Restaurant Review: Timber Wood Fire Bistro

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Grant Rohan

At Omaha’s Timber Wood Fire Bistro, you’ll find a (literally) warm, welcoming environment perfect for a casual night out, a nicer family dinner, or the perfect spot for date night.

Located in the Countryside Village shopping area, Timber is just as cozy and inviting as the rest of its neighboring shops. The restaurant is a newer local business operated by Jared Clarke, its executive chef/owner. A Nebraska native, Clarke has shown his skills in the Omaha culinary scene as the former executive chef at Blue Sushi Sake Grill along with opening Railcar Modern American Kitchen in 2012. The renowned Omaha chef opened Timber as a way to create his own brand of wood-fired comfort food.

Walking into the restaurant, you are immediately greeted by a host, along with the warmth of the wood-fired ovens and the smell of roasting cedar and fresh bread. This immediate smell sets you at ease, making you feel as if you were sitting next to a warm hearth in the wintertime. The decor is another factor that adds to the experience and accents the overall tone of the restaurant.

The best way to describe Timber is that it is a combination of both rustic and modern architecture. Designed by Omaha’s own TRB Architecture, the dining room and bar area features a modern, industrial look with exposed metal accented by wooden furniture and floors. The recycled, aged barnwood and the paintings hanging on the walls evoke an almost country-French feel that works well with the red and grey color scheme. The many windows provide plenty of natural lighting, which during the daytime allows you to see the smaller details in the wooden furniture. Consequently, it provides the right atmosphere for a candlelit dinner date at night.

For an appetizer, the house-made focaccia bread ($2) is exceptional as it is baked daily in their wood-fired oven to be served with a flaky texture. It is served with locally whipped herb, and sea salt butter and California cold-pressed olive oil. The bread is toasted to perfection on the outside and remains perfectly chewy in the middle. Their other starters range from the more traditional truffle fries ($9)  and mussels from Maine ($14) to their exotic “Warm Board” of charcuterie ($15) and a baked ratatouille ($10).

The entrees are where Timber excels in presenting its wood-fired part of the business name. Timber offers a variety of wood-fired meats from steaks, fish, burgers, salads and sandwiches. I ordered one of the specialities, a wood fired French style pizza. I ordered the mushroom and fennel sausage pizza ($14), which came complete with shaved pecorino cheese, roasted garlic, onion, organic tomatoes and truffle oil. The pizza arrived in an oval flatbread shape with grated cheese blanketing the toppings cut into long strips easy to handle and eat. The toasted risen crust was similar to the focaccia in cripsiness, but remained chewy on the inside. The fresh baked bread and the toppings tasted fresh to make each taste stand out individually. The pizza had the perfect balance of sauce to toppings with the truffle oil accentuating the richness of the cheese and onions.

 My friend ordered the Wood-Baked Bucatini Mac ($19) which was a very large, filling dish served in a sizzling cast iron skillet. It featured a creamy house-made mozzarella cheese, prosciutto, fresh pesto and juicy wood-roasted chicken. The chicken tasted juicy and succulent, with a slight smokiness from the wood fire. The noodles were soft and chewy, while soaking in a sweet-tasting pool of molten mozzarella.

For dessert, we treated ourselves to several crispy doughnut holes bathed in a caramel sauce and served with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream ($5). The doughnut holes tasted sweet, but with a fried taste similar to a funnel cake. They did not taste greasy however, rather more crisp and crunchy. Timber’s seating may be limited during the dinner rush, but for a late dinner we were able to get right in. The total bill came out to $60.05 with tip, which is a little on the expensive side for students, but worth it for a nice dinner date. Overall the food is exceptional, along with the knowledgeable service and cozy atmosphere. For any Omaha citizen that hasn’t been to Timber, I would highly recommend it, as every fire-roasted item is worth it.

 

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