Django Restaurant, Des Moines, IA

>> Wednesday, January 30, 2013

It's about time for a restaurant review, isn't it?

Des Moines city skyline 2012

Last January Joe and I traveled to Des Moines for his cousin's funeral. We budget for a few exceptional dinners each year, and decided a special meal might help to ease a bit of the sadness on our trip. Django Restaurant gave us a delightful meal and a breather from the sorrow of the weekend.

It was uncharacteristically warm in Des Moines that Friday night, and the downtown area was deserted by dinnertime. While this was surprising to us in comparison to Chicago, it was wonderful to find a parking spot right next to the restaurant.

Django serves French cuisine in a friendly, unpretentious atmosphere. Unfortunately, it was a bit noisy, and the tables were rather close together, but we were focused on each other. The restaurant was busy, with a variety of ages. It was a casual to dressy clientele. Meals are about $25-30 per person, and many appetizers and desserts were under $10.

An enormous raw bar was the center of attention in Django, but I was captured by the seared foie gras appetizer with fig confit and toasted brioche. Oh, how I love foie gras. Next time, we think we'd like to try the the cheese and sausage sample "flights" - or maybe a fresh shellfish platter of oysters, mussels, clams, and shrimp.

For dinner, I ordered duck breast over spaetzle with with rhubarb gastric, and the presentation was excellent. Joe had tender and tasty seared sea scallops with lobster corn mashed potatoes. Sounds interesting just reading it, doesn't it? Those potatoes were like the thickest creamy corn chowder you can imagine.

Dessert? Ohhhhh, dessert. I had a tangy raspberry sorbet that I shared (a little!) with Joe. He loves fruit and cheese for dessert, and they served him a buttery gorgonzola with fig jam, olives, and almonds. We are going to have to learn how to make fig jam, that's a fact.

The service was impeccable. Our server knew the extensive wine list on the table's iPad and made good suggestions. He perfectly understood that we like to take our time with dinner (a couple of hours, usually) and not order one dish right on top of the previous. He seemed to show up just about the time we wanted him.

I'd never been to Des Moines before, but it's a pretty city with the Des Moines river curving right through. Like Minneapolis, the downtown area has enclosed walkways so you don't have to battle the weather getting from building to building. The capitol building complex shines down from a tall hill overlooking the city.

Django is open every day of the week at 210 10th St. Des Moines, IA 50309.


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