We made a loop on our road trip instead of a simple back and forth for one reason – Modern Love. It was a little out of our way to go through Omaha to get back to Iowa, but any added minutes were more than worth it for 3 courses in one of the country’s best vegan restaurants.
David and I had been to Modern Love one time before. We visited almost a year ago just before Isa Chandra Moskowitz opened it, and they had a test run with smaller portions of their menu. Everything in the 6-course tasting menu was phenomenal. I spent the evening wishing I could take a nap between courses to make room for more.
Even though we were passing through on a Wednesday, I made a reservation. The dining area is pretty small, and since we were only going to be there for a short window of time, better safe than sorry. The restaurant was full when we arrived, buzzing with customers even midweek.
Since our first visit, Modern Love has acquired a liquor license. They have a selection of cocktails along with wine and beer. David and I each ordered a glass of wine and leafed through the menu eagerly. At most restaurants, an entree alone is enough, but at Modern Love, we needed to do it all from appetizers through dessert.
We started with spinach pies, which were basically vegan spanakopita formed into sweet little triangles. The phyllo-crusted pies had a light crunch to them that gave way to a spinach and almond ricotta filling.
They were served on a bed of crunchy radicchio that was tossed with tzatziki. The salad underneath made the dish feel light and fresh.
For my main course, I chose pillowy gnocchi with garlic slices, broccolini, cherry tomatoes, and caramelized fennel with pesto and a dollop of truffled almond ricotta.
The robust dish had complex and rich flavors. It was a generous portion, more than enough to save half for the next day.
David opted for the mac and shews, which was a favorite from last year. The creamy cashew-based mac and cheese (hence “shews”) was topped with barbecued cauliflower, braised kale, and crisp pecan crusted tofu.
Everything was universally delicious.
We finished the meal with coffee and a slice of raspberry cheesecake to share. The cheesecake had a snickerdoodle crust and was topped with lemon curd and coconut whip. This cheesecake was fabulous. So ridiculously good.
I’m thrilled that Modern Love is doing so well in Omaha with a packed rotation of guests all evening long, even on a Wednesday. It is NYC restaurant-quality in the middle of the heartland. The next time you fly over Nebraska, you should probably plan a 2-hour layover instead.