Our fourth stop during Restaurant Week was another relative newcomer to the Des Moines restaurant scene, Hoq. Hoq is in the former Baby Boomers Cafe spot where it anchors the southeast corner of the East Village. It is a completely different concept than Baby Boomers and the decor has been changed from urban cafe to a white table cloth restaurant. Every restaurant needs something that makes it stick out from the crowd and Hoq’s concept is to focus on local food. Some restaurants have proudly bragged about using locally sourced food. In fact, they must assume that it is something of a marketing necessity as even some higher end chains are noting that their meat or veggies come from local vendors. I even heard a new McDonald’s ad bragging that their burgers may even contain meat from Iowa. But Hoq takes the concept past mere marketing and actually tries to use local food if it is available and they say that they modify the menu to match availability. The list of local vendors is long and I’ve tried food from most and they are all top-quality growers.
For restaurant week, I chose the Flan. This is described as using Reichert’s Dairy Air goat cheese and Maxwell Farm snap peas. They are blended into a creamy paste of sorts. The photo can’t do it justice and words are hard to come by that describe this plate. I guess I can only say that you should try it for yourself.
I tried the pan-seared Iowa tilapia with little potatoes and green beans in a broth. The fish was tender and savory. The sauce on top went well with the fish.
The organic vegetable tempura with beluga lentil, tofu and Basmati rice pilaf was a good vegetarian alternative. Apparently, beluga lentils get the name from the fact that it sort of looks like caviar. The ensemble is laid on a bed of rice pilaf. If vegetarian dishes are your thing then this would fit the bill. Actually, I’ve come to appreciate vegetarian food as a nice break and this was very well prepared.
For dessert, we shared a tiny Bundt cake with Corazon coffee ice cream. Corazon coffee has become a regular staple around our house. I’ll write about that some other time, but the coffee ice cream was really tasty. Not overpowering like fake coffee flavored ice cream.
Here is a photo of the menu for Hoq’s contribution to 2013 Restaurant Week:
So, that was the last of our Restaurant Week visits. Now I’ve got to hit the gym so I don’t have to buy an entire new wardrobe.
Only German cars may park in front of Hoq: