Above: We’re going back for this! Margherita pizza with aromatic fresh basil at Urban Cellar in West Des Moines.
By Karla Walsh
This April, the youngest sister in the Urban Restaurant Group, Urban Cellar, opened shop in the former Legend’s space off of 50th Street and Mills Civic Parkway in West Des Moines. Blink and you might miss it while driving by on errands at Hy-Vee or Target. But don’t—it’s worth stopping for the unique cocktails, $10 corkage fee (for up to two bottles), and diverse menu of small plates and entrees.On a recent “first look” visit, a few friends and I sampled snacks and were impressed by the many techniques used to showcase fresh garden goodies. A few highlights:
● Fried: Fried Zucchini. Rather than chips or wedges, they coat slabs of summer squash in breading, then fry, to deliver an Italian delight. A Jenga-like tower comes with creamy dipping sauce to complement the crunch.
● Fresh: Margherita Pizza. As soon as this signature Cellar pie hits your table, you will likely smell the fresh basil’s aroma. Leaves are placed evenly across the top of the warm, mozzarella-topped pizza so they release their summer scents just enough. (Worth noting: General manager Andrew Mery did a lot of experimenting with the recipe for the semolina-dusted crust, and the crunchy-exterior, fluffy-interior results prove it was all worth it.)
● Pickled: Hummus Plate. The homemade hummus here comes with more than a pile of plain ol’ baby carrots. This platter is piled high with fresh-baked flatbread, pickled carrot wedges, pickled red onion slices, and pickled cauliflower bites, plus briny olives and fresh cucumbers.
Urban Cellar, 640 S. 50th St., West Des Moines; 515-226-3230; urbancellarwdm.com