McFoster’s Natural Kind
302 S 38th St, Omaha, NE, 68131
QISA(3322), $7-13, Vegetarian-Friendly
Unfortunately, I walked into McFoster’s Natural Kind already biased against the establishment. To begin with, the Website has been suspended, which in today’s day and age is inexcusable. Second, when I called to check their hours, the gentleman who answered the phone informed me in a bored voice that they were typically open till 10pm, but since no one was there, they were thinking of closing early. This is not what you want to hear about a restaurant you are about to patronize.
Whereas I could excuse the run-down, funky interior, and mediocre service, I simply could not excuse the menu that read, “McFoster’s is a vegetarian restaurant that also serves seafood and chicken dishes.” No. Then it’s not a vegetarian restaurant. “Schlomo’s is a kosher restaurant that also serves pork and cheeseburgers.” See? It’s wrong. You either are or are not kosher. You either are or are not vegetarian.
To be fair, their Facebook page describes McFoster’s as a, “primarily vegetarian restaurant that also serves seafood and chicken dishes.” But this is a little too little, a little too late. The damage to the image has already been done.
For a vegan traveller in Omaha, McFoster’s might seem like a godsend. Certainly the organic, locally-sourced food ethic is very attractive. However, the quality of the food is inconsistent. I loved the tempura-style sweet potato fries with banana ketchup (think tomato ketchup sweetened with banana), but I was lukewarm to the Portabella Mushroom Dinner, “massaged with raw garlic, spices, and vegan butter, then charbroiled under tender; Served on a bed of organic basmati rice with a vast array of veggies sautéed with virgin olive oil, garlic, fresh basil, and spices. Vegan basil and organic cashew butter pesto on the side.” It sounded delightful, particularly since I love portabella mushrooms. In reality, the portabella was half size, only about two inches in diameter, and the supposed basmati rice was short grain brown rice.
The service, as I mentioned earlier, was mediocre at best. The waiter was a friendly sort, but he did not exude eagerness or confidence. And he forgot to bring me my smoothie.
It certainly is a shame. We need more restaurants like McFoster’s Natural Kind with locally sourced, organic vegetarian and vegan options. But maybe we don’t need McFoster’s itself.