Food tour of Iowa: Django, Des Moines
Django is one of the many hip, excellent new restaurants that is turning Des Moines into one of the better cities to go for some food. I have had the pleasure of dining at Django twice, and cannot recommend it highly enough to anyone visiting our little corner of the Midwest.
The first time I walked in to the restaurants distinctive lobby in Downtown Des Moines I was struck immediately by it’s motto- “All French, no attitude”. While I don’t know how my French friends might feel about the entire menu, Django delivers some extremely solid Gallic cuisine at prices that are fairly easy to stomach.
I have had the pleasure of dining at Django twice. The first time, I dined on an appetizer of some of the best sweetbreads I have ever had. They were served with brioche points (brioche is, quite literally, a sweet bread- very clever), and were delectable. I had chosen a vegetarian dining companion, so I had the entire plate to myself. For an entrée, I ordered the sea scallops on a bed of ratatouille. I know- seafood in Iowa? However, it was a great entrée. The ratatouille was perfectly cooked- not to well done, but not too crunchy. The scallops were similarly well done. Overall, it was a solid entrée, although it paled in comparison the short ribs Bourgogne, which I ordered on my next visit.
The short ribs were falling off the bone tender, and coated with a delectable red wine sauce. There was nothing delicate about the presentation: it was a big hunk of meat, served on a bed of green beans (which, might I add, accompanied it perfectly) with “Parisian gnocchi”. I had never encountered that type of gnocchi before, but a quick Google search confirms my suspicions: it is similar to Italian gnocchi, but with more cheese, and I believe it was fried. The gnocchi, whatever their composition, absorbed the red wine sauce perfectly.
My first companion ordered the wild mushroom crepes, which were good, but a little plain in my opinion- they needed a little something to make them more interesting. My companion on the second visit ordered the hanger steak with a bordelaise sauce, which was served with some of the most delicious pommes frites I have ever had the pleasure of tasting. The steak was similarly good.
I had desert once- a baked apple galette, which was flaky and delicious, with a nice cold scoop of vanilla ice cream, which slowly melted on the warm apples. A fantastic end to a great meal.
To conclude: Django delivers extremely good food, in a wonderful atmosphere at very reasonable prices. Go there.