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Omaha Magazine

Illuminating the Luminarium

Feb 21, 2024 02:21PM ● By Samantha & Damian Ingersoll
fig. illuminating the luminarium dining review omag march april 2024

Steak Frites with Chimichurri & Side Salad.

Photo by Bill Sitzmann.

Fig. Review [3 Images] Click Any Image To Expand
Located in one of Omaha's newest attractions, The Kiewit Luminarium, Fig. is a hidden gem well worth exploring. The name is a wordplay inspired by scientific papers, which frequently feature designations like "Fig. 1" for "Figure 1," hence the period after Fig. Simultaneously quaint and contemporary, the restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, snacks, and a kid’s menu for visitors to the museum or anyone wanting a healthy food experience. Fig. also offers a rotating menu featuring inspired specials and hosts a monthly themed family-style "Supper Club" dinner.

With its vibrant colors and bright lights, walking into the Luminarium is a sensory experience in itself, but Fig. provides a decidedly different vibe. It boasts a calming, relaxed atmosphere with a terrific view of the riverfront and downtown Omaha. The dining area is bright and open with wall-to-ceiling windows and beautiful dropdown lights for when day transitions to dusk and night. During warmer weather, guests can dine al fresco in the outdoor seating area and enjoy Happy Hour with a splendid view of the Missouri.

Fig. distinguishes itself from other museum cafés through its dedication to serving organic and local ingredients. The restaurant works with local distributors such as Fare Table, Lone Tree Foods, and Morgan Ranch. All  teas are from Artemis Tea & Botanical, while all the freshly baked breads are organic sourdough sourced from Lola's bakery. (It's worth noting that Lola's café is also Fig.'s partner.) Everything is made from scratch with most menu items costing well below $20.

Upon entering Fig., patrons are greeted with the deep aromas of freshly brewed coffees as well as warm smiles. Ordering from the counter was a fun way to interact with the staff, who happily provided us with  recommendations and explanations about various menu items. Since it is counter service, there is not much other interaction with the servers, but we did find them extremely helpful. 

The breakfast menu is small but has some solid choices. We loved the the Chia pudding made from coconut milk and punctuated with vanilla. Topped with strawberry jam, berry compote, and almond granola, it had a delightful texture. The salmon toast featured Gravlax with cream cheese, pickled red onion, and fried capers and was accented with Everything Bagel seasoning. The subtle combination provided for a perfect balance among competing savory flavors.  

The lunchtime sandwich menu consists of a variety of eclectic selections. We opted for the mushroom grilled cheese. Served on crispy, rustic sourdough, it melded cheddar and Swiss cheeses into a buttery blend that was complemented by pickled mushrooms and arugula. The taste was exactly what you'd want from a grilled cheese: it featured perfectly toasted bread and gooey, stringy cheese, with the pickled mushrooms adding a sweet, yet earthy taste and arugula providing a slightly peppery punch. Pairing this with fries was a fitting lunch option. Fig.'s mushroom grilled cheese will change the way you think about this humble lunch favorite.

Fig. has many tempting main course-type options. We indulged in the steak frites. The beef was tender, moist, and cooked to medium perfection. It practically melted in our mouths. It was topped with Chimichurri sauce that packed a bright, savory flavor and a kick of heat, which elevated the beef cut. The frites, or French fries, which can be lackluster at so many establishments, were equally as impressive; they were crispy, warm, and nicely seasoned. The plate was balanced with a simple, fresh spring salad tossed gently with a bright vinaigrette.

We also shared a Caesar salad, which we consumed with great enthusiasm. We went so far as to run our bread around the inside of the bowl to catch all the remaining dressing so we didn't miss a single anchovy. The romaine lettuce was lovely and crisp, the croutons perfectly crunchy, and there were loads of parmesan, but it was really all about the those lovely, salty, meaty little fish.  

As we had our little one with us (Fig. is perfect after a family outing at the Luminarium), we chose something simple off the kids' menu. There are many interesting choices, but we settled on the cheeseburger. It was tasty and a good size, and our little reviewer gave it two thumbs up, leaving behind an empty plate, itself a ringing endorsement. 

Whether you're looking to grab a quick bite or sit in for a leisurely meal, Fig. is a worthy choice for a healthy, inspired meal. 

To view Fig.'s menu, visit figomaha.com

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2024 issue of Omaha Magazine. To subscribe, 
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