was decided on based upon each eatery’s perceived strengths.

The first big benefit of attending a progressive dinner is you get to choose the place with the strongest entrees for dinner, the best appetizers and so on.

Appetizers: Crave

We started off at Crave. Though I allotted an hour and 15 minutes, 90 minutes would have been optimal as service was leisurely. I won’t say it was slow because I think our server was trying to give us time to explore the menu. We ordered four appetizers among us: Edamame Cream Cheese Wontons, Spicy Salmon Rolls, Lemon Garlic Chicken Wings and Guacamole with chips. Everything was delicious and we each finished our appetizers.

Be forewarned that the chicken wings were full-sized wings, not the drummies one might expect to get at the local sports bar. I loved the guacamole. It was smooth, lightly chunky and flavorful.

Main Course: Black Oak Grill

After finishing our drinks and paying the bill at Crave, we headed next door to Black Oak Grill for dinner.

Entrée highlights included a meatloaf that came shaped like meatballs. The pieces were tender, had a lot of spice and light tomato flavor. My friend said she would totally order it again. Her husband ordered the ribeye steak which came with garlic mashed potatoes and broccoli. He said the ribeye was good, not too big and not too small. The potatoes were fantastic.

My husband had the sirloin which he said was “perfectly prepped and cooked with a nice sear on the outside but juicy on the inside.” He also got the potatoes and broccoli sides.

Dinner took about 90 minutes which is about what I had figured. We were spot on there. With our bellies almost totally full (almost), we headed to dessert. The four of us crossed the street and headed to Delice for a sweet ending to a fun evening.

Dessert: Delice

We opted to take our treats outside to the patio where we could enjoy quiet conversation and a pleasant evening breeze.

I had a deliciously rich German Chocolate Cake. My husband had the Lemon Pistachio Torte, which he said wasn’t super lemony but was light and tasty.

My friend enjoyed the lime mousse torte. She said she was “pleased with the shortbread cookie crust.” It was not super tangy and was the perfect dessert for a summertime evening. Her husband finished his meal with a citrus poppy seed cake, which he described as more “savory than sweet with a lovely poppy seed crunch.”

Linger without guilt

We all agreed we loved the idea of doing a progressive dinner together. We talked for a while over dessert and agreed that a big benefit of eating different courses at different places means you can linger a bit over your food without feeling guilty about hanging out because within 90 minutes, you are changing locations and freeing up the table.

And doing the progressive meal in one location of town means parking only once, something all of us really appreciated.

At the end of the evening my husband suggested you could even do variations on the theme, not just by trying different areas of town but also by starting with dessert. Now that’s progressive!

Subscribe to The Reader Newsletter

Our awesome email newsletter briefing tells you everything you need to know about what’s going on in Omaha. Delivered to your inbox every day at 11:00am.

Become a Supporting Member

Subscribe to and become a supporting member to keep locally owned news alive. We need to pay writers, so you can read even more. We won’t waste your time, our news will focus, as it always has, on the stories other media miss and a cultural community — from arts to foods to local independent business — that defines us. Please support your locally-owned news media by becoming a member today.

Leave a comment