The spring vegetable salad, complete with peas, cucumber, asparagus, whipped feta and labneh, is one of the many new menu additions chef Rateb Aburas has in store for Mulberry Street Tavern.
Writer: Karla Walsh
Remember when hotels were only for vacation? In the past 10 years, Des Moines hotels, with their related bars and restaurants, have stepped up their game so much that they’re a destination for locals, too. The Surety Hotel’s Mulberry Street Tavern is one of them.
The venue opened at a challenging time—November 2020—yet drew travelers and locals alike, thanks to its upscale comfort food like the Roast Chicken with Aji Amarillo Sauce and Grilled Romaine Salad. After chef Marque Collins departed to helm another hotel restaurant, Surety welcomed in a visionary veteran—and a precocious one at that, at just 28 years old—in executive chef Rateb Aburas. He comes to Des Moines after honing his skills at two other sister properties that are part of the Aparium Hotel Group. Along with Aburas’ experience and his family’s Palestinian and Canadian heritage, he brings a host of global flavors to the table, along with a lot of stories and loads of warmth.
During my “first look” visit, Aburas told me he’s slowly adding his own flair to the menu for brunch, dinner and the upcoming lunch and courtyard services. His vision is to usher in more worldly influence and shareable options as part of the tavern’s menu, while keeping enough riffs on familiar entrees to please any palate. One standout during our initial visit was the spring vegetable salad (pictured, $15) with peas, cucumber and asparagus alongside a swoosh of whipped feta and labneh. Another can’t-miss dish? The wood-fired trout ($40), a flaky, roasted whole trout from Wisconsin garnished with a refreshing and beautifully briny salsa Veracruz. Add a squeeze from the charred lemons and this is the ultimate warm weather entree that’s hearty enough to share.
“We want to end up being your no-brainer for an evening out, delivering consistent food and something for everyone,” Aburas says, including vegans, gluten-free diners and those who appreciate local sourcing. Aburas already has forged relationships with farmers, cheesemakers and butchers.
Once the restaurant’s new outdoor bar is complete, mark your calendars for the courtyard launch in early June, and watch for upcoming “yappy hours” (Surety is a dog-friendly hotel inside and out), farmers market after parties and more events to inspire regional and local visitors.
Mulberry Street Tavern (206 Sixth Ave.) is open Tuesday through Thursday 4-11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 4 p.m.-midnight, plus Saturday for brunch 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Watch for an updated menu soon at suretyhotel.com/food-and-drink and follow Mulberry Street Tavern on Facebook to learn about events, specials and the lunch launch.