August 31st, 2006


Trostel's Dish

Location: 12851 University Ave., Clive at 128th (60th). (Clive is a suburb of Des Moines, IA.)

Out at the edge of the strip malls, near the new suburban hospital sites, the first of a new procession of small dish restaurants opened up in Des Moines last October. Trostel's Dish is a high-ceilinged space, bare pipes above darkly painted, with walls in warm hues of brown and grey. Eclectic but tasteful works of art puntuate the walls, spotlit, like the tables, for greater visibility in the ambient hush of lighting. The room's focus is on the bar, with standalone bar tables and a wall of six-seater booths providing the seating for food. And the food is really what it's all about here. Well - and the wine. But mostly the food.

And that's why Dish is drawing crowds enough to have a rack of pagers ready and waiting for would-be customers, to call them back from the bar or the sofa or the car when space is finally available. We went on a weekday, and although we had a pager and were warned of a twenty-minute wait, we weren't kept more than five before being seated. Equipped with three menus each (food, wine, reserve wines), we began browsing the extensive menu and negotating what style of dining we wanted to try that night.

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Trostel's Dish is doing exciting things, using a versatile and trendy dining style, in a comfortable-but-chic space, serving food with international influence while highlighting Iowa producers. (La Quercia prosciutto, Maytag blue, charcuterie from Graziano's) Service was generally solid, with only a few waits for attention before new rounds of ordering. (We ordered a few dishes at a time, and they arrived then ready.) The food was solid, with a few real highs, and I was thrilled with the variety of wine-tasting and cheese-sampling flights available. No wonder it's drawing crowds out to the edges of west Des Moines. When I go back, though, remind me to take notes.