Erik Hustad and Gabriel Lovelace are putting a social spin on dining out with their latest culinary effort, Sebastian’s Table. The cousins are already well known among Lincoln foodists for their whimsical approach to local food at their now-retired food truck, Ground Up (GUP) Kitchen and the wildly popular Honest Abe’s Burgers & Freedom. At Sebastian’s Table, which opened August 2013 at 126 North 14th Street in downtown Lincoln, they’re putting their eclectic spin on tapas, small Spanish bar snacks and appetizers.
“Sebastian’s Table is not just a place to come and eat,” said Brad Widman, marketing director of Ground Up Foods. “You come here to enjoy yourself.”
Patrick Durkin, Sebastian’s chef de cuisine, transforms sustainable ingredients into surprising bites. There’s the shredded duck confit, cooked until meltingly tender in its own unctuous fat, and a delicate flash-fried octopus served with robust, garlicky chimichurri and a sweet pepper aioli. The number one seller is the hazelnut Brussels sprouts. The much-maligned vegetable is charred and topped with toasted hazelnuts, tangy piquillo peppers and an orange gastrique, elevating it to an earthy, sweet-tart experience unlike any Brussels sprout you’ve ever eaten. “We wanted to see what a professional kitchen could do with [Brussels sprouts],” Brad said. “We never would’ve dreamed they’d be so popular.”
The small-plates concept may be unusual for Nebraskans looking for more traditional meat-and-potatoes fare, but Sebastian’s menu also features several familiar favorites, including beef tenderloin skewers, ham and cheese croquettes, pork meatballs and an upscale macaroni and cheese made with lamb and smoked Gouda.
Erik and Gabriel are passionate about local fare. As much as possible, they seek out local ingredients for Sebastian’s: pork from TD Niche Farm, chicken from Plum Creek Farms, lamb from Bluff Valley Farm, produce from Shadow Brook Farm and goat cheese from Dutchgirl Creamery. They’ve also included local Branched Oak Farm cheese—Farmer’s Tan and feta—on their primarily Spanish cheese and charcuterie menu.
According to Brad, Sebastian’s offers a new dining experience unlike any other in Lincoln. “Our whole experience is about social eating and enjoying the people you’re with,” Brad said. “If you’re going to go out and spend $40 to $60, it should be a time to hang out and enjoy the people you’re with and really enjoy good food.”
Find out more at GroundUpRestaurants.com/Sebastians and on Facebook at Sebastian’ s Table.
—By Alexis Abel