Jason Simon's new restaurant, Eatery A, opened its doors at 2932 Ingersoll Avenue in Des Moines back on April 22, and the restaurant has quickly become a fan favorite. The restaurant's beautiful interior, wood-fired pizzas, and tapas menu have been piling up positive Tweets and Facebook posts for weeks. Eatery A definitely has its strong points, but it still has plenty of room for improvement, too.
Eatery A's menu is a blend of vegetable dishes, soups, salads, pastas, pizzas, farm meats, and seafood. Vegetarians will have a large number of dishes to choose from, and meat eaters will find options like lamb, guanciale (Italian cured pork cheeks/jowls), hanger steak, lardo (cured fatback) and Merguez sausage that are not commonly found on Des Moines menus. The wood-fired pizzas are excellent; they are, by far, the best value on the menu at $13. I especially enjoyed #4 (prosciutto, guanciale, and lardo on olive oil) and #11 (Italian sausage, braised fennel, and mushroom on red sauce). The Stuffed Calamari ($9) and Roasted Lamb ($14) were also tasty bites, although I found the portions for both to be a little small, even for tapas fare. The Salted Caramel Budino ($7) was fabulous, though, again, small for the money.
While, there are a number of extremely flavorful treats to discover on Eatery A's menu, there are also a few that got my hopes up, only to dash them. The Chicken Croquettes ($7) were dry and bland, while the ($14) Ricotta Cavatelli's seasonings were a little overpowering. Overall, though, Eatery A has the beginnings of a wonderful menu—one that Chef Nic Gonwa is already making subtle changes to improve.
The service at Eatery A is excellent. The servers know all the dishes, and they are very attentive, cordial, and hard-working. These are very important characteristics in a new restaurant when you have a large dining room, a bar area, a patio, and several private party rooms to cover as a service squad.
As mentioned above, the restaurant's interior is gorgeous, and it is kept immaculately clean. However, the dining room is very loud and hard to hold a conversation in when the restaurant is busy (which is pretty much every night). If you are looking for a romantic dinner out, the dim lighting, drink selection, and variety of the menu will be great assets, but you may want to reserve a private room if you plan on conversing with your dining partner.
Eatery A is definitely off to an excellent start. With a few tweaks, I think that the restaurant will have a long, successful road ahead. Knowing Simon's track record, I would say that his new restaurant will be around for a long time.