- 210 10th St., Des Moines, IA, 50309
- Overall User Rating:
- (146 ratings)
- Monday-Thursday: 11a.m.-10p.m. Friday: 11a.m.-11p.m. Saturday: 4a.m.-11p.m. Sunday: 10a.m.-9p.m.
- Official Web Site:
Preliminary visit, not yet rated.
With the 100 percent French Django restaurant opening in the Hotel Fort Des Moines, swanky Josephs Jewelers set to open across the street and classy condos nearby, 10th Street is starting to feel like a slice of Paris's Right Bank.
Chris Place, formerly of Forty Three, heads up the kitchen, and the team of owners includes George Formoro of Centro, South Union and the Gateway Market.
Atmosphere: A raw seafood bar handsomely anchors the room, but look around - the place is shot through with other brasserie-like gems, from romantic red banquette seating to shiny brass tubing. The restrooms even have walls lined in bright-white tile like in the Paris Metro.
The restaurant's detailed ceiling moldings have been restored. I also love the way the designers left the floor a mix of all the surfaces that came before it - a little '80s-esque green marble hits patches of mid-century terrazzo and so on. What better way to tap into the feel of Europe than to let a space's deep history emerge?
Menu: Bistro, caf and brasserie standbys jam the menu, including both fine-dining classics, such as Tournedos Rossini, and casual-caf favorites like the Croque Monsieur sandwich. Geographically born and bred specialties, such as cassoulet and bouillabaisse, tap into the fiercely regional side of French cooking.
Sublime Bites: Fat pancetta, creamy fromage blanc and slithery caramelized onions float atop a pillowy flatbread in a dish misidentified on the menu as a Provencal tart. Actually, it was an Alsatian specialty - and, in fact, a chef from Alsace, by way of Florida, had come up to help train the kitchen crew.
The roast chicken - a $14 revelation - brought exquisite touches of tiny sweet pearl onions, startlingly bright-orange baby carrots and, most notably, creamy and ultra-smooth pureed potatoes (a treat in our culinary epoch of "smashed" potatoes). Sauted foie gras jiggled atop beef tenderloin medallions for a classic take on Tournedos Rossini.
Faux-Pas? Maybe the profiteroles were tough, and the scalloped potatoes arrived lukewarm one try and underdone the next. I'm not going to get my culottes in a boule about these and other opening-night flaws, for an overall joie-de-vivre was firmly in place.
Bottom Line: Squint just right on the way home, and the KCCI Weather Beacon glimmers like the Eiffel Tower in the distance. This place can make a diner feel that good.