- 223 Fourth St., Des Moines, IA, 50309
- Overall User Rating:
- (15 ratings)
- Bar Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Kitchen Hours: 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. 7 days a week.
- Official Web Site:
Fong’s Pizza, that nutty tiki-bar/pizzeria on Fourth St., recently added more offerings to their goofy lineup of quasi-Italian, quasi-Chinese pizzas. I went in to see if they were truly great or merely gimmicky.
Ambience: Your grandfather’s Chinese restaurant meets your father’s Tiki bar, tricked out with comfy jade-green booths separated by latticed dividers, tasseled lamps and a display of utterly kooky ceramic drink vessels behind the bar. And while I once described this spot as Trader Vic’s for 20-somethings, at least half of the diners present on two recent visits were over 35.
Be advised, however, that there’s a bit of a funky-dive aspect to the spot — the carpet was in need of a thrice-over with a vacuum. I’d venture that the restaurant is best enjoyed in the evening, with a stiff Tiki drink in hand, and not in the full, sobering light of day.
Menu: Though a few salads and sandwiches grace the menu, it’s the pizza that sets this place apart. You can order the usual pepperoni-sausage-green pepper kinds of takes, and you might be tempted to, when you see utterly goofy-sounding combos in many one-of-a-kind house specialties. Some of the creations — Fongolian Beef, Kung Pow Chicken, Crab Rangoon Pizza and the like — sound sprung from the mind of a young chef possessing more daring than know-how.
Best Bites: Thankfully, the kitchen isn’t just playing around, experimenting on your dime — every one of the four pizzas I tried tasted like it had been tested and tweaked to perfection. Super-thin, crackly crust — nicely blistered here and there — arrives with truly extraordinary combinations. The Fongolian Beef and Kung Pao Chicken pizzas both brought not only the hallmark ingredients of their classic Chinese dishes, but spice levels that were dead-on, resulting in favorite Asian flavors tucked into a crazy-good melty-cheese-topped package.
And that Crab Rangoon pizza? It’s unimaginably good, thanks to Krab, sweet chili sauce, cheese and a shower of fried wonton-wrapping strips. However, like crab rangoons themselves, this was something I wouldn’t make an entire meal of — order it in tandem with another choice. In fact, order here as you might at a Chinese restaurant — get a few different choices and share.
Also of Note: Sharp and efficient keyed-in bar and wait staff added to the pleasure. The fruity and good specialty cocktails — served up in those kitschy Polynesian-inspired mugs — go down smooth but pack a punch.
Bottom Line: A totally fun — yet seriously good — spot.