When Sakura Hibachi Express closed its doors after a short run in the old Happy Joe's building at 1311 East Euclid Avenue in Des Moines, one had to wonder if the spot was just not a good location for a restaurant. The building had sat empty for years after Happy Joe's closed before Sakura finally moved in. Then Sakura closed in a little more than a year despite positive reviews. With several other restaurants within a five block radius (Iowa Beef Steakhouse, Village Inn, International Buffet, Scornovacca's Pizza, Pueblo Viejo Mexican Restaurant, and a ton of fast food options), maybe the area was over-saturated with restaurants. Perhaps the dining room was just too small, or the mortgage/lease was too steep. We may never know the real reason that no business had succeeded long term in that spot for years.
Then about six months ago, along came Pho All Seasons Vietnamese Restaurant. The restaurant opened in January and has seemingly been off to the same positive start that Sakura had enjoyed. The prices and portions are very reasonable, the staff is very friendly, and the food is delicious. Nothing on the menu is more than $9.95, and they offer a nice variety of dishes to choose from. I highly recommend the Shaking Beef (steak tossed with sweet bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes and topped with cilantro and green onion for $8.50), the Chicken Noodle Soup (pho noodles, chicken, cilantro, green onion, mint, and other seasonings in chicken broth, $6.95 medium/$7.95 large bowl), and the Salt and Pepper Calamari appetizer (fried calamari tossed with sweet bell pepper, onions, ginger, salt, and pepper and served with house sweet and sour sauce, $6.95). Check out pictures of these and other dishes in the accompanying slideshow.
Pho All Seasons has had its growing pains here and there. Their website is still just a landing page that doesn't even include their phone number. They usually just have one server working, which can lead to some waiting when the dining room fills up. They have also had a few maintenance issues, like an air conditioning vent that dripped water into the dining room during one of my visits. Despite some minor glitches, though, the restaurant is off to a very promising start, and I am definitely looking forward to exploring more of the menu in the future.