Sunday, March 30, 2014

Lansky's Pizza Pasta & Philly Steaks

4601 S 50th St (at L St) 
402-731-1919 — put this one on speed dial (people still do that)
Open daily 11am – 9pm or something 
Plus locations in Bellevue and Council Bluffs

Sleek font, sloppy food

Imagine waking up in a parallel universe, where animals can talk, the cab company doesn't suck, and your neighbors champion really disgusting foods. For one of those scenarios, you don't have to imagine anymore — you can just go to Lansky's. 

We were bumbling around near 50th and L when hunger struck and a quick consultation with the smartphone (93% on Urbanspoon!) ultimately pivoted the car into the parking lot. At first, it seemed Lansky's had the makings of something good. The awkward layout and quaint-yet-hideous interior all pointed to the idea that the food's too good to be bothered with atmosphere. A sign at the translucent iceberg lettuce salad bar read, "One trip only, please." I felt that was legitimate, that the owners are too busy quietly turning out Omaha's best pizza to be bogged down by unnecessary salad costs. The aroma of the place even reminded me of the neighborhood pizza joints I terrorized as an adolescent. (The reader has been reminded that I grew up on the East Coast and am therefore an absolute authority on most things, including all types of pizza.) Tables started to file in with subdued excitement, placing their orders at the counter and then plopping down on the salmon-colored padded chairs, sipping from styrofoam cups and chatting about all the joys and hardships of being a South Central Omahan while nonchalantly waiting to have their minds blown by the best food on the planet. 

No, I don't do food styling: the Philly cheesesteak with wayward onions and peppers

But no. Just, no. With the food on the table, and the shock of its appearance faded ("It could still be good!" I screamed in my head), we dug in, only to be met with hopelessly poor quality — it was in-your-face cheap. The Philly cheesesteak bun tasted like a knockoff of something you'd find at a church spaghetti dinner, and as a whole, the sandwich had an off-putting flavor; I think the mass-produced "American Swiss cheese" was the culprit.

Then there was the pizza. Piled with pounds of tasteless cheese and pepperoni, the spongy crust was the color of pasty legs in winter.  I thought it might just be undercooked, but it became clearer and clearer that another few minutes in the oven wouldn't have done much for this heap of shitty ingredients. In one final attempt to reconcile my hunger, I pulled back the inch-thick inedible layer of toppings and pushed it to the side, folded the white, doughy, sponge square in half while it oozed yellow oily matter, and gulped it down. I cursed myself for not stopping at Casey's General Store instead. I thought about the last time I had DiGiorno, and how it's only $4.99 for a pie. I wondered why I put myself through this. 

The pepperoni pie:
It's true I loathe the party cut and toppings under cheese,
but what I loathe more than anything is a bunch of Sysco-sourced ingredients masquerading as something good.
I'd say it's more in line with school cafeteria quality, but I wouldn't want any children eating this.

By now we all know the internet is riddled with untruths. But studying the restaurant's red hot glowing diner reviews online is more than puzzling. It makes me feel like there's something wrong with me. If this is it, then what am I doing? Why am I here? What's the point? Am I trapped in a dystopian novel? 

The way people feel about Lansky's makes me think it's me against the world.