Jenny Coco on steak

For Chef Jennifer Coco, owner of midtown Omaha’s J. Coco and a James Beard-nominated chef, steak has to be cooked just so. She told me again and again during the two month Food Prowl for steak, which kicked off a second year of my series today, how important that is. No matter the cut or quality, if the meat isn’t cooked right, it’s not right.

And she’s right.

She also told me that she doesn’t eat steak out that often, so this prowl was a real treat. One day, as we left lunch, she told me that her staff at the restaurant wondered why I had picked her, along with Terry Kroeger, publisher of the World-Herald, to be a judge on the prowl.

“They said to me, ‘You’re so picky!’” she told me. “And I said, ‘That’s why she chose me.’”

She’s right. Judging steak wasn’t an easy job. It has to be cooked just so, like Jenny said. She and I ordered all our steaks mid-rare; Terry is a medium guy. When we cut into a perfectly cooked piece of beef, which we did at different moments throughout the prowl, it was a revelation.

This prowl was a lot of fun. One of the most exciting things about it, for me, was seeing that the old-school Omaha steakhouses are as busy as ever. They’ve been around so long — one for 91 years — for a reason.

We also announced the rest of the prowls I have planned for 2013 today, and they’re in the sidebar of the blog now. I can’t wait to share what I have in store for you the next year.

In the meantime, sound off on the comments: What’s your favorite steak in Omaha?

Not pictured above is Anthony’s Steakhouse. I got so busy eating that I forgot to take a photo. 

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