I am currently sitting at Appare with a party of 8. We have been here since 7 and half of the table has their food. Some has been sent back cold, waters are empty, the bartender ignored us, they only gave us 4 menus, oh and the place isn\'t even half full. Won\'t come back for sure!
- 3769 NW 86th St, Urbandale, IA 50322
- (515) 252-6358
There are 2 parts to appare, the hibachi and the sushi.
I'm not a huge hibachi fan, but I've been here twice for hibachi and it was great. I've been here plenty more times for sushi and have been constantly disappointed.
The fish at Appare is some of the least fresh fish I have tasted in Des Moines. Seriously, I ordered a ton of Sashimi and Nigiri here once and every single piece of fish I had on my plate tasted the same. The white tuna tasted like the tuna, which tasted like the yellow tail, which tasted like the smoked salmon... these cuts of fish should all be very distinct flavors.
That said, definitely do not get sashimi (or even nigiri) here. But most of their rolls are pretty OK... it's easy to mask fish flavor with sauces, nori, and other ingredients. I've not had a roll at Appare that was straight up bad... so if you wind up here for sushi - definitely go for the rolls.
I've had pretty good service at Appare as well as absolutely horrible service. If you come here for hibachi, you will have a good time and have good service. If you come here for sushi, you may have poor service and questionable sushi.
I loved this place until I went to their "Buy one, get one free" Hibachi deal on Monday evening. It's completely bogus! Not only do they upcharge the meals (Chicken Habachi is usually $17, but on Monday is mysteriously $23), but they also tack on an enormous "service charge." I think my family ended up saving $5.
Has been this place for twice. Thought it was a good place in the first visit. But not the second time. Service was very slow, people were working there didn't seem very happy, food were different (taste/potion) compare the first time visit, it took 10 mins to get my change back...Thought I found a good restaurant in town, I guess not...Do not like any place that do not offer consistently good food. Which has to depend on which is your lucky day or who is the chef working that day...
I've been to Appare twice - and both times I got very sick! I waited 2 years after going there first time, thinking maybe their food quality will improve - but no, 2nd time was the same thing!
Last time we had a group of 4 people - 3 ordered sushi and 1 got a noodle dish. His dish came out 15-20 minutes before our sushi did, and he, not wanting to be rude - waited for our food to come out before he ate. By then his noodles were completely cold. The waitress came by several times and saw that nobody else's food was out yet and that my friend wasn't planning to eat his yet - she never once offered to take it back and keep it warm or anything. How can a restaurant be so bad at timing the delivery of food for the entire table?? Unacceptable! The only reason I didn't send his food back was because my friend didn't want to make a scene.
Very slow service - we waited about 45 minutes for our sushi. And it obviously wasn't worth the wait - I got sick from it. I can go to Samurai or Taki, and receive much better service, and never once did I get sick there.
Appare, I gave you 2 chances - no more!
Best Sushi in town!! More people need to check this place out! Great prices and specials. My new favorite sushi bar in town!
Simply the best Sushi in Greater Des Moines. Service is good, Sushi Chefs are outstanding and Saki bombs, well they taste good too. Seafood soup for two is great. Millenuim and Rock & Roll are my favorite rolls off the menu, but don't be afraid to let the Sushi Chef's make a special roll. Five stars and a Yeah baby!!!
My wife and I tried out Appare recently (Oct 18) for sushi. Normally for sushi we head to Wok in Motion in West Glen. My impressions:
**Service was outstanding. Our drinks (soda and iced tea - we don't drink alcohol very often) rarely got below a half glass before they were refilled. Our appetizer came out piping hot and the sushi was delivered quickly. Our waitress was very personable and attentive. For me, service is almost more important that the quality of food and the staff at Appare knocked it out of the park in this area. In contrast, we have had nothing but terrible service over multiple visits at Taki which is the main reason we will no longer spend our money there.
**The atmosphere was quiet and romantic. The only weird thing was the techno music being played, resulting in me giving a 4.5 rating rather than a 5.
**The food. We ordered the tempura sweet potato for an appetizer. It came out very hot. The sushi came out shortly after and blew me away. The presentation was the best of any sushi meal Ive had and far and away above the other sushi places in town. Taste and quality was very high, definitely a step up from Taki, Wok, or the Waterfront.
