RE: Jesse's Embers/Des Moines, Iowa
I just got back from a road trip to Des Moines and stopped at Irina's based on a review in the Des Moines Register. My recommendation to anyone near or traveling to Des Moines: add this restaurant to your must-go-to list.
I started with the Mussels Cioppino- done in a tomato garlic sauce: outstanding.
I then had the soup of the day, Borscht (go figure, Russian owners) Excellent!
The bread and salad were average, however, the house dressing, garlic cream, was a winner.
I had the Russian Pork Kabob for my main course: tender meat, excellent flavor with real garlic mashed potatoes.
The beer selection favors some fantastic foreign beers. I had a German beer, Can't recall the name, but it comes from one of the oldest breweries in Germany.
I ended the night with a shot of Stoli vodka Russian-style (pickle, etc). It should have been ice-cold but the drink still went down smooth.
And the best part, my waitress, Elaina, is from Russia. I had a chance to practice my admittedly horrible Russian with her. She even commented that I ate my meal like a real Russian man. I think that means she enjoyed all my lip-smacking grunts of pleasure (or she thinks I'm a slob).
I plan to return with camera in hand and try out not only the Russian dishes again but also the classic Des Moines traditions, such as Steak de Burgoo.