Stirnella: Serving Elegance and Classic Cuisine

Blackstone District gastropub wows from dishes to decor

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Stirnella: Serving Elegance and Classic Cuisine

Photo by Hope Stratman

Photo by Hope Stratman

Photo by Hope Stratman

Hope Stratman, Features Editor

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Stirnella, a gastropub located in the Blackstone District of downtown Omaha, has gained acclaim for its classy vibe and excellent food since its opening in February. In a district full of bars and more casual eateries, the restaurant has filled the need for a high-class joint.

Having derived its name from the genus of Nebraska’s state bird, the restaurant claims that its goal is “to create and continue to evolve, while staying true to our Nebraska roots.” Accordingly, the gastropub has incorporated the Meadowlark into its branding and decor.

Upon entering the restaurant, I was first struck by its loneliness. I came around lunchtime on a Sunday, and only a few groups of diners were dispersed among Stirnella’s fairly spacious interior. But upon being seated at a table, I began examining the restaurant’s atmosphere and decor, which I immediately liked: low, yellow lighting illuminated dark wooden chairs and tables, each set elegantly with cutlery and a glass. Energetic instrumental music, loud but not overbearing, wafted from ceiling speakers. The whole restaurant was themed in black, yellow, green, and brown.

Photo by Hope Stratman
A section of Stirnella’s interior

Stirnella has separate lunch and dinner menus, both featuring a variety of foods from shrimp toast to beef tartare. However, the lunch menu consists largely of sandwiches and burgers, with a few exceptions, while the dinner menu expands to include a wider variety of gastropub dishes, such as lamb loin and cappelletti. The prices were a little hefty, but, for the type and quality of the food, they were fairly reasonable.

For my meal, I chose the ricotta ravioli – a dish included in both the lunch and dinner menus – with a side salad.

My salad arrived first. When it was placed before me, I was pleasantly surprised at both the presentation, and, once I dug in, the eating experience. The salad’s lettuce was fresh and crisp, accented with roasted cherry tomatoes, carrots, and onion. I’m not a fan of tomatoes, so that aspect of the salad wasn’t the pleasantest for me; however, they were prepared well, and your average tomato-lover would enjoy them. A citrus vinaigrette dressing, which had a pleasant tang and was well-distributed without being overwhelming, topped it all of.

Stirnella’s side salad

The salad was unique both in look and taste; it was clear that it had been crafted with intention, and that its individual elements were carefully assembled to create an appealing whole.

Not soon after my empty salad dish had been cleared from my table, the ricotta ravioli appeared, looking different from what I had expected. The dish was a smaller quantity than I had anticipated, and I couldn’t see the raviolis at first; upon investigating, I found that they were hidden under the sauce.

Ricotta ravioli, topped with delicious sauce

So yes, I began eating with a fair amount of suspicion. However, my fears were soon overcome by the excellence of the dish. It’s hard to make raviolis unique – although Stirnella’s raviolis’ cheese was creamy and their skin was supple – but the sauce was what really made the dish. It wasn’t your average marinara; with chopped bits of olives and tomatoes, herbs, and a savory yet tangy flavor, it paired with the ravioli beautifully.

Overall, I have nearly only praise for Stirnella. I was thoroughly impressed with everything from the food to the vibe to the organization of the menu. I will definitely be back for more.

Hope Stratman - Features Editor

Hope became a member of The Flightline in August of 2016. She is a senior this year involved in activities including Speech and FBLA. Outside of school, she enjoys lists, photography, and naming inanimate objects. You can email her at [email protected]