Splash is one of those restaurants that has been so reliable for such a long time, you almost take it for granted. The restaurant purveys great fish and shellfish, and in my experience, they generally get it to the table with the sea’s sparkle still in it. All this in land-locked Des Moines.
Overseeing the kitchen is Dominic Iannarelli, who cooked at Des Moines Golf and Country Club and 801 Chop House before landing his first management job at Jimmy’s American Café, where he was later promoted to chef. He holds a hotel-restaurant degree from Iowa State University.
Iannarelli landed the executive chef position at Splash in 2003. In 2007, he and his team opened Splash Oyster Bar. In recent years, he has overseen the opening of two of the area’s premier barbecue spots: Jethro’s BBQ, in the Drake area, and Jethro’s Barbecue and Jake’s Smokehouse Steaks in Altoona.
“The industry itself has provided a addictive charm for me,” he said, adding that he actually likes its nonconventional hours, differing working conditions and irregular levels of stress. “I wouldn’t trade it for the world."
For a guy who’s so good at barbecue, it might come as a surprise that his favorite food is sushi. And when he’s not eating at one of the restaurants he oversees, you might find him at Centro, enjoying a pizza.
Splash, 303 Locust St., 244-5696
Jethro's BBQ, 3100 Forest Ave., 279-3300
Jethro's BBQ and Jake's Smokehouse Steaks, 2601 Adventureland Drive, Altoona; 957-9727