Opinion: DOLCE restaurant review

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Bella Watson 
Opinion Editor

“If it goes in a bowl with noodles and a delicious broth or sauce, that’s my jam.” Photo courtesy of www.dolceomaha.com.

Beautifully laid brick adorns the bar that overlooks the dimly lit restaurant. Candles provide ambient lighting to the tables, which sit below walls embellished with contemporary artwork. Vintage and modern bottles of wine sit atop wall-mounted racks. Each and every detail of DOLCE has been carefully curated to bring an enchanting fine dining experience to Omaha, which is completely unique to anything else the city has seen. 

Anthony Kueper, the owner and head chef of DOLCE, has carefully perfected his craft through years of education, training and experience. The masterchef has an impressive resume filled with various different culinary fields in several countries, but his beginnings were humble. Kueper was the child of a military family, so he spent a great deal of his youth uprooting and traveling across the world. Kueper first began cooking for his siblings in his adolescent years. His mother worked full time and his father was active duty military, so he was often responsible for feeding the family. 

“I started cooking real meals for them after my sister, who is six years younger than me, tried to pour a can of water into Spahgettio’s like you would a can of condensed soup.” says Kueper. “Then, I decided to just start going through cookbooks and learning the recipes. My first ever cookbook was “The Joy of Cooking” by Irma Rombauer.” 

Prior to moving to Omaha, Kueper lived in Colorado, where he worked at several restaurants. He first began as a line cook at a French restaurant to help put himself through college. Kueper soon started working directly below the chef, shadowing him and learning the technicalities of French culinary. This is where he first fell in love with the art of cooking and began building his arsenal of skills. 

“I really began cooking and became a chef by accident,” says Kueper. “I was originally in school for business, but I wanted to play hockey professionally, until I had an injury that ended my career.” 

After leaving school, Kueper continued to pursue his culinary career by working at the Ritz Carlton, where he was given the opportunity to work at different hotels across the country. While working for the hospitality industry, Kueper worked directly beneath chefs, learning different skills and techniques that he has continued to carry with him throughout his career. Once Keuper returned to Aspen after traveling with the Ritz Carlton, he met his wife, who he later moved to Germany with. 

While working in Germany, Keuper helped his restaurant gain two Michelin Stars, which are awards given to establishments that account for five different criterias, which are quality, the harmony of the flavors, the techniques used, the personality of the chef as expressed through their cuisine, and consistency. Receiving a Michelin Star is one of the highest honors a restaurant can receive. While living in Germany, he also took the time to study beneath chefs in Denmark. Kueper stated it was here where he learned a large number of his skills. 

Kueper then began to travel the world, learning to cook from different chefs and cultures across the globe. He gained the majority of the inspiration — for what would later become his signature dishes — from Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine. 

“My favorite country based on food is Japan,” says Kueper. “I could eat through it like Godzilla. Thailand is another great country to visit, they have the most amazing street food.” 

Keuper and his wife later returned to Aspen and made the decision to dive head first into his career as a chef. He began to develop his own personal flare to cooking, and started to experiment with new ingredients. Keuper says he discovered his favorite way to cook, which is to take a very traditional cuisine, and then add his own personal touches. 

“My career really took off in Aspen; It allowed me to explore new flavors, and really find myself as a chef,” says Kueper. 

In 2012, Keuper and his family moved to Omaha. After jumping around Omaha a bit, he found himself working at DOLCE as the sous chef in 2013. Only four years later, Keuper purchased the restaurant and became the sole owner. He began working to partner with more local producers and create a new and exciting menu. His favorite dishes to create and play with are variations of pasta-based dishes. 

“If it goes in a bowl with noodles and a delicious broth or sauce, that’s my jam,” says Kueper. 

Today, Keuper has transformed DOLCE into the perfectly curated date-night spot. The restaurant displays a beautifully crafted brick bar illuminated by dim lights. Candles sit atop the tables, and the walls are lined with modern works of art, creating an intimate, yet exciting atmosphere. The ambiance is high class, yet comfortable. 

The fine dining restaurant serves contemporary twists on classic pairings. One of the most popular dishes that DOLCE serves is their mouth-watering fried brussel sprouts, served with Asian-inspired pork belly. The dish is served with a homemade aioli that Kueper himself created. When visiting DOLCE, patrons can choose to order a la carte or “prix fixe,” which is a four-course meal from a carefully selected menu created solely by Chef Kueper.