**Price. A little on the high side, but I feel like I got my moneys worth from the outstanding service and sushi.
**Judgment - this has become one of my new favorite local restaurants and will be our main destination for sushi. We are long-time Ohana patrons, but I am very interested to try out the steakhouse side of Appare for comparison. If the steakhouse side is as good as the sushi side, then this will definitely be our main destination for Japanese food.
My friends and I absolutely love Appare! Great atmosphere and excellent sushi and service. You have to have Evan as your server, he is terrific and has great ideas and suggestions that make the food even that much better!
Our family LOVES Appare. We have been going there for over a year. In our opinion, the food and service are better than Taki. While we like Taki, I think it has become a trendy "place to see and be seen". Appare, on the other hand, seems to be more low key.
If you are a novice to the world of sushi and sashimi, I recommend you go to the restaurant on Wednesday, Friday or Saturday night. Those are the nights that our favorite waiter, Evan, works. (He's the bald headed guy mentioned in another review on this site.) He is friendly, very knowledgeable and is very good at making recommendations. We are at the point now, where we don't even order off of the menu. Evan knows what we like and brings out new rolls that have been developed by the sushi chefs. We have done this 3-4 times now, and have never had the same thing twice unless we specifically request it.
I am surprised at some of the other reviews that are on this website. We have never had bad service or bad food. I highly recommend Appare!
I am a sushi/sashimi novice so I cannot speak to the quality of either. Our waitress the night we were there was very attentive. The time between appetizers and our entree's was fairly short. I didn't think the tempura sweet potatoes were very good, overly greasy and generally bland. The miso soup was ok, but the dressing on the salad was horrid and looked congealed as if it had been prepped hours prior. Our entree's were delicious and the portions were quite large.
The ambiance and set-up of the restaurant doesn't impress. It feels like exactly what it is, a strip-mall restaurant. I expected the restaurant to have a more authentic feel to it, so that it felt like an experience and not just dinner.
I will return to Appare.
Excellent Japanese food! I have been here three times for the hibachi show. The food is always wonderful! It's just as good if not better than Taki and you don't have to make reservations a week in advanced just to get in.
I should have known we were in for trouble when I asked when the fish came in and was first told, "don't worry" by the lead sushi bar chef.
We didn't get sick, and it was neither the best nor worst sushi/sashimi I've ever had, but the salmon and yellowtail sashimi were clearly a couple of days old, tasting somewhat dry rather than the buttery/sweet/meaty flavor that these firm-fleshed fish should have.
Service was mediocre at best, but we went in expecting that. The suhshi chefs were non-communicative and the lead chef did some prep-work on fish in front of us, which was somewhat revealing. The knife was only very rarely wiped "within-species" cutting, and occasionally wiped "across-species" cutting.
The food was about on par with sashimi available at Target, and the service was as indicated in other reviews. Eat here knowing that you'll get a plate of food (from the sushi bar) that is a dollar or so cheaper, of poorer quality, and assembled with less care than other places, and you'll get what you expect.
The seafood soup, on the other hand, was a really good value at $7 for 2 people - it was certainly not what I'd traditionally go to the sushi bar for, but well worth the trip in itself.
I really like this place. The manager Ken is a very nice guy and has always made us feel at home and like we are special. The servers can often be slow, but the food makes up for it. I thought this place had the best sushi until Miyabi 9 came to town. It is still second best, and the sushi chefs are quite entertaining when you sit at the sushi bar. If this place had opened up before Taki, Taki would be nonexistent.
Appare prepares the best sushi that I have ever had in Des Moines. That being said, I am giving it a 4 because they are still lacking in several critical areas that diminish the overall dining experience.
The space isn't that cool. They recently moved the host(ess) stand and tweaked some of the decor, but the space is still massive. I went with friends and someone (a first time visitor) said, "this place must suck - look how dead it is in here". This was said, even though there must have been 100 people in there. the space is too big - no matter what time I go, I always feel like I am hitting up some kind of crazy 4:30pm early bird buffet.
