The restaurant looks very plain from the outside, but the inside is surprisingly spacious and comfortable. The wine list was decent and the variety of foods better. The wait staff is extremely courteous and accommodating. We were a group of eight and I did not taste the other guests' dishes but I would say most of our companions enjoyed their meal. My wife and I shared the calamari for the starter. Though this preparation may appeal to midwestern tastes, it didn't so much to ours. The pieces were coated with cracker flower and cooked longer than our preference. We prefer squid with nothing more than a simple dusting of flour and quickly fried so the pieces are just tender. The more breading, the longer cooking required, and the tougher the squid. Most American restaurants are oblivious to this fact. My wife had the soft shell crab and it too was quite cooked. As we went in May, the fresh crabs should be available and we were hoping to have some (but hers were frozen). The accompanying aioli was also heavy (I thought it ok, the wife thought not). The dish I ordered proved to be the favorite and some of our guests tasting it preferred it to their entrees as well. Short rib and bucatini is a great choice. The short rib is ample, tender, succulent, and goes well with the creamy and smartly flavored bucatini. I'm normally not a big fan of rich, creamy pasta dishes but this was very tasty and I ate nearly all of it. Lincoln is not a great restaurant town but overall Venue is one of the better choices.
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