Could any lunch look much fresher? On a recent visit to Trellis, the mushroom bisque and the salad with roasted potatoes, red peppers, zucchini and more were stellar.
By Wini Moranville
It was a really bad soup that finally made me resign from my near-15-year stint as the Des Moines Register’s restaurant reviewer. Back in 2012, as I was dipping a soup spoon into yet another gloppy tomato-basil soup that was so thick and one-dimensional that I felt like I was eating a bowl of red pasta sauce, I said aloud, “I can’t do this anymore.” This seemingly minor moment, alas, was the proverbial last straw.
I thought of that experience recently as I spooned into chef Lisa LaValle’s thoroughly perfect mushroom bisque. If more restaurants served such beautiful soups, they would have had to pry the reviewing gig from my cold, dead hands. Made with a mix of mushrooms, plus onions, celery, vegetable broth, a touch of cream— and no thickeners to mask the flavors — the soup did this neat trick of being deeply flavored yet fresh, opulent yet ethereally textured.
The thoroughly gratifying salads at Trellis never make me wish I’d opted for a heartier pasta dish (which they also serve); with its lively mix of roasted potatoes, red peppers, peas, zucchini, mint, cashews and a coriander vinaigrette, the Samosa-Inspired Salad was no exception. My dining buddy was equally pleased with her Sicilian Tuna Cake Caesar Salad.
And what, pray tell, ever happened to the dessert tray? It’s alive and well at Trellis, and just you try to give the enticing platter a pass when the server brings it to the table. We snagged an irresistible Bananas Foster Cheesecake, and we were glad we did. Desserts, by the way, are crafted by ace pastry chef Nik Pugmire of Doré Bakery.
Trellis is in the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, 909 Robert D. Ray Drive; 515-323-6288
Incidentally, since my aforementioned 2012 soup fiasco, more restaurants are upping their soup game, including Table 128. Read about chef/owner Lynn Pritchard’s take on the first-course soup.
Wini Moranville writes about food, wine and dining for dsm magazine and dsmWeekly. Follow her on Facebook at All Things Food–DSM.