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Omaha Magazine

Dining Review: Timber Wood Fire Bistro Brings the Smoke

Nov 01, 2021 10:52AM ● By J.C. Evans
caramelized French onion soup in cast iron bowl

Photo by Bill Sitzmann    

The name Timber Wood Fire Bistro evokes thoughts of fresh cut logs and sitting around a roaring campfire in the middle of a forest. 

There are rustic elements of this right as you step into the vestibule of this corner restaurant in Countryside Village, with logs stacked to one side and wood chips scattered across the floor. A shelving unit in the middle of the space holds wine bottles, with wood stacked below. 

However, a strong industrial theme also stands out, with steel beams and accent pipes throughout, and a mural on one wall with steampunk elements. 

 Despite not living far from this area, my partner and I had not visited Timber before. We started with the jalapeño bacon shrimp skewers. There are six medium-sized shrimp wrapped in bacon and served on charred guacamole with apple butter and bourbon molasses. The jalapeño was mixed with the guacamole. There was not much heat, but the flavors hit the right notes—a little sweet, a little spice. The creaminess of the guacamole and crispness of the bacon worked well together, and it may be one of our new favorite appetizers. 

My partner ordered the prohibition chicken, which is brined, then wood roasted. If there was any menu item that should be described as charred, it was the chicken. (I have seen some photos in which it didn’t look quite so dark, so this may have been a fluke.) The dish came with a leg, a wing, a thigh, and a breast and was served with chargrilled vegetables and Yukon gold potato puree. He preferred the dark pieces, and said the leg was his favorite. 

While he did not care for the vegetables (they were a little mushy), I thought their flavor was good, with a sweetness that wasn’t overwhelming. We both agreed the creamy Yukon puree was a highlight for the dish.

He also added the French onion soup to his meal. The small bowl was covered in melted Gruyere cheese held up by chunks of focaccia bread. Typically, a French onion soup has a darker, beefy broth. This one is made with chicken broth and white wine. The onions could have been caramelized a little longer, but overall, we liked it. 

I ordered the wedge salad with my meal. It was a large chunk of iceberg lettuce served with blue cheese crumbles, halved cherry tomatoes, a few red onion slices, and diced hardboiled egg. The server reminded me when I ordered that it came with both a sherry walnut vinaigrette and a gorgonzola dressing and asked if that was OK. Having learned years ago that vinaigrettes and blue cheese dressings can be a winning combination, I said yes. I wasn’t disappointed here, but I did wish the salad was served in a larger bowl, as trying to dismember the large hunk of lettuce without making a mess was near impossible. 

Since timber is in the name, we felt we had to try the slow-smoked ribs. They were stacked four high, with two rib pieces per layer for a total of eight. Served with a mound of Carolina slaw, a cup of macaroni and cheese, and a large ramekin of molasses beans, it was not a small plate. The apricot Fresno Chile barbecue sauce was served on the side. 

The beans were both sweet and vinegary, whereas the slaw could have used a little more of each, as it was rather bland. The fresh crispness was nice, however, and would make a good companion to a spicier dish. 

 

The mac and cheese stole the sides show for us. Topped with a swirl of house barbecue sauce, the large shells were perfect for holding mounds of gooey, creamy cheese. But the real star on the plate was the ribs. Though not served in the typical slab style, the presentation certainly made them easier to eat without destroying clothes, napkins, and hands. They were smoky, tender, and seasoned so well they didn’t need the side of sauce. We tried it anyway, and weren’t disappointed. The tanginess cut through the smoke flavor, making it a refreshing addition. 

Dessert was a s’mores cake. It was a small, round chocolate cake with a marshmallow top that had been flambéed and was served with homemade caramel and a caramel gelato. We got it to go, as we were quite full by the time we got through our first three courses. It was still good, but I would recommend eating it there if you have the time and the stomach capacity. 

To drink, we ordered iced tea. The tea had a hint of flavor I couldn’t place, but our server informed us that it was a tropical tea. While I normally don’t like flavored teas, this one was subtle and didn’t have an overly sweet taste. I almost asked for a to-go cup. 

The service was excellent, and the food was good. The tab was a little more than I would normally spend on ribs, but worth it. We will go back to try the pizza—the woman seated at the next table raved about the crust—and some other dishes, specifically the beef Wellington that is only offered on Friday and Saturday nights. If they do that right, we may become regulars. 

Visit timberomaha.com for more information. 

This article originally appeared in the November 2021 issue of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.