By Wini Moranville
With all the great restaurants in Des Moines, you might think twice about driving to Perry for dinner at the Hotel Pattee. Especially if you, like me, had a less-than-stellar experience there under previous owners before it closed.
Happily, judging from a recent visit, it looks like new owner Jay Hartz and his executive chef, Chris Caes (formerly the sous-chef at Wakonda Club), have come up with a winning formula for the historic hotel. Under-$10 items, such as French dips and salmon BLTs, will satisfy cyclists pedaling the nearby bike trail. Those looking for a more complete dining experience will find hearty-yet-refined cuisine, such as veal ricotta meatballs and lemon-chicken risotto; most dinner entrees cost around $15 to $25.
The inveterate foodie, however, may wish to grab some fellow gastronomes and opt for the Chef’s Table option. On weekends only, for $50 per person (not including tax, tip or alcoholic beverages), chef Caes serves a five-course menu specifically tailored for a party of up to 10 diners. He’ll collaborate with the host beforehand to come up with a menu specifically tailored for your group. Sample menus are on the website, but you can expect such detailed cuisine as asparagus soup en croûte, frisée and endive citrus salad with pan-roasted duck, butter poached lobster risotto with oyster mushrooms, mustard glazed lamb rack, and chocolate fondant. And yes, that’s all one menu.
I had the chance to dine at the Chef’s Table earlier this year with a group of Iowa food and lifestyle bloggers, and we all deemed it a great success.
Find out more at the Hotel Pattee’s website.