When HoQ opened in the old Baby Boomer's location at 303 East Fifth Street in Des Moines' East Village, they did not receive all the fanfare that Zombie Burger did before them or that Tacopocalypse has since. However, diners and bloggers are starting to take notice now.
The restaurant's menu is ever-evolving. Executive Chef Suman Hoque changes things up based on availability of ingredients from Iowa farmers. Chef Hoque takes great pride in buying local and being a sustainable farm-to-table restaurant. From the restaurant's website:
We believe the best meals begin with the best ingredients. That’s why approximately 90% of our ingredients come from local farms. We feature grass-fed beef and lamb, and pasture-raised chicken and duck. All are raised without the use of hormones, antibiotics, steroids, or cages. Our butter and cream come from grass-fed cows, and we use local organic or chemical-free produce. Our seafood is sustainably sourced from responsible fishing communities. The majority of our menu is gluten-free and we offer many unique vegetarian items. Our coffee is fair trade and locally roasted, and our house liquors come from right here in Iowa.
We strive to be sustainable by sourcing as much as we can locally, composting our organic waste, recycling, and purchasing whole animals. It’s not the easiest or cheapest way to operate, but we think it’s the right thing to do.
You can taste a difference at HoQ, but as their website states—that quality comes priced accordingly. As a card-carrying carnivore, I was as surprised by the incredible flavor of HoQ's Veggie Tacos ($7) as my dining partners were that I ordered them. The appetizer stood up to any tacos that I have had in Des Moines. The Alaskan Salmon ($27) and Braised Beef ($21) were also remarkable. I was, likewise, impressed that HoQ offered a delightful amuse bouche, along with some equally delightful fresh bread, while we waited for our orders to come.
The service was also exceptional. Our server was friendly, knowledgeable, and attentive during each visit, and the restaurant was kept very clean. I would highly recommend HoQ for a casual lunch or a formal night out. The restaurant proves that responsibility and sustainability can be delicious.