I just visited LeadBelly the newest restaurant in the Lincoln Haymarket and I am excited to say it was a home run experience! My parents were in town from Florida so we decided to try something new and LeadBelly was top of mind. We were a little reluctant at first because so many restaurants have been in and out of that location (corner of 8th & Q) but, we are happy to say we think LeadBelly is there to stay!
It was a nice summer night, so we chose to eat on the patio which was a great choice. It was the perfect atmosphere to have a conversation and enjoy the warm weather. After seating ourselves, within minutes we were greeted and served iced tea in old fashioned mason jars.
Looking over the menu, which features a creative twist on contemporary American bar and grill food, we were perplexed on what to order, as everything sounded delicious. So, to buy a little time we decided to order an appetizer.
After scanning the 15+ options, we settled on the most unique listing the Maque Choux. This warm appetizer was a large ramekin filled with cajun crab, grilled corn, bell peppers, onion and cream cheese and topped with warm melted white cheddar and served with crispy wontons. This was a unique appetizer and a flavor explosion. The warm spicy crab mixed with the sweet grilled corn and melted cream cheese a top a crispy wonton made for the perfect bite. There were five of us at the table and we all had a chance to enjoy a few bites. After quickly devouring the appetizer, we finally had decided on what to order for our entrees.
First up, I ordered the Raspberry Beret LeadBelly. “The LeadBellies” as listed in the menu are unique topping combinations that you can pick and pair with whichever patty you prefer (ground chuck, chicken breast or homemade veggie burger). The Raspberry Beret features spicy jerked peanut butter, jalapeno raspberry jam, shredded lettuce, red onion and smoked bacon. I chose to have it on a veggie burger and of course I still had the bacon, I just really like homemade veggie burgers.
This sandwich was probably the best I have had in a while. All of the flavors complimented each other and were well balanced. There was heat from the peanut butter and jam but it was mellowed out with the jams sweetness and the creaminess of the peanut butter. The bacon was smoky and crisp and added a great crunch with the fresh romaine. The toppings were definitely top notch, but the star was the homemade veggie patty. The patty was a quarter inch thick and visibly stuffed with carrots, peppers and zucchini, it was awesome!
My friend Allison ordered the Cowabunga LeadBelly which featured blackened shrimp, crisp romaine, red onion and cilantro with creamy blue cheese on a seasoned chicken breast. Not your average chicken sandwich, the shrimp was excellently blackened and had a smoky flavor which was quite the compliment to the creamy blue cheese.
My Dad had the Hangover Helper LeadBelly. This burger was huge and would be the perfect pair to any late night drinking or early morning recovery. It featured bloody Mary ketchup (sooo good), fresh celery and a kosher dill pickle topped with a fried egg and garnished with pimento-stuffed olives.
Tayler, my sister, is a sucker for the sea and enjoyed the Fish & Chips. The dish was served with perfect Newcastle-battered ling cod. The cod was extra crispy with a thin batter that complimented the flaky flesh of the fish. The batter was the perfect proportion to really highlight the fish and not just heavily fried batter. The malt vinegar pub sauce was tangy and sweet and tasted great. The grilled corn side had perfect grill flavor and helped to mix up the textures of the meal.
Fish and Chips
The Greek Chicken is what my mom ordered. This dish is probably my other favorite out of the five. It features a sun dried tomato basil chicken sausage from (Greta’s Gourmet of Lincoln,) crisp romaine, chopped red onion, feta and green goddess dressing on an open faced pita. A very unique taste on the traditional Greek gyro, this is probably going to be one of my new staples. The sausage was grilled to perfection. It was the perfect bite with the moist sausage, goddess sauce, feta and pita. A simple meal both in flavor and balance, a perfect lite lunch or dinner.
Needless to say, we were very impressed with LeadBelly and we are already trying to figure out another time to go back. And next time we go, we’re going to try the Full Leaded Jacket: a freshly baked cinnamon roll topped with white cheddar, chili, queso awesome, sour cream, scallions chopped tomato, red onion and fresh jalapeno with tortillas. This will probably be a dish to share, but it sounds amazing!
Have you been to LeadBelly, yet? Tell us about your experience in the comments.