The service is lacking, at best. The only redeeming aspect of the service is some bald waiter dude who really knows his stuff. He makes both the rookie sushi eaters and the experienced patrons, feel comfortable and when I sit in his section I always learn a thing or two. Every other server has been pretty much horrendous. So, if you visit and see some Mr. Clean looking dude, try to sit in his section. The owner guy is pretty good too. He's funny and comes by the tables to see how everyone is doing.
In the back of the resturant there are those little private booths where you take you shoes off and sit on the ground. Haven't sat in there, but I have at other places and it is pretty fun. Might be worth looking in to.
A couple of my favorite items were the Conch Roll - it had some name like Sea Coast or Sea Scape or something. Also, the white tuna sashami is AMAZING - so buttery delicious!
Check it out!
This half star is entirely based on terrible service. The food was okay, not great.
After quoting us a ten minute wait time, the host left us in the bar for forty-five. When we came to check on our status, she told us it would be twenty-five to thirty more. We waited in the bar, by then fuming mad, and two minutes before our server retrieved us, the bartender told us that we could order at the bar. File this under the category: Information that would have been useful an hour ago.
The really frustrating part was that when our server came to get us twenty minutes later, she sat us at a table that was empty when we had checked with the host after waiting forty-five. Three more tables that had also been empty since the host "re-quoted" us were still empty. Leaving the tables empty would be understandable if they didn't have the staff to service them, but the other empty tables were seated within ten minutes after we sat down. Plus, nobody mentioned that the sushi bar was first-come-first serve, and, Surprise! it was empty too. The lesson is probably come for Hibachi, the restaurant ignores you otherwise.
Now, I admit, nothing could salvage our experience at this point. We were already never coming back. Taki will at least let you know that it is going to be a really long wait. But our server at Appare was bad. She was pleasant, but sorely unskilled. My wife ordered soup and an appetizer, I ordered sushi. Her soup came first, fairly quickly. It was decent mushroom soup. A long time later, my sushi came. I had quite a bit, and my wife insisted that I start without her, and I was almost finished before our appetizer came. If our server had been busy, this might have been acceptable, but we listened to her talk to a nearby table for fifteen minutes. Horrendous.
I heartily discourage eating at Appare. Taki is so close, and despite what Des Moines Alive resident food (and it seems all-around) snobs A & D say, Taki makes much better sushi.
Appare has become one of my few regular destinations, specifically for the surprisingly fresh sashimi which is one of the best lunch specials in Des Moines. I was more than pleasantly surprised to find a restaurant in Iowa that truly flies in fresh, high-quality sashimi grade fish several times a week. In my experience, the best days to go for the sashimi are Wednesday and Friday. Teppanyaki is not really my thing, but the negimaki was better than most when I had it.
In terms of the menu, they do a good-standard miso soup, although I've also been underwhelmed by their mushroom soup when it is offered. Their ginger dressing has gotten better lately, although I still prefer the "crisper" ginger taste at Taki, while Appare's is sweeter. The green tea is fantastic, with a faint oyster taste.
I've now had all of their regular offerings, and they have become less experimental in the 2nd half of 2008. Early in the year, the sashimi platters were more Japanese - with a surprising mix that may include squid and even uni once. Now, unless you ask for Japanese style, you get an American mix of sake, maguro, saba, and ebi, with maybe a piece of unagi or hirame. This makes sense, because the younger American crowd enjoys slightly sweet, meaty flavors more than the fishy flavors of uni or masago more popular in Japan.
The maki are a little more varied. I really did not enjoy their flagship AJ'S roll. But both their Dragon and Rainbow rolls are very good standbys. I've never liked cream-cheese in maki, but when the Las Vegas showed up as a special selection in a Party Tray - I was floored. It was one of the best American specialty rolls that I've had. The Seafood Fantasy maki has also become a special treat for my wife and me.
They did a good job with the atmosphere, but it is almost too big. Unless you go on a Friday or Saturday night, the restaurant will usually appear mostly empty. But make sure and look at who is eating. There are almost always one or more tables of Japanese, and also frequently Korean or Chinese sitting down. I didn't see this when I used to frequent Taki, but maybe the meat-market crowd there was just hiding them.
My Family had a GREAT time. It was my kids first experience, and the LOVED it. Our Chef was fun and prepared and excellent meal. Service was GREAT!!!
