1912 Benson: Once Upon a Beer

Martha’s Pick:

6201 Maple St
Fare: Upscale American Bar
Cost: $50 total for 2 drinks, 2 apps and 2 meals.
Reservations: Not taken. Seat yourself. Ample seating options if you arrive early, but fills up fast.

Greetings Eaters and Readers!

Back in our comfort zone of good ole Omaha after our KC, MO escapades, it was my turn to pick. I thought I had decided on a steakhouse because, well … Omaha’s historied love affair with all things beef. But right before pulling the trigger, I stumbled upon an article about 1912, which established itself as a beer-lovers paradise before morphing into a beer and kitchen destination in the always popular Benson neighborhood. I met Jaclyn there on a recent Tuesday after work and we both immediately commented that as Benson outsiders (Jac lives in West O and I’m in Bellevue) we love the walkable, ambling feel to the neighborhood. Even walking from our respective parking spots to the restaurant, and on a grey pre-evening March day, the Benson air still had the palpable charge that keeps it fixed in conversations about Omaha’s trendiest neighborhoods.

As we settled in, our eyes swept over the ambiance of 1912’s interior: giant Titanic headline replicas; exposed metal work; repurposed rustic wood tables; and, most charmingly, turn-of-the-century architectural features that peek out from corners, including bricked-in doorways or windows that once (in this writer’s imagination) held reflections of the patrons from centuries past.

Founders Rubaeus Raspberry Ale | $3.00 (HH)

Jaclyn arrived first and sipped on a raspberry ale, which was their rotating seasonal craft. Karina, our server, was kind enough to bring her a sample. And while not her preferred style of beer, Jaclyn cracked under social guilt and ordered a glass. Perhaps better suited for summertime, Founders Rubaeus Raspberry Ale is very sweet, but light and crisp.

Not pictured: My Michelob Ultra. We’re going out on a limb and hoping you know what those look like. My apologies for the uninspired beverage: trying to save myself a few carbs but still take in the evening with a beer, the Ultra did its job.

Smoked Jalapeño BBQ & Sweet Chili Wings | $12 (HH)

Having arrived during Happy Hour, these generously sized wings were $1/each and we were able to devour a couple of different sauces. Jaclyn is on a Sweet Chili kick and ordered hers accordingly.  I ordered smoked jalapeño BBQ and while we enjoyed the taste of both, ultimately, we each preferred our own flavors. Hitting the table hot and tasty, we agreed we’d have the wings again on future visits.

Wagyu Sliders | $9 (HH)

Tapping into my desire for that taste of steakhouse, we split an order of Wagyu sliders from the starters menu. A popular option on menus throughout Omaha, the sliders came topped with Shadowbrook Farms goat cheese, pickled mustard seed and house-made tomato jam. Each bite was as flavorful as the last and we confirmed the desire to continue our tour of Wagyu tastings on future food adventures is mutual.

Cobb Salad | $11

For my main course, I ordered the Cobb Salad with chicken – both as an attempt to pick a healthier option and to try something different (see: anything else outside the normal bar offerings). The plate was full with juicy, crispy fried chicken slices, mixed seasonal greens, farm fresh egg, bacon, scallions, avocado, bleu cheese crumbles, balsamic vinaigrette and green goddess dressings, both on the side. (I couldn’t choose so I didn’t.) Honestly, the ONLY thing I didn’t like about the salad was how I struggled to navigate the overflowing plate. This is a good problem to have – I know – but it’s hard to mix ALL the ingredients and help the dressing cover some ground when things are falling off the side of the plate. (Please don’t think I’m not seriously considering bringing my own giant mixing bowl for future salads now that I’ve had this problem twice in a row at different restaurants.)

Pulled Pork Nachos | $8 (HH)

Jaclyn’s Pulled Pork Nachos were, in her honest opinion, pretty bland. These came topped with smoked pulled pork, crispy tortilla chips, frijoles borrachos, pico de gallo, lime crema and black jack cheese. Expecting these flavors to pack a punch, she was underwhelmed with the result.

Overall, I had the nagging desire to have a 45 degree angle fork. Not all the way up and not fully sideways. But the reasons behind those feelings had little to do with 1912’s execution and more to do with a) my increasingly passionate feelings about salad plate sizes and b) feeling bad that Jac was underwhelmed with her nachos. Ultimately, and to be fair, I knew I couldn’t let her experience color my rating. Realizing I enjoyed every thing that went into my mouth – I went with a fork up. Going back to 1912 is a definite for this lady.

Jaclyn’s fork rating also hovered evenly between sideways and up. But since we don’t have such a rating on our scale, she decided to tilt it sideways. To get a fork up, she needs to be wowed on all fronts. Overall, she knows it’s a pretty good joint — and she’d go back for the wings and sliders. However, the disappointing nachos warrant a total rating of fork sideways.

Martha and Jaclyn

Feature Image Credit: 1912

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