So Shannon and I went out on a date, and on the recommendation of my boss, we headed down to Dos Rios. Afterwards, we saw Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, which was really good.
316 Court Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50309
We went in early, hoping to beat any sort of rush and to make the 7 something showing of Sweeney Todd. The restaurant is down on Court, which can make parking kind of annoying, but after a bit of a search we found a place to park. The first thing that I noticed was that the sign indicating the place, was covered up by the snow that was on over hang. Probably not the best of ideas, but snow can also be a pain in the bum.
Being early, we were seated right away. Quickly and efficiently by a pleasant woman. The decor of the place was fairy modern, with what appeared to be metal Aztecish ladies at the back of main area with star lights hanging from the ceiling. There was a mix of techno with general Mexican themes in the background...maybe a little louder then I liked, but it went well with the modern chic theme they were going for. One of the songs that we heard during the night was an odd take on a Rolling Stones song. After dinner, Shannon noticed the sinks in the restroom were narrow and rectangular. She said it was kind of odd, considering with the pressure of the water, it seemed to splatter at the end of the sink a bit...I think she also mentioned that they were touchless...
We were seated near the end of the restaurant, providing us a nice view of Court, so that we could both people watch, if we were so inclined. And we were handed menus (menu, drink menu, tequila menu) and were told about the basic theory behind the place (Authentic food using as many fresh and locally sourced food as they can). Niman ranch pork (based in California with some Iowan farms) and Sheeder Farms chicken were prominently displayed on the menu. We weren't given much time, but quickly ordered a few drinks. I had a 9$ Mojito...yeah...a bit much, but they were pretty good. I just noticed that there is a discrepancy on the bill. A minor one, but one none the less. Shannon was originally told that they had all the Mexican soda flavors available, but when she ordered the Limon one, she was brought Pineapple, and told that contrary to what our waitress was originally told, they were out of Limon. So she'd cover this one...which...well...she didn't. I can understand hey, come back and say we don't have X so you'll need to order something else, but if you say you are gonna cover the cost of something, you probably should...
Anyways...we ordered (from their menu):
Guacamole – Mashed Table side, Tomato, roasted poblanos, red onion, cilantro & lime served with Dos Rios spiced tortilla chips. (we had it medium spiced)
Empanadas de Pato y Hongos – Flaky Home Made Duck Chorizo Turnovers
Pollo Rostizado – Mojo Marinated All Natural Sheeder Farms Half Chicken (Shannon)
Niman Ranch Pork Burrito (Description not on website)
Tres Leche de Chocolate – Chocolate Tres Leche Cake - Three milk soaked chocolate sponge cake with dulce de leche icing
Tamal de Manzana – Roasted Apple Crepe Tamale - Cinnamon roasted apples & raisins folded into a Mexican vanilla crepe
When they say mashed table side on the Guacamole, they really mean it. When we ordered it, a young man came over to our table, picked up our molcajete (basically a big stone bowl like a mortar and pestle) and proceeded to split open a couple of avocados, scooping them out, using some fresh ingredients, including the juice from part of a lime, he mixed and mashed us up some spicy, but not too Guacamole. Certainly interesting to watch. After he was finished, he brought us over some of the spiced tortilla chips. They were also very good and went very well together. I actually kind like a few chips to try and figure out the spices that were on the chips (I have guesses, but nothing firm).
Near the end of our Guacamole, we were brought out the Empanadas de Pato y Hongos (Duck Empanadas). Now these...these I could've spent the rest of the night eating. They were really good. Flaky crust, nice spicing and duck...how can you go wrong? It makes me think that the next time we go there, we should stick to the first's menu and just have a wide range of sampling of things.
I ordered a second Mojito. Did I mention that it had fresh mint in it? Along with what I think was raw sugar cane in it...pretty good...though still not worth the 9$...well I guess it might be, considering I had two...
A little bit later, we were served our mains. Good and simple presentation (not overly fancy, but purposefully placed). Shannon's chicken was excellent. and I mean excellent. Tender, not too spicy and juicy. I wanted to steal more. The rice was good, and the black beans that she was served were also good. My burrito...well I think the only drawback for me was the spice that they used. I couldn't decide if I liked it or not. Even though all of the individual parts were done very well. Tender pork, good beans and rice, the spicing really distracted me. And it's not that it was overly spicy...I was just...I don't know...unfamiliar with it, so, I wasn't sure. Now I'm not one who really wants spicing to be made milder just because we're in Iowa (well...ok maybe a little less spicy on the Thai food...but that's not what we're talking about here). I've been seen with a red face and a sheen of sweat from the spicy food...and that's not what it was....it was just...well...odd to me. It makes me curious as to what it was.
Even though I had mixed feelings on the burrito, it was still finished. Shannon boxed up about half of her half a chicken, along with a good portion of the beans and rice.
Dessert was pretty good. The cinnamon ice cream on the Tamal de Manzana was quite good and Shannon's Tres Leche de Chocolate was also very tasty. They were also not out of a box, which a lot of restaurants end up doing (which I find annoying). Afterwards, we got our check and headed off to the movie.
So, Overall, other then the extra 3$ charge that was said wouldn't be on there (not that big of a deal, since Shannon did have a Mexican soda), and my mixed feelings over the spicing of the burrito (the ingredients were great), it was a very good experience, and I'm looking forward to going again. And maybe trying some of the tequila (they said there are a few where they're the only restaurant in Iowa serving them).