I have been there once for a celebration and I fell in love with their services as well as the food there right away. I like the ambiance of the restaurant, it gives me a feeling of relaxation and a good place to enjoy Japanese food.
From my observation, I noticed that there are five sections in the restaurant. They have an ordinary dining place for individual, family, and business dinner. Then a sushi bar for sushi lovers! For those who would like to see some demonstrations while having dinner, they do offer a great place (a square table surrounded the stove) where a chef will demonstrate his cooking skills while serving his guests. The other two types of room are party room and the traditional Japanese Tatami room for gathering or any kind of celebrations respectively.
After falling in love on the first sight, my friends and I went there again on Monday (Oct 15, 2007). We had a Party Tray (full of delicious and FRESH sushi and sashimi), Spider Roll (soft shell crab roll), Kaki Fried, Octopus Salad, Salmon Hibachi, Seafood Udon, Beef Glass Noodles and Plum Sake. Food are so lovely and tasty! Before I forget, we had mochi ice-cream as the dessert of the night! That's just so great, a mouthful of refreshing mochi ice-cream. There are five flavors - Red Bean, Strawberry, Mango, Vanilla and Green Tea. These are MUST-TRY items, if you plan to visit Appare Japanese Steakhouse for your next trip!
Overall, good services, good food, worth for the price you are going to pay, and it has an ambiance environment.
I thought it was great. Better food and service than both Taki and Ohana. After trying the sushi here I will not return to Taki.
before I wrote, I have some questions to ask A&D about their reviews. Honestly speaking, I found they prefer Waterfront to other Japanese restaurants. I don't know did they have any interests in Waterfront. Secondly I have been working in Japanese Restaurant over 30 years and I am retiring now. I have been visited all Japanese restaurants and figure it out all of them are almost same. Unfortunately, I read the command by A&D they look like have some interests in waterfront. Do they really have a fair and equal to every restaurant. I am not challenging against their experience and knoweldge but I just querry how much they know the Japanese food. Can they tell me How many mainsteam cooking style in Japan. Do the taste is same or different (cook the same material)
Recently I visited this restaurant. I just order serveral dishes and found the taste alright as standard. Service and stomsphere are good except the music is a little bit too loud.
I didn't expect great sushi in Iowa, but Appare offeres above average sushi that you can find in the United States.
(I prefer traditional sushi but I also enjoy American Sushi - Spicy Tuna, Dragon, California roll etc... ,too.)
In my opinion, the sushi pc is a bit smaller than I expected & sushi rice needs more vinegar, but all sushi/sasimi are really fresh. (When you eat those fresh, you can taste "sweetness" of fish meat not smelly dead fish)
This is my fist review(just moved from California. originally from Japan) and I will visit other Japanese Restaurant in the area :) Hope I will do better review.
This was one of the worst restaurants I have ever eaten at. Not only was the service below par, the food was horrible. I would not eat there again if someone gave me a free meal.
The service and food was excellent. Some of the best sushi I have had to date.
An aside against AandD - you talk about how you've had all this authentic Japanese food, etc, but then go and make a comment like 'Appare has apparently joined the nouveau-arrogant class of restaurants that offer no salt or pepper at the table under the assumption that their chef's seasoning is acceptable to every palette'... how is this nouveau-arrogant? In Japan, if you use much wasabi or soy sauce even, it is considered very very rude, let alone adding good 'ole American salt n' pepper.
We just had the best service and sushi. This was a very pleasant experience for my entire family. The staff at this restaurant made my birthday one of the best.
The atmosphere was very relaxing, spacious and comfortable to share a holiday in. The food was excellent !!!!!
I would highly recommend this restaurant to all my friends and family.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect after 10 years of disappointing sushi experiences in Iowa (yes, I know it's Iowa, but Iowa does many things right). But Appare was a great surprise. The rice was the way it was supposed to be, the sushi was served the way it was supposed to be served, and there were many authentic sushi offerings, not just Americanized items with ridiculous names and odd compilations thrown together with a piece of nori...
I was in sushi heaven. Salmon skin rolls (hand rolls, no less!), fabulous tako, unagi, ebi, uni, etc. were all excellent. Unfortunately they were out of toro, one of my favorites. But the hamachi was so good my companion was teasing me about the faces I was making.
