Our third stop during Restaurant Week was a newbie for me, Gramercy Tap. Gramercy Tap is in the Kirkwood Hotel and took over the spot left by Kirkwood Lounge and before that, Azalea. The decor has been refreshed, and looks more put together than the spare demo look wrought by the Starbar owners that also owned the Kirkwood Lounge. As with all restaurant week dinners, you only pay $25 for three courses. Not knowing what to expect, I was pleased to see that the menu had some choices, with a fish, steak, pork, and vegetarian option. We chose the Eden Farms Grilled Pork Chop on Orzo, with yellow peppers, spinach and honey balsamic glaze for a meat and the Vegetarian Pasta with Penne, with mushrooms, peppers, onions and a pesto cream sauce.
I am not kidding when I say that the Eden Farms Grilled Pork Chop was the best pork chop I’ve ever had. We got two chops and they were perfectly grilled (medium), and both chops were exactly the sort of pork chops I like: Not too thin, not too thick, and with a lot of nice pork fat. It was hot through and through and the meat next to the bone was not under cooked. That is tough to do without over cooking the outside. It is also hard to not let the whole thing simply catch on fire with all of that fat. It was obvious that this was not a genetically over-bred lean (and dry) corporate hog. It could only be an old-style fat Berkshire. I looked up Eden Farms only after I got home and sure enough. that is what they grow. This pork was somehow better than the pork cubes prepared by Sean Wilson at Proof (the last “best” piece of pork I’ve had). Oddly enough, Wilson was formerly the head chef at Kirkwood and Azalea.
The Vegetarian Pasta was also top-notch. I kept spearing extra bits off the other plate. The pasta had a fresh texture and the pesto cream sauce managed to avoid that overpowering sameness that so many pasta sauces get.
We finished with the Tiramisu. It was especially light and fluffy. It was a great restaurant visit. The food was fabulous and I wish Gramercy Tap the best of luck. I know I will be back and I’ll be bringing more friends.
Restaurant Week in Des Moines ends August 25th. The website is: http://www.desmoinesrestaurantweek.com/ You can also enter a drawing for a trip to two in Sonoma County. But don’t bother. I plan on winning it myself! See you in Sonoma.