Chef's Kitchen

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by gringolin

You can taste the Quality in EVERY bite!
What a hidden Gem is Des Moines. I has such a great breakfast, I returned a few days later for Dinner. What a Delight!

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by Craigs

One of the best places in des moines for GREAT food. You can tell right when you walk in that the food is going to be Awesome..... you are greeted by the owner, and or his beautiful wife.....very home-like atmoshere.

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by Greg Hicklin

WYSIWYG This being Des Moines in the winter, fresh local ingredients are sadly not available. That being said this is a lovely, genuine local eatery. Calamari does not swim in the Des Moines River, but is cooked well and not greasy. Burger is plump,juicy and honest. Hashbrowns star as starch. Salad as good as can be, dressing could be more exciting. The people are great, the price reasonable and I will be back.

Good enough that I gave gift cards for Christmas

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by Iheartfood

I had dinner here last week and I can't stop thinking about the delicious portobella sandwich, perfect hashbrowns, and all of the menu items I have yet to try. The service was friendly and prompt, prices were reasonable, portions were aplenty, it's locally owned, everyone I was with LOVED their food, and the free homemade cookie I grabbed on my way out totally made my day. I'm going back this weekend for sure!

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by keeley

i just stumbled upon this opportunity to share my experiences with this quaint corner restaurant. i live on the "left coast" and have been in des moines a few times over the last couple of years (can't get the iowan out of me is my guess) and each time a different friend took me to this establishment.

i recently visited with a colleague who will be in des moines this weekend and i suggested that she check out chef's kithchen because the two times that i have eaten there i had great service, great food, and a great time. the first time i was there the chef came out and had such an infectious laugh that the entire restaurant became alive and jovial in response to his good humor and pleasant and upbeat demeanor.

this summer i will again find myself in des moines for an evening and this time i think i will try the chef's other restaurant; wintston's. i am told that it is outstanding, as well.

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by Ann

This is one of my favorite restaurants! Make sure to try the fried pickles-- this is the only place I've come across that has pickle slices instead of spears. They are awesome! Also, on Thursdays there is a musician who plays blues music in the evening... a wonderful relaxing atmosphere.

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by joe

this is truely the best kept secret! The food is amazing and the service is exceptional!

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by Melissa Taylor

Last night, my husband and I enjoyed a nice dinner at The Chef's Kitchen. This was our second trip as the first was just as delicious. I will note that several of the other comments were written several months ago. Those of you who have not returned are missing out! The salad was much more than iceburg, there were several varieties of greens, nicely pealed cucumbers, and red peper to top it off and the pesto ranch is one of the best I've had.

Our first trip I had the seafood pasta special that night, delicious to say the least, the pasta has been very nicely cooked both visits and the sauce has many layers of flavors. My husband had the baked pasta which he was very fond of, considering he was practically raised on baked pasta, he certainly would know a good one.

On our return last night I had the Tortellini... never a tortellini fan before because I had never had it as great as last night. The pasta was al dente perfect for such a thick pasta and the sauce once again outstanding. My husband had the chicken lasagna or what we jokingly called the chicken lasagna enchilada because of it's unique serving with sauces on either side. Both sauces individually tasted and together created many grat flavors!

Although I'm partial to friends from high school, our server was just that and presented himself very professional and was sure to add in tidbits of information that most servers would prefer to avoid. He showed us the hashbrown stack another customer had ordered and was sure to fill our beverages before we had to ask. Thank-you!

Keep in mind that reviews are often written by those who have one bad experience or who perhaps have much to high of expectations to eat anywhere, but at their own house where they cook for themselves. I would like to see subject A or D cook something as delicious as I tasted on both of my trips to the Chef's Kitchen. I will definitely be returning with friends!

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by moonmaid

Staff was friendly... food wasn't so good. This has got to be one of the most over-rated places to go in Des Moines.

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by Mary Lumley

This is our best kept secret place to go. If we want great, hot food prepared to perfection, this is where we go. We have never left the place feeling anything but pleased. Every item we have tried, was delicious. What I especially like is that the baked potatoes are perfect everytime and they stay hot till the last bite. The tortellini is delicious. Excellent service and friendly staff.

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by SloppyDog

Very tasty stuff. Try the build your own hashbrowns. they are super good and people are now ordering them as their meal w/ a salad or other app. cheap brew too!

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by kc

We just returned from visiting Chef's Kitchen. How often are you so moved that you run right home and look up on line the reviews? Either you are very impressed or sorely disappointed. Consider us in the last group.

"S" ordered the special - fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Plenty of food with four pieces - half dark and half white which wasn't explained prior to ordering. What was missing was taste...yes this place cuts costs everywhere including removing the taste. With one exception...the salad. "S" described it as "pickle-tasting".

"K" ordered a true and tried favorite - Chicken Cordon Blue (was it spelled that way on the menu?). It surely left me feeling blue.

One time I got cute at the grocery store and splurged on buying chicken cordon bleu - ham, chicken and cheese - how can you go wrong? I guess we got what I paid for - a processed chicken and ham roll.

Guess what? I wouldn't have been surprised to see the box in the garabage can out back. Chicken should be shaped two pieces exactly alike. This yule-log looking was all too familar with my frozen food purchase at the grocery store. The sauce it was sitting in couldn't have been more the potato, and fried chicken, and gravy on the mashed.

The baked potatoe was the only thing consumed and it came with only butter.

The only taste memory we left with was the pickle salad. We needed a farewell cookie to get the taste out of mouths...but refused out of principal.

This Tuesday night special set us back $45. We honestly laughed about our first instinct: Kentucky Fried Chicken...and guess what? It would have tasted better. Well, at least KFC would have tasted...and that would have been a start.

Never returning.

