Write a review for Django

by Bruce

I'm in Des Moines about once a year for business, and I always try to have our work dinners at Django's. I've been impressed each time by the food, as have my co-workers.

This time I had their Hanger Steak, medium cooked. Excellent!

Desserts are also impressive each time.

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by gringolin

Dizzle, The truth hurts.
too bad. looks like you have only written 1 review. so who works where?
I have documentation about food poisoning from this chef, which is probably you.

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by Foodlvr

They have really good food and the atmosphere is great. The only real issue I have is there is an underlying smell of bad fish, which would indicate to me that the food isn't all that fresh, but I'm sure it is since they are so busy. Maybe it needs a good scrub! Service has been hit or miss.

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by A and D


A and D made reservations at Django for their first visit on a Tuesday evening.

Parking on the street is difficult, but the new city parking garage across the street works well. Park, use the elevator, exit the lobby and cross 10th Street to the restaurant entrance. Parking is $4 in the evening.

The restaurant entrance is reminescent of a French bistro/brasserie. A huge antique map of Paris hung on the wall adds to the feeling. Lighting at the entrance is gentle and the reservation desk inviting. The hostess met us with a large and welcoming smile, noted our reservation and immediately led us to a quiet table.

The decor is French; old glass wine and vinegar balloon bottles, dark wood, wine cabinets, and architectural detailing with a European flair. The central raw bar is stunning with its load of fresh oysters, clams, mussels, shrimp and prepared seafood platters.

Table service is another classic bistro touch -- bentwood chairs, dark wood tabletop, white napkins, heavy silverware, unique plates. Perfect choices for the French illusions.

The menu is a work of art. Not only is it interesting and fun to read, but there are clever twists to the names of various dishes. The range of dishes is another surprise. This may be the best thought-out menu in all of Des Moines. Offered are starters of fresh, raw seafood, classic French dishes, charcuterie flights, wine flights and tastings, the prix fixe menu, the extensive wine menu, and daily specials. The diner's choices have been thought about and planned carefully. The entree selections are extensive, creative, new and exciting.

A began with a classic shrimp cocktail: large, crisp, fresh shrimp, a delicious sauce, all served in a large Martini glass. D began with classic sweetbreads: generous portions of each of the two types of sweetbread; a reduction that touched on the sublime; toast points and flavorful 'chunks' of bacon throughout the sauce. A magical dish and one of the best preparations ever tasted anywhere in the world by this sweetbread lover.

A ordered the hanger steak and twice-fried frites, again a classic French frite preparation ( a la The Market). The cut of steak is naturally dense, but the flavor of Django's version is extraordinary when prepared to a perfect medium rare as this dish was. The Bearnaise sauce was full of good flavor, thick and rich. A superb entree and superb cooking.

D ordered grouper with shrimp and mussels. The grouper filet was thick, perfectly cooked and full of flavor. The accompanying shrimp were tasty, as well. A mussel had gone off, as happens, and its rather unpleasant flavor was but a slight error in preparation. The fish was served over a bed of French haricot verts and strawed carrots, perfectly crunchy and retaining color and flavor, as expected. A very good dish.

A and D brough a bottle of Frank Family sparkling wine from a prior Napa trip. Frank Family is one of those small treasures of a vineyard and winery that produces exceptional wines and sells them entirely at the winery. Django is very intelligent regarding wine and corkage. There is no corkage fee charged (actually they do charge on the bill, but deduct the charge at the same time, so you see what a value you are getting). Our server provided a full champagne wine service, as if we were buying from the wine list. This waiving of the corkage fee is brilliant, as it allows the diners to spend more money on other menu items, such as cheese platters, after dinner port or brandy, other wines by the glass, desserts, and espresso or cappuccino, all of which A and D took advantage of having.

Dessert was a malted milk chocolate creme brulee for A, which was perfection with a hard, flavor-filled crust and a rich, velvet chocolate custard. This was a dessert made by a pro. D had a cheese plate consisting of three wonderful selections, a small apple and lettuce salad, a rich chutney, flat-bread crackers and a selection of olive-oil cured black olives: in a word--sumptuous. The cheeses were an aged gouda, a creamy blue and a unique coconut-flavored goat cheese; all were delightful.

After dessert, a glass of 20 year-old port for D and a brandy for A, followed by cappuccino. The perfect finish for a fine dining experience.