If you like sushi, try Appare. This is what sushi is supposed to be. Not cream cheese. Not jalapenos. Not all that other goofy stuff some places throw on top of last night's left over rice from the chicken and rice...
Appare Japanese Steakhouse
March 17, 2007
A and D frequently try Japanese restaurants, particularly for the sushi, tempura and the various katsu and katsu-don dishes. We are not followers of the Teppanyaki cuisine as we both have long since gone beyond the Bennihana comic-food routines. Plus D lived in Japan for years and experienced the original Bennihana in Tokyo where serious, authentic and traditional Teppanyaki cooking was observed.
In Japan, Teppanyaki is a serious culinary art form, whereas here in the U.S., it has simply degraded into “catch a piece of flipped shrimp in your mouth” and “everybody laugh at the scallop caught in the toque” routines. So, our first visit to Appare was focused on the sushi and tempura.
The restaurant was previously The King’s Buffet, a faux-Chinese all-you-can-eat place that went out of business some time ago. They left the cement Chinese dragons flanking the entrance and that immediately seems odd for a Japanese restaurant.
The newly remodeled Appare is a large space and is divided into a bar and lounge area, a sushi bar, a general dining area with tables and booths, and the Teppanyaki room at the rear. In appearance, it is almost too large, lacking the intimacy and understated elegance that is found in true Japanese restaurants. Throughout the restaurant are the all the usual clichés of Japanese décor and ‘art.’
The menu is large, having choices in appetizers, soups, sushi, tempura, special dinner combinations, katsu, and other selections. The wine list is surprisingly interesting with a number of respectable California wines at reasonable prices; a full bar offers martinis and a complete drink selection.
Both A and D ordered the mushroom soup at a reasonable $2.00. As a starter, this was a generous serving. D was anticipating the wonderful mushroom soup of past experience in Japan, a steaming, fragrant and mystical thin soup with scallions and Nameko mushrooms giving up their earthy flavors and accenting the broth with their loamy and rich scent. Instead, A and D were served bowls of canned chicken broth with two tiny slices of white mushrooms and a microscopic slice of scallion. This is a pale Americanized version of what in Japan is high culinary art in the bowl.
A ordered the Japanese side salad with a ginger-based soy dressing. The salad was mostly iceberg lettuce and the dressing was weak without the tantalizing zing expected from the soy-ginger one hopes for.
A ordered the Tempura selection. This consisted of chicken slices, and slices of sweet potato, onion, and broccoli. The dish was done more with panko breading then a true Tempura batter, and it did not have that classic Tempura semi-transparent glaze that marks the preparations of a Tempura master.
Tempura consists of a classic Japanese batter made of ice cold water, flour and eggs. Small, dry, bite-sized pieces fish, chicken, and vegetables are dipped in flour, then in batter, and then deep fried for 2-3 minutes. In good Tempura restaurants, sesame oil is used to accomplish the high-temperature, rapid frying that fixes the batter. The various coated foods are stirred, turned and removed with the long Japanese cooking chopsticks, or sai-hashi.
Western chefs frequently include tempura dishes on their menus but seldom with authentic results. This largely stems from a misunderstanding about mixing the batter which, in classic Tempura cookery must be beaten until semi-combined. Good tempura batter is mixed with o-hashi (chopsticks) but only for a few seconds. This leaves various lumps in the mixture which result in the unique tempura structure when cooked. Also critical to success is that tempura batter be freshly made, with ice-cold water, in small, hand-made batches. Appare has chosen to use a commercial, panko crumb mix that is a far cry from true Tempura batter. The result is self-evident.
D chose a sushi selection of soft-shelled crab (Spider Roll), squid, octopus, and salmon roe. The deep-fried futomaki crab was excellent, however the sushi rice, sushi-meshi or shari, did not hold together as well as it should and resulted in a breaking up of the slices when lifted with the o-hashi. The mark of a well-constructed futomaki sushi dish is the ability to lift the bites to the mouth without having them deconstruct. This is an indication of the amount of pressure exerted on the bamboo rolling mat, the makisu, and the consistency or ‘stickiness’ of the rice itself.
