These are the five restaurants that top my best-of list for 2013.
Please note this is NOT a list of favorite restaurants, but a list of favorites that Ground Zero visited this past year.
Eateries were evaluated on food quality, service and presentation.
1. Sebastian’s Table (reviewed Sept. 13) -- Locally owned and operated Ground Up (GUP) Restaurants opened this Spanish-themed restaurant downtown next door to the Zoo Bar. The restaurant specializes in tapas (small plates) and homemade Sangria. A customer favorite -- believe or not -- is the Brussels sprouts.
2. The Lodge at Wilderness Ridge (Nov. 15) -- Here’s hoping new executive chef Kyle Lamb brings some stability to the Lodge’s kitchen, which has seen a bit of turnover over the years. He’s made quite a splash inside and outside the restaurant, having shown his skills at various local foodie events. Lamb emphasizes locally sourced foods for his menu.
3. Henry’s on South (Jan. 4) -- This small neighborhood restaurant at 33rd and South streets has become quite popular since opening in December 2012, with reservations strongly encouraged for every night. The bistro offers pan-European cuisine at extremely affordable prices.
4. Asian Fusion (Aug. 2) -- Several Asian-themed restaurants opened in Lincoln this past year, and Asian Fusion is the best of the bunch. The menu is a mix of sushi and Chinese dishes. The restaurant wows with presentation, with sushi rolls so artistically prepared you won’t want to eat them. But you should. They are very good.
5. LeadBelly (June 21) -- The folks behind Toast in Fallbrook opened this Haymarket restaurant, specializing in contemporary American pub cuisine. The draws here are LeadBellies, gourmet topped burgers, chicken breasts or vegetarian patties, including the customer favorite “full leaded jacket,” featuring a cinnamon roll and chili.
Honorable mention -- Jack & June (Dec. 6). The bread&cup owners opened a restaurant featuring such homestyle favorites as meatloaf, chicken and dumplings, bangers and grilled cheese. It’s a nice addition to the Railyard.