Service is very professional. A and D's server, Lou, was that wonderful blend of youth and talent; relaxed and professional; skilled and friendly. Her service skills, such as wine attention, were unobtrusive. She did not do the "Hi, I"m XYZ, and I'll be your server;" rather, she was a fully-developed professional like one finds in the great restaurants of Quebec and France: attentive and uninterruptive; knowledgeable and succinct; aware and watchful; and with perfect timing.

The tarriff was: $79 for food; drinks $42; tax $8; gratuity $30; total $159. For this quality of food, service, ambiance and skill, that is a very fair cost, especially as A and D spent an extra $42 on port, other wine, and brandy. Without these birthday celebratory add-ons, the experience would have been about $115, a VERY good value.

Django is, in our opinion, the best Des Moines has to offer. Congratulations to the owners, the chefs, the servers and the staff.

Ingredients: Excellent
Cooking: Excellent
Menu: Superb
Service: Excellent
Convenience: Good
Ambiance: Superb

4.5 stars as there is always the potential for improvement, but Django has doubtless moved to the position of Des Moines' best restaurant. It is nice to see such a success, especially in these difficult economic times. Now, if Des Moines will support this fine restaurant, we will all be the beneficiaries for years to come.

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by dizzle

As a returning resident of Des Moines, I take solace in knowing that some of my favorite restaurants are still making delicious food after 4 years. Django had only recently opened before I moved away but was making great French-inspired dishes from the beginning. I went back Wednesday and had an ample, well-dressed and fresh salad to start and a wonderful scallop dish for entree- perfectly seared and delicious. Service was adequate. Although he always seemed harried and never made eye contact, the table of four was never left wanting.
The main reason that I wrote this review, however, was to call 'gringolin' and 'Craigs' out. They are likely the same person, posting their very negative reviews for both Django and Centro at the same time. They both had time to give another restaurant a GLOWING review, though, which makes me think that they perhaps work there? My point, finally, is both of these fools are lying and that this a really rude and childish way to spread rumors.

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by Craigs

The service was the worst!! The waitress made us feel as if she was doing us a favor by serving us. Our entrees were cold, and without Flavor.In Des Moines, There are too many better places to eat at than this one, Save your time, and money.

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by gringolin

If this is good french cusine in Des Moines, I would hate to taste bad french cusine here. What a complete waste of money.... FRENCH fries at McDonalds are more french than this establishment. Yuck,Yuck,Yuck !! I am sorry i ever set foot inside this place!

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Tips for Django from foursquare users

Kenny Y.

Best happy hour in town. Bartenders know their stuff.

5 people have done this

Mike T.

Try Le Royale with Cheese, of Pulp Fiction fame. This tasty burger is topped with a fried egg.

4 people have done this and 9 others want to

Andy H.

French onion soup is fantastic!!!

2 people have done this and 2 others want to

sarah b.

Make sure you visit Michael B. at the bar. Best bartender!

2 people have done this and 1 other wants to

Doug J.

The calamari is outstanding, but leave the salad in the kitchen. The Scallops St John is excellent as well.

2 people have done this

Matthew S.

amazing duck confit. or try the la belle farm!

2 people have done this

Tyler S.

The Hanger Steak is amazing!

2 people have done this

Justin B.

Want to amaze your taste buds? Get The French Quarter! All I can say is "wow!"

2 people have done this

Pamela H.

No corkage fees; great service!

1 person has done this and 1 other wants to

kristin t.

The seared sea scallops entree is absolutely amazing. And $1 oysters during happy hour is hard to beat!

1 person has done this


See Pete for the Bond inspired drink called the Vesper. Best one in Des Moines.

1 person has done this


See Pete for the Bond inspired drink called the Vesper. Best one in Des Moines.

1 person has done this


See Pete for the Bond inspired drink called the Vesper. Best one in Des Moines.

1 person has done this

Adam L.

The roasted chicken is great, but the mashed potatoes are a bit too garlicky for my taste. Asparagus was grilled perfectly.

1 person has done this

Tom B.

Duck frites! Eat them!

1 person has done this

Josh B.

NY Strip Au Poivre. NY strip steak? And au poivre sauce? Heaven on earth my friends.

1 person has done this

Vincent L.

Le Cheeseburger...need i say more?

1 person has done this

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