EDITOR'S NOTE: Ground Zero concludes the yearlong Jeff's Top Five series, which was created to spark dialogue online and in print among readers about restaurants in and around Lincoln. These were not best-of lists, but rather lists of favorite restaurants and foods of longtime Journal Star arts and entertainment reporter Jeff Korbelik.
Dish is my favorite restaurant in Lincoln.
It has everything one looks for in an elite restaurant: menu, service, atmosphere and location.
I go here for the crispy mango duck, the steak pomme frites, the pan-roasted scallops and the tiramisu.
The downtown restaurant, located on the corner of 11th and O streets, is my place for special occasions, for entertaining friends from out of-town or date nights with my wife.
Its success begins with owner and executive chef Travis Green. He is one of those local-boy-done-good stories. He graduated from Lincoln Southeast High School and Nebraska Wesleyan University before enrolling in the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Ore.
He returned to Nebraska in the fall of 2001 to open the Rococo Theatre's kitchen after cooking stops in Hawaii, Oregon, Alaska and Colorado. After the Rococo discontinued its food operation, Green worked at The Lodge at Wilderness Ridge for a short time before moving to Dish in 2003, first as executive chef and later as owner.
He has maintained the high level of quality the restaurant already enjoyed.
I have been a fan of Dish for a long time, dating back to when it was the Rotisserie under Nader Sepahpur, who now runs two Oso Burrito locations, Marz Bar and Yia Yia's, where the best pizza in town can be had.
When I was in college in the early 1980s, the Rotisserie was one of the places to go to impress a date. Sepahpur changed the name to The Grotto in 1993 and sold it to local floral operator Monica McClenahan in 2002.
Green came on board when former city councilman Glenn Friendt owned the restaurant for a short time. He stayed on after McClenahan took it back and bought it from her in 2005.
In 2009, he renovated Dish, saying at the time he felt the restaurant finally was truly his.
"To call it my place ... something like that takes a long time," he told me after the renovation.
When not in the kitchen, you will find Green on the floor chatting with regulars or saying hello to newcomers. Today, there's no doubting that the restaurant is his.
He has turned it into one of Lincoln's best restaurants.
It's my favorite in town.