- 3825 121st St., Urbandale, IA, 50323
- Overall User Rating:
- (6 ratings)
- 11 a.m.-close Tuesday through Sunday. 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. - close Tuesday through Friday; 4 p.m. - close Saturday; 11 a.m. - close Sunday
- Official Web Site:
It’s interesting how in the last couple years, three new restaurants closed and were replaced by restaurants run by three well-established Des Moines restaurant families. Skybox Lounge became Raul’s, Ciao West Glen became an outpost of Gino’s and Maverick Grill morphed into Mama Lacona’s.
What’s this say about the current dining scene? Perhaps that, as the economy continues to struggle, diners head to the tried-and-true rather than rolling the dice on something new. A wake-up call should ripple through all upscale restaurants: You’d better make every bite worth every penny. Even if Mama Lacona’s food is just fine — not great — most dining couples would rather spend $50 for a fine-but-not great meal than $100 for a fine-but not great meal.
Which is all to say that in spite of mixed experiences at Mama’s, I can see why the place does a good business.
Ambi-ance: The modern, handsome room gets jolts of color from a pleasing mural of coastal and rural America scenes; the tables and booths filled mostly with young families and empty-nest couples.
Menu: Dozens of options range from pizza, sandwiches, main-dish salads, pasta, seafood, steaks and baked pasta casseroles.
Food: Past visits revealed a thoroughly satisfying Des Moines-style lasagna: a baked casserole with ruffled noodles, chopped eggs, and a tangy-herby-spicy red sauce and a choice of Graziano sausage, meatballs, both or neither. While it costs $15.95 for one, two can order the entrée for $20.95 (salads are $1.95 extra). That, to me, constitutes a bargain.
The pizza here brings a crisp thin crust, a cracker-like version that has a pleasantly brittle crunch as you bite into it. Aside from wood-grilled chicken, most ingredient options are classic. On our pie, the robust red sauce, spicy fennel-enhanced Graziano sausage, red and green sweet peppers and a judicious sheen of cheese made for a classic pie.
The steak de Burgo is wood-grilled, and mine ended up tasting more of wood and garlic than of beef, its sauce shiny and thick rather than thin and intense. Some diners, however, may enjoy this unique take on the classic. (Tip: If you start with the generously portioned appetizer, such as the Trio Sampler Platter, you could probably split the de Burgo, as it comes with two five-ounce medallions).
Skip the garlic shrimp, bulked up with lots of pasta and bringing predictably dull-tasting shrimp.
Bottom Line: Best for pizza and inexpensive red-sauced pastas.