Here's a good place to eat lunch - or dinner, for that matter - in Omaha. Jams on West Dodge (see map) is fusion food at it's finest. Chef Mark Hoch can't make up his mind if he wants to be a Pacific Rim/Pan Asian restaurant, or a trendy Southwestern restaurant. The menu is very eclectic and would work well in much larger cities.
The great thing about it, whatever Hoch tries to do he does a great job of it.
Jams' official title is "Jams - An American Grill". It's located in a strip mall and from the outside you can think, "We're going to eat in here?" But the decor is very trendy and somewhat upscale. It's a little small in there, so you can expect a little bit of a wait during the noon hour and during early evenings. The waiters and waitresses are all young and hip, very helpful and very friendly.
I used to come to Omaha quite a bit, up until I started my new job. Jams was one of my favorite places to bring people for lunch or dinner. I used to have a lot of regional and national sales managers that would come into Omaha and have meetings at Nebraska Furniture Mart. I would take a lot of them to Jams for lunch. All were blown away at how great the food was.
Jams does seafood very well - they do a citrus salmon that is one of my favorites. But I'm partial to the beef chile enchiladas. Steak strips with green chile and smoky chipotle sauce in a soft shell smothered with jack cheese. It's a fabulous dish.
In fact, that's what I had when I had lunch when I was in there recently during a trip to Omaha. I had a lunch date with a former dealer who I'm trying to woo for business and we met at Jams for a bite to eat. My guest had never eaten there, but had driven by the place a million times.
Jams also has good sandwiches. One of the better ones is their albacore tuna melt. It's big and almost too much for lunch. That's what my guest got on my recommendation. He could hardly finish one half of the sandwich and had them box up the second half.
Jams dinner specials change nightly. The last time I had dinner there they had a wonderful beef tenderloin marinated in sake and garlic. It was just killer.
Jams has a full bar and an adequate wine list, although I feel that their prices are high. Martini's are their specialty as the bar becomes kind of a younger middle-aged location later in the evening.
The place can fill up quickly at lunch and it can be packed in the evening. Be prepared to have a wait if you get there during the noon hour and between 7 and 8 p.m. But if you have the time, the wait is worth it.
Jams can be a little pricey so it's a good place to use the expense account when you're entertaining. But I think it's one of the finest restaurants in Omaha. It's definitely one of my favorites.