9 June 2017
I headed out of Omaha, disappointed by that poor experience at The Grey Plume, for neighbouring Iowa — my third time in this state this year. I spent the day exploring the northern part of the state, places that few see. Yes, lots of farmland, but there are also surprised along the way. I got to Des Moines on a rather warm day knackered.
I had planned for dinner at a place downtown called Proof. I wasn’t sure why the hotel rates in Des Moines were so crazy this weekend, which left me at a distant suburb. Nevertheless the minute I sat down at the bar at Proof I knew the trek into town was worth it.
The bartender was a class act all night, and reminded me of some of the best mixologists I’ve seen — humble yet knowledgeable, willing to experiment, and a good person to chat with all night — without missing a step in service. I relaxed with a cocktail and looked over the menu. Cool little place, I can get to really like this like Boiler Room in Omaha.
I moved onto a second cocktail when my starter appeared — a halloumi salad.
Now you think halloumi in Iowa? Yes, and it was good — as halloumi always is. Throw in some grains, shoots and radish and you got a wonderful little starter. Nice! Then the main course, and I smiled.
This is a wonderful pork chop cooked perfectly from a wonderfully sourced animal. Lovely taste, bringing out the best of the pork without smothering it in some over-cheffed fashion. Excellent!
I was enjoying myself so much with the food, drinks and banter I ended up staying for quite a long time, and started the “test my bartender” thing by having him use me as a guinea pig for drink ideas. That was fun, and led me to order a dessert…well, my kind of dessert…
Yes, a nice meat and cheese plate. The sausage of the day was excellent, as were the cheeses — especially the prairie breeze. Worked so well with the cocktails. Perhaps a few too many, but a lovely evening with some excellent talent here. A cute place to enjoy an evening!
If you ever find yourself in Des Moines I seriously recommend this place. Fab food, excellent drinks, wonderful folks. It’ll surprise you, and you’ll never think about Iowa in the same way again!
1301 Locust Street
Des Moines, Iowa