Note: This is a new project I’m working on: Capsule reviews of restaurants in the Des Moines area. I was the food critic for the Des Moines Register from 1997 to 2012, and have decided to revisit and compile small reviews of Des Moines’s Best 50 Restaurants. Here’s a start.
Cute and a little bit funky, this East side strip-mall spot can be relied on for good, super-fresh Chinese and Southeast Asian food. Look past the second-hand furniture and groove to the boldly painted red walls, mod 70s mirrors, and upbeat youthful crew that prefer electro-pop music over traditional Asian folk-strains.
Lunches here are solid, but the best way to enjoy this spot is at dinner with a group of friends. Order a bunch of dishes, bring your own wine (no corkage fee!), and eat, drink, and chat your way through an inexpensive, lively evening.
What’s Good: Curries, Pad Thai, Mongolian Beef, and whole catfish dishes.
Address/Phone: 1240 East 14th St.; 262-8488
Cuisine: Chinese, Vietnamese, Laotian, Thai, Vietnamese
Decor: A bit hodge-podge, but with funky charm.
Special Mentions: No corkage fee. Great for groups.
Hours: Monday through Saturday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday: Noon to 6 p.m.