Bread was offered about 75% the way through the meal???

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by A & D

We tried this restaurant for the first time on a Tuesday evening about 5:30 P.M. We were seated without a wait and the hostess was very pleasant and willingly explained the house specialty and the evening's special offers. A large vase containing fresh-baked cookies sits on the long, full bar as you enter which, as an amuse bouche, seem to promise good things to come. Several diners were seated already munching on a "Welcome" cookie. On second thought, maybe they are "Thank You for Coming" cookies, sort of an alternative to mints.

There are a number of booths lining the perimeter of the room and tables in the center, somewhat close together. We chose a table. The chairs are comfortable, straight-back, dark wood without arms. The 'no arms' feature is great for plus size customers, as are the movable tables in the booths, allowing for adjustment to fit people with more girth. The tables are a laminate top, and that's where the first surprises came: no tablecloth; paper napkins; knife and two forks but no spoon; a minimalist table setting. The bar takes up about a third of the restaurant and is a classic long, straight bar with stools; attractive and well-stocked.

The menu is fairly extensive, and clearly the specialty is steaks. The menu showcases at least six cuts ranging from $21 for the petit filet to $28 for the larger cuts, and $24-26 for the house specialty, the requisite Des Moines Steak De Burgo. Other entrees include several seafood choices, pasta selections, pizza, lighter offerings and a children's selection. But the emphasis and star-billing clearly is on steaks. And that is what "A" and "D" both ordered.

"A" is a medium-rare rib-eye lover and ordered it with French fries and a garden salad with creamy garlic. "B" is a medium-rare 'almost any cut is great,' but ordered the petit filet with sauteed vegetables and a salad with a balsamic vinegarette. A glass of Chianti was ordered for both.

The server was genial and efficient. Thankfully, he did not introduce himself or offer some banal rehearsed script. He was pleasant, professional and appropriate, but stumped when "D" asked for a real cloth napkin. He could only suggest a large paper towel as a substitute for the school cafeteria, one-ply napkin that comes standard with the table set-ups. Service was adequate: not great, but not obsequious; acceptably attentive, but not fawning; basically functional, but not overly helpful. A routine15 percent gratuity job.

The salad was good; a generous variety of crisp, fresh greens with tomato and even a hot pepper. The balsamic vinegarette was different--thick and packed with flavors. The creamy garglic, homemade and luscious. Good salads. Excellent dressings. So far, so good.

The Chianti was less than great, even a bit oxidized from the bottle being open too long. Stemware was minimal, the requisite three-ounce pour, not generous. The wine selection is mundane; prices are moderate, but for this quality of wines, perhaps a bit overpriced. Absolutely overpriced when the wine is oxidized. Good bartenders check the aromas before serving when pouring from long-opened bottles. Off wine can be used in the kitchen for cooking, which is far better than serving it to customers who will then (a) not order more wine, and (b) not come back to the restaurant.

The steaks were prepared beautifully by someone who understands medium-rare. "D's" filet was perfectly tender with a moist, red center and a great sear on the outside. The sauteed vegetables were flavorful and featured at least five different vegetable varieties in a rich medley. "A's" rib-eye was equally exact at the center, tender and bathed in a fragrant natural juice; the outside was superbly seared and looked like beef perfection. The French fries were good, but unremarkable. The presentations were briefly thoughtful. And that is where the positive aspects of both dishes ended.

The steaks were both picture perfect, but had zero flavor. The rib-eye derived some minimal flavor from the meat juices, but the steak itself was tasteless. The filet had great mouth-feel and texture, but it was like chewing bok-choy. You knew there was something in there, but you couldn't really pinpoint an actual taste.

And here is where the inevitable analysis of the Joy of the Table and the value began. Both "A" and "D" had been served a glass of off wine, a decent salad, no bread, a glass of water, okay fries, good vegetables and tasteless steaks, all with okay service. The bill was $70 with tip and we ate on a laminate table top with bad paper napkins. Not a whole lot here that is different from Perkins.

Chef's Kitchen is a cost-cutter. They've brought all the costs down, but have no problem with keeping the prices up. For $70, "A" and "B" can have a great experience with all the trappings and top-quality food at Trostel's Dish, or at Greenbrier, or at Mosaix, or at Sage, or at 35th Street Cafe, or at Bistro Montage, or at 43 . . . . or at any number of other restaurants. And, for flavorful beef: Jessie's Embers (the original location) can't be beat.

Rating: 1 (Ratings: 1 No; 2 Maybe; 3 Yes; 4 Absolutely)
Value: Low
Quality: Fair
Service: Adequate
Recommended: No
Best Alternative: Dish, Mosaix, Jessie's Embers (original)

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by Dre

After reading the review in the Des Moines Register, I expected great things from this neighborhood eatery. Unfortunately, my experience did not impress. The salad was nothing but iceberg, the house dressing tasted like Thousand Island with Tabasco sauce added, my steak sandwich was tough and tasteless, and the bill was way to high for such a sub-par meal. I won't be going back.

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Tips for Chef's Kitchen from foursquare users

chris b.

Try the fried pickles..... Yum and make sure to get a free cookie

4 people have done this

Andy B.

Get hashbrowns. Trust me

2 people have done this and 1 other wants to

Brett T.

You may want to double the estimated wait time.

2 people have done this and 1 other wants to

Adam D.

One of my fav places in Des Moines!

2 people have done this

Heidi M.

Get a half order of the pickles, they are fantastic!

2 people have done this

Rod S.

Fried pickles and salmon sandwich. Yum.

1 person has done this and 1 other wants to

Pamela G.

Sea bass with wasabi mashed potatoes and Asian salad. Delicious!

1 person has done this

Andy B.

Get the hashbrowns they are fantastic

1 person has done this