Bistro Nomad: New Des Moines restaurant overlooking sculpture park offers Mediterranean options
Tour Spain’s scenic Mediterranean coast on a road trip through seaside towns, historic sites and bustling cities. (July 10)
A new Mediterranean restaurant has joined the row of eateries looking out over the sea of sculpture in downtown Des Moines.
Named for the iconic alphabetical sculpture "Nomade" positioned across the street in the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, Bistro Nomad opened on March 28 at 1430 Locust Street in Des Moines in the former space of +39 Restaurant, Market & Cantina