The Salmon Roe was superb. This was the true Gunkan-maki version of Nigiri-sushi. Wrapped in nori (seaweed), this contained an excellent salmon roe with a delicate, fresh flavor, most likely Alaskan chum salmon eggs. The roe was plump, shiny, and ‘popped’ against the roof of the mouth, all indications of freshness and quality.
The second Nigiri-sushi selection, the squid, was equally fresh. The flesh was near-transparent, tender and flavorful. The under layer of rice was well cooked and delivered a silky mouth-feel which was accented with gari, or ginger slice, and a hint of wasabi. Excellent squid.
The Octopus, also a nigiri sushi dish, was as it should be: chewy, fresh and banded with a nori strip. D could have enjoyed six of these nigiri, but settled for the two at $6.00.
The sushi dishes are quite good at Appare. Compared to other area sushi bars, they are a bit pricey; two nigiri rather than four at nearly the same price, as an example. The Spider Roll at Appare is about half the size of that at Waterfront. And that leads A and D to the ultimate comparisons.
On a Tempura basis, Taki has a better Tempura dish and the elegant presentation is far above that of Appare. Waterfront is a very close second for Tempura. Appare is a distant third. Tempura is all about the classic batter and the elegance of visual presentation and Taki and Waterfront understand those essentials.
On a Sushi basis, Appare has the edge over Taki, but does not excel over Waterfront. Waterfront has more experienced Sushi chefs and the quality, portion size and price, as well as the construction of the dishes and the flavors take the lead. Plus, Waterfront’s integral fresh fish market adds substantially to the equation.
Every other sushi house in Des Moines (and the world, for that matter) offers a side dish of dipping sauce, or murasaki, with the futomaki, hosomaki and nigiri-sushi seafood selections. This was not so at Appare. No sushi dip was offered in the shallow, square dish. And, Appare has apparently joined the nouveau-arrogant class of restaurants that offer no salt or pepper at the table under the assumption that their chef's seasoning is acceptable to every palette.
Service was prompt. The server was overly caught up in the scripted and gratuitous “Oh, an excellent choice” nonsense. The Japanese restaurant culture is one of quiet, transparent graciousness; not the inane loud, brew-pub, write your name in crayon type of service and constant, “How was everything, Guys?” The total came to $45 plus a generous 15% gratuity.
Appare misses the mark. It is a pseudo-Japanese atmosphere with a decent Sushi selection, a not-so-good Tempura selection, and half of the enormous space devoted to the Teppanyaki comedy club. But, it is not a true Japanese restaurant.
Quality: 2.5 stars
Service: 2.5 stars
Ambiance: 2.5 stars
Recommended: Sushi only
I agree with the comment, "Try the hot tea" It is wonderful. The sushi was fresh, and the rice that came with the teppanyaki dinner was fabulous.
Great place...give it a try....we'll be back!
I have never recieved worse service than I did here. We waited a half hour for our drinks to show up and an hour just for the order to be taken. The check was messed up as well. I spent 3 hours at this place when it would have only taken 1 hour at Taki or Ohana. Don't count on this place being open for very long. I don't see how it was possible that the other 2 people who have left comments think so highly of this place.
A very nice new option for sushi in the Des Moines area. A spacious place, with a low-light atmosphere. Friendly service, the owner is on or around the floor and it shows (in a good way). Now visited twice - once for the teppanyaki and once for sushi - both times were very good experience. The sushi was fresh and tasted great. Try it for yourself.
Aparre is an excellent place to get sushi in the DM area. The interior is very stylish, the sushi menu is extensive, and the chefs are very friendly and helpful.
I am always a skeptic when it comes to new sushi restaurants, but Aparre has very fresh fish, some creative rolls, and excellent appetizers. And try the hot tea, you'll thank me.
Come to Appare for amazing food and exceptional drinks with me the lovely bartender:)
Go to Appare Japanese Steakhouse on Monday nights. Hibachi entrees are buy one, get one free. Sushi is 30% off, too.
They love me here. LOL
Order the Ocean's Delight Roll. Best roll not on the menu. Las Vegas maki roll is best warm roll on the menu. Squid salad is best in town.
Fabulous place for lunch!
Appare is the shiiiiiiiiiiit!
The chefs specialty menu is where it's at. A little more expensive, but everything is delicious!
Don't come here if you don't like sushi.
The 2 in 1 roll is amazing