- 801 Grand Ave., Suite 200, Des Moines, IA, 50309
- Overall User Rating:
- (8 ratings)
- Kitchen: Sunday 5-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 5-10 p.m. Bar: Monday-Friday 4-11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday 5-10 p.m.
- Official Web Site:
The Sunday night Prix Fixe menu at 801 Steak and Chop House is probably the best way to experience this swank, sumptuous downtown landmark. Not only is it a steal, but it's also the only way I know to get a sane amount of food here without having to split everything - a practice I tire of.
Details: On Sundays, for $29.95, you can enjoy a salad (Caesar or Iceberg Wedge), entre (8-ounce filet, prime rib or Lobster Pot Pie), sides and dessert (creme brulee or fresh fruit sorbet). Priced la carte, the same meal would cost nearly twice that much.
Atmosphere: With its rich polished wood, etched glass, high ceilings and white linens, the dining room affords the sort of Edwardian opulence you don't experience very much anymore.
Salads: 801's Caesar was made for diners who aren't afraid of anchovies. There's plenty of bite in the dressing, as well as a few silvery filets on top. I still don't quite get the resurgence of the Iceberg Wedge, but if you're going to travel that route the blue cheese dressing is the way to go.
The main dish: A friend, whom I ran into here, put it best. "When it comes to steak, it's easy to forget what the fuss is all about - until you eat a piece of prime beef."
This is definitely a place to remember what the fuss is all about. While the Lobster Pot Pie was everything it should be - rich and rife with lobster - it was the succulent, rosy pink beef that made our spirits soar. Sanely portioned sides - including horseradish mashed potatoes and fresh, colorful green beans and baby carrots - proved so perfect I wondered why they had to be a Sunday-night-only thing.
Dessert: It's easy to think that all good crme brles are good in the same way, but this one is in a league of its own. The smooth, rich and intensely vanilla-y custard came topped with a mahogany sheen of brittle burnt sugar - so deeply browned that the wonderful caramely effects pleasantly lingered with every bite. In contrast, the green-apple sorbet was a monotonous disappointment.
Service: Timely but less than gracious. For example, I began to ask if instead of one big serving of sorbet, I might possibly get a little sorbet and a little vanilla ice cream (it makes for a sophisticated Dreamsicle-like effect). The server abruptly cut me off, making it absolutely clear there were to be no substitutions. If the attitude is going to be, "What do you expect for $29.95?" then even $29.95 can be too much.