Relaxed, fine dining at Mahogany Prime
In a city known for its steak as well as an abundance of great restaurants, steakhouses often have to set themselves apart. When Mahogany Prime Steakhouse first opened in Omaha 13 years ago, it established itself as a high-end restaurant where silent service was required. Although still available, the restaurant’s new management is trying to bring about a more casual atmosphere where customers can have fun and enjoy the same high quality, prime steaks and seafood that Mahogany has always offered.
General Manager Jay Marquiss and Executive Chef B.J. Englert are part of the team behind Mahogany’s new approach to relaxed, fine dining. They worked together previously at Charleston’s, which is also owned by Hal Smith Restaurant Group, and hope to repeat the success they had there. Joining them is event coordinator Shilo Steuckrath who oversees all private events, including private lunches, which is an option Mahogany offers since they aren’t open for lunch.
One of the ways Marquiss is trying to promote a more casual, fun environment is through the restaurant’s happy hour offering, which is Monday through Friday from 4:00-6:00 pm. All appetizers are half price, and house wines and select cocktails are $5.00. “We want customers to come in, try the food, and see that it’s a relaxed, fun environment where they can enjoy themselves,” Marquiss said. “We hope that it gets them telling other people about it too.”
Mahogany is still a great place for those who want fine dining too. Marquis said their servers are trained to assess what type of dining experience each table wants to have and then they mirror that type of service. “We’re also taking a different approach with our staff’s wine knowledge,” he said. “If a guest asks for a brand of wine we don’t have, our servers can suggest another wine from the same region, so it’s a similar tasting experience.”
With more than 200 wines and two Level 1 certified sommeliers on staff, Mahogany has a wine to fit every budget and its cuisine. All steaks on the menu are high-end prime cuts aged 45 days. Two of Englert’s favorites are the 24 oz. bison ribeye and the bone-in filet. Steaks are prepared over a 900-degree French-style broiler, seasoned with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper, then served on a 400-degree plate with clarified butter.
In addition to steak, Englert said seafood is a big seller at Mahogany. Fried oysters, Alaskan king crab legs, and rock lobster tail, which comes in sizes up to 24 oz., are all popular and de-shelled tableside by the server. Oriental marinated grilled salmon, pistachio encrusted Chilean sea bass, and Caribbean blackened red snapper are also on the menu. Accompanying sides can include au gratin or chive mashed potatoes, sautéed button mushrooms, and Napa spinach sautéed in a lemon wine sauce with marinated Napa chardonnay raisins, pine nuts, red onion, and garlic.
Don’t forget the dessert menu, either. Mahogany offers a four-layer chocolate cake, each layer made with chocolate ganache and chocolate ganache frosting topped with homemade whipped cream. Key lime pie, carrot cake, and bread pudding are also popular. But one of Marquiss’ favorites is the crème brulee cheesecake. “It was discovered by accident when a piece of cheesecake fell in the sugar used to make crème brulee,” he said. “They caramelized it, and it was delicious.” It’s not on the menu, but guests can ask for it.
Englert said everyone on his team has a chef’s mentality and cares about the food. “The presentation is always spot on, and the kitchen staff has a lot of pride.” Marquiss agreed and said everyone at Mahogany is eager to do a good job. “You don’t have to come in and spend three hours to dine, unless you want to,” he said. “We can set the pace however you want, and we’ll still give you great food and great service.”