Hiro 88 is a Pan-Asian restaurant with locations in Omaha and Lincoln NE. The delicious food and knowledgeable staff will make this one of your favorite destinations.
OSU football had a bye week in October, so I decided to visit friends in Nebraska. My friend Dave was the interim Athletic Director, and I hadn’t seen my friend Peg in years. I had only ever been to Nebraska one other time, in 2007, for a football game. Since beginning the blog I take every road trip as an opportunity to discover new restaurants, so I enjoyed breakfast on Thursday morning at HomeGrown in Wichita, and breakfast Friday morning at Ginger Sue’s in Liberty, MO.
I had most of Friday to myself, and had no need to be in Lincoln before early evening, so I decided to spend the afternoon in Omaha. Unfortunately Mother Nature didn’t get the message…it rained almost the whole drive from Liberty to Omaha, it was chilly overcast when I arrived, and about 30 minutes after I arrived the skies opened.
Omaha is home to the College World Series. When OSU made it in 2016 for the first time 1999, I had great plans to go. Long story short I stayed home, and justified that they would for sure be back the next year…nope. And they didn’t make it back last year either. I definitely won’t make that mistake again. Life is too short!
I was so disappointed about the weather, because I really wanted to explore the area. Old Market is the Arts & Entertainment District of downtown Omaha, home to restaurants, retail, and housing.
Once the rain really started, I decided that was my cue to find a place for lunch. I always research places to eat before any trip. Many times I stick with my plan, but I also know that one of 3 things will likely happen
- When the time comes, I lose all inspiration in my choice
- I see another place I would rather visit
- I suck at directions, and my choice isn’t anywhere near where I am
The options I chose weren’t within a close enough walking distance in the rain, and then I couldn’t make any decision at all. After some back and forth, and a few recommendations from my friend Peg, I finally decided on Hiro 88.
Hiro 88 is a Pan-Asian restaurant group locations in Old Town, West Omaha, and now in Lincoln as well. The Old Town location has a very modern look, with floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides. As you enter the restaurant, there is seating on both sides of the host stand. To the right is the more casual, daytime seating area, plus a large bar section. To the left is more evening-type seating, with fancier tables and chairs, plus a semi-private dining space at the far end of the space.
Hiro 88 offers a variety of menus, including lunch, dinner, mid-day happy hour (3-6pm), reverse happy hour (10pm-12am), and sushi. Hiro 88 also has a large drink menu, including cocktails, sake, premium sake, Jinmai Daiginjo, and a lot of wines. I still had to drive to Lincoln in the rain, so I stuck with caffeine.
Both the lunch menu and the sushi menu are large, and I don’t do well with big menus. I loved my server. He was super friendly, and I never felt rushed, even when I took my time to make decisions. He was also very helpful, knowledgeable and extremely honest when I asked questions. I find that sometimes servers hesitate to give blunt opinions, but I like it when they do. He said that 70% of lunch guests order the Bento box, which is the best deal because it includes full-sized rolls. Every other restaurant where I’ve ordered the Bento box, you get a maximum of 2-4 pieces of sushi.
All Bento boxes include soup or salad to start. I chose the salad, and requested both dressings (carrot ginger and toasted sesame) on the side
Both dressings are so delicious. I have to admit, the texture of the carrot ginger dressing reminds me of baby food, but it has a wonderful flavor and an unexpected kick of spice. I don’t care for sesame oil because it’s way too strong for me. However, the sesame ginger dressing is quite mild, and when mixed with the carrot ginger dressing, the mix has a really good flavor.
I chose the 3-item Bento box, so I could try a variety of items. I chose the Teriyaki Beef (because my server recommended it over the chicken), Sweet Chili Crab Roll, and Spicy California Roll
My server was right; the beef is excellent. The meat is very tender and flavorful. Some teriyaki sauces are too sweet, but this is one of the best I’ve had. I ate about half the rice just so that I could enjoy more of the sauce. The Sweet Chili Crab Roll won out over the Spicy California Roll, but just slightly. The sweet chili sauce adds a subtle sweetness to the roll without overpowering it. The spicy mayo adds a nice kick to Spicy California Roll, but again is not overpowering.
I will definitely go back to Omaha. I would love to spend a weekend, to get the full experience and explore more of the city. And I’m also definitely going to visit Hiro 88 again.