With the sudden onset of great evening weather, with lots of sunshine, and a great breeze, we decided to try Tally’s restaurant, one of the Des Moines area restaurants with a patio and a view.
In fact, we went one step further. There are only a couple of restaurants that actually have roof-top patios, and Tally’s is one of them. It is situated in the old B & B spot on Beaver Avenue just north of the Backwoods Outfitter shop.
The location offers something for just about any dining experience. There is the outdoor patio, tucked in between the two wings of the restaurant, a white dining cloth section with a bar, and a popular rooftop bar and eating area complete with a bar shack. Given the nice weather, the rooftop area saw almost all of the business.
Speaking of the bar, I tried the Dead Poet, which is an absinthe-based drink served in a martini glass. It was a bit too much like liquorish bubblegum for my liking, but that seems to be a hallmark of absinthe drinks, so don’t blame the bartender but the patron who ordered it. The menu contained a number of interesting cocktails and a comparison of this menu with an older one available online suggests that Tally’s is trying to mix things up a bit. My partner tried an Orange Mojito with basil. It was very tasty and refreshing.
We didn’t try their beers, but the beer menu shows a wide range of beer, all the way from $2.00 domestics to Chimays at $7.00. This wide range of offerings is a theme of Tally’s. In fact, the various dining options and the variety of foods offered by Tally’s indicated that Tally’s is trying to be a classic “neighborhood” restaurant that can serve any group that might be out looking for a relaxing dinner, whether they want cheap beer and a low-cost dinner or something more high-end. I am surprised that I’ve not heard more of Tally’s given the variety and quality of their offerings. And you can’t beat the rooftop experience.
I began with the Tomato Fennel soup. It was garnished with chevre cheese. This was great soup. It was more like a small meal in a cup. There were chunks of tomato, none of that Campbell’s soup taste or texture, and it was topped with real cheese that melted away as I spooned my way through the cup.
Next up was the Pasta with Mussels. This featured herbed white wine, butter, spaghetti, and breadcrumbs. There was a rich sauce that looked like a balsamic oil but it was something else that I could not put my finger on. It is easy for a chef to do nothing more than to steam mussels and to dip them in butter, but these were marinated in a sauce that added some real flavor and punch to the juicy mussels. $16.50.
My dining partner chose the blackened crab cakes. They were roasted in red pepper, and came with sweet potato fries. $16.50. I love crab cakes and these were an excellent rendition. Though blackened, they were not too far off from what I fondly recall from trips to the Maryland east shore where we would gorge ourselves on crab cakes. Tally’s rendition is something in between the super hot and vinegar varieties, which is a fantastic compromise. Some local versions by other Des Moines chefs add way too much chili powder for my own liking. The sweet potato fries were fun as well.
For a finish, we ordered the vanilla mousse. It came with strawberries, blackberries and a chocolate cage. It tasted as scrumptious as it looked.
Owner-chef Robert Sanda has worked at Cosi Cucina, Metro Fish, and one of the real hidden culinary gems in the suburbs, The Radish. Tally’s website has complete menus that you can download and they feature different lunch and dinner menus, along with bar food, vegetarian and gluten free menus.
Monday – Saturday: 11AM – Close
Sunday Brunch Buffet: 9AM – 2PM
2712 Beaver Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50310-3931