The food is amazing, but I wouldn't go back due to the poor management. Long story short, I arranged for a holiday party to be held at Basil's this past year. I called several times to confirm and the last time I called he said my reservation had been cancelled! Realizing it was a mistake, the manager didn't even try to make the situation right, just tried to cover it up. Again, the food is great and I love the setting, but unless this restaurant gets a new manager, I believe it will be run into the ground.
Oh, how I wanted to love this place, but they just didn’t live up to my expectations. I have read so many wonderful things about Basil Prosperi Bakery (from the review below to the Des Moines Register). I thought “what a unique dining experience” and really liked the idea of a prix-fixe bistro on Fridays and Saturdays.
So here is it, I called for reservations on Friday and had to call back 3 times to find out what was on the dinner menu because no one seemed to know (I have a seafood allergy). When my party entered I was a bit taken back on how informal-formal it was. You feel as if you should be put to work instead of entering and eating at this establishment. To your right are stacked pots and dishes, you walk through the kitchen to a very maintenance-shop type bathroom.
We were seated and the waitress promptly told us that the table was ours for the night if we like and we can go as slow or fast as we want. I loved this idea. As she proceeded to tell us about the meals, she really had no idea want she was explaining, she proceeded to tell us that she had only been at Basil Prosperi Bakery a short time and hadn’t tried all the dishes, but she also had to refer to a “cheat sheet” for explanations of the courses. Her honesty was refreshing, but knowing the 3 dishes you serve that night shouldn’t be a hard task.
As for the food, I had for my first course Thai Chicken Soup and it was good. My dinner course was the pork loin with a potato pancake; I think the pancake won over the pork loin on taste. The salad was beets and goat cheese with balsamic vingarette, which I enjoyed, but mixed reviews at my table. The cheese course was different; I am not much of a cheese connoisseur (it might have been great I wouldn’t really know). As for dessert, it doesn’t come with the prix-fixe meal, but it is an option and it was worth it. I had a dark and white chocolate cake. The drinks, they really specialize in wine here, which is fine, but if you want anything else, choices of 3 bottle beers and some Coke beverages.
Basil Prosperi Bakery did not live up to my expectations; I would say it was better than the average restaurants, apparently not as good as some of the other bistros around Des Moines, I just felt the experience as a whole wasn't worth the $80 spent.
After reading through some of the reviews on this site, it's fairly obvious that the people posting on this site are a little too generous with the stars when it comes to ratings. If there is one restaurant in Des Moines that deserves them, it's this one.
During weekdays, you'll find amazing breads and baked goods, a fantastic lunch menu, along with wines and cheeses that you will find at precisely ZERO other places in town. Seriously world-class goods.
These are all great features for a restaurant / bakery, but Friday and Saturday nights are when this place really shines, as a prix-fixe bistro. For a mere $25, you'll find the best 4-course meal in Iowa, including a cheese course that I have yet to see equalled in ANY city.
Unlike restaurants of similar quality around town, the atmosphere at Basil Prosperi is loose and fun. Casual, while remaining upscale. This place takes itself seriously, without becoming inhospitable. When conversations run dry, you can occupy your time watching their bakers preparing the next days bread, or marvel at the sleek, minimal interior.
The wait staff is professional, and accomodating. They know what they are serving, and love to tell you about it. They know when to step in, and when to leave you alone, and that is a very valuable quality.
The wine selection is masterfully assembled, and is full of bottles that are seldom seen in Des Moines. The food is wonderfully prepared, and thoughtful. On a bitter cold winter night, for my opener, I enjoyed a butternut squash soup that was warm, thick and rich enough to make me forget all about scraping my windows after dinner. It's hard for me to imagine that this was an accident. This place knows how to tug diners culinary heartstrings in the best way possible.
When offered an additional dessert course, TAKE IT. It is always well worth the 4$.
I can't say enough good things about this restaurant. 5 stars, hands down.