7M Grill mixes a variety of styles into what it calls ‘comfort fusion’ Chef Aron Mackevicius of 7M Grill delights in creating playful dishes from unlikely culinary bedfellows. He’ll take a spicy ghost chili and marry it with sweet coconut. In another dish, he’ll mingle ginger with yellow squash.
Since 2010, Mackevicius has honed 7M’s offerings of comfort fusion dishes. The chef samples cuisines and flavors to create signature items, like the Caribbean chicken and fish taco entrees. The play continues with rotating seasonal dishes, like the jerk mahimahi and horseradish ancho ribeye.
7M patrons get to see recipe development firsthand at 7M’s popular Wednesday@1 series. Each week, customers are the judges as chefs present candidates for the restaurant’s weekly specials. After trying the dishes, the public shares with the chefs their likes and dislikes on presentation, taste and creativity. The chefs then have the opportunity to rework the dish to make it a standout.
Not all concoctions get the thumbs up. Peanut butter gnocchi, peanut butter chili chicken, and a
peanut butter and jelly Frenchie with pork all received lukewarm receptions, Mackevicius recalls.
But peanut butter risotto? That worked.
The interactive sessions drive much of the menu changes. While a halfdozen dishes stay on the
menu yearround, most of it changes to reflect seasonal ingredients and palates. Dishes that make
the cut represent the best among hundreds of Wednesday@1 specials and often feature curiously
matched ingredients. Take the winter menu’s Thai chicken ravioli, a surprising fusion of Thai and
Italian inspiration. Spinach ricotta ravioli is covered in a creamy, sweet chili Alfredo sauce and
paired with chicken in a peanut sauce alongside tangy pickled jalapeño and carrots. Like many
7M offerings, “all these random ingredients come together and work,” Mackevicius said.
The evolving menu and weekly specials create excitement among 7M’s customer base, owner
George Jacobs said. A weekly wine, beer and spirits menu, curated by manager Robyn Davis,
accompanies the changing list of specials.
Mackevicius grew up in the food industry. His family founded and operated Omaha’s
Lithuanian Bakery, and its signature torte is on the dessert menu. His passion for food was
launched in college, back when he needed a job and a hotel chef took him under his wing.
As Mackevicius creates a dish, he draws upon his 14 years of experience at various Omaha
restaurants. But much of his vision is straight from the imagination. “It’s flavors and
combinations that on paper don’t make sense, but on the plate, it works,” he said. “It can be a
little out there, but that’s what makes us unique – the ‘out thereness’ of it.”
The key to making disparate ingredients work is finding the right bridge between them,
according to the chef. The right ingredient can tie seemingly incompatible items together,
creating the unexpected.
Noteworthy at 7M is Mackevicius’ keen awareness of food allergies and intolerances. The
restaurant offers a variety of glutenfree dishes, and because 7M makes everything from scratch,
it’s easy for chefs to create personalized menus.
As another interactive feature, the restaurant offers a chef’s table experience for small to
mediumsized groups. Each dish and its ingredients are announced, and between dishes the chef
chats with guests, shares insights on the process and tells the stories behind the dishes.
The table experience is emblematic of the kind of engagement 7M seeks to foster between chef
and the public. 7M is “breaking the kitchen door down” and bringing the chef to the table,
Mackevicius said – an experience that keeps people coming back for more.Chef’s story: Sin-viche
7M’s signature dessert is Chef Mackevicius’ answer to the typical
chocolate fare. Mackevicius came up with the idea as a counterpart to
his ceviche appetizer – diners can start their meal with a ceviche and
end with Sin-viche. The sinful dessert brings multiple chocolates
together in a martini glass with a host of chocolate crisps for dunking.
15805 W. Maple Road, Suite 101