Update: I’m really surprised by the quick opening and closing of Lurra Cocina. I doubt that the closing had anything to do with the food, the restaurant, or the service. More likely, it had something to do with ownership and “legal” issues. Maybe somebody can tell me the real story. Anyway, I’m sad to see this place close.
Lurra Cocina strikes a near-perfect chord when it comes to meeting my dream Des Moines restaurant. It features interesting new takes on international cuisine, rewarding ambiance, cool cocktails, and excellent service that all come together perfectly. This is a well-thought out restaurant and with Cheese Shop veteran, Nickolas Illingsworth is at the helm of the kitchen, it is sure to please.
The best way to enjoy a meal here is to go with the tapas plates. Too many restaurants try to emulate tapas by pushing appetizer plates, “bar food,” or selling side dishes à la carte. The Lurra Cocina tapas plates are well-proportioned for sharing if you order enough for everyone to have some choices. My favorite tapas plate is the Datils con N’duja ($9). These are LaQuercia prosciutto stuffed dates wrapped in bacon with smoky tomato sauce. I also like the Catalan Flatbread ($10) and fried mashed potato ball croquetes ($8). If tapas isn’t your thing, they have entrees that ought to satisfy most traditional diners, with steak, pork, chicken, fish, lamb and scallops. ($20-30).
My weakness for interesting cocktails was amply rewarded during all of my visits. One of the cocktails I suggest you try if you want to get a taste of one of the newer-style cocktails featured shrub, which is the latest thing to hit cocktails. The “Too sexy, Antonio, too sexy!” is a rye with fig, vanilla bean, flavored with a dousing of beet-orange-rosemary shrub. Shrub is basically boiled-down fruit juice (in this case with some beet). Several restaurants around town are trying different shrub-based concoctions.
My favorite drink was the “Placer de Buzo.” This is a masterpiece of a cocktail. The flavors are totally unique and make a fantastic easy-drinking mix. I liked it so much that I gathered the ingredients and made one myself at home. Quite tasty, though I was lucky to find some Rooibos in the pantry. I added some vanilla and boiled up the Rooibos in a teapot.
The drinks are created in a very well-designed bar that is right off the entrance. It is well stocked and there are a number of draft beers also available. The space is very similar to the Americana down the road, so I suspect that this building also served as a dealership back in the day. Even the old tile floors are similar. I should add that there is a room on the main floor that can be reserved.
Is there a downside? Common to many of the newer places, it is a bit noisy. I saw some acoustic treatment on the walls.The prices are also on the higher side by a few dollars for some of the dishes.
1420 Locust St
Des Moines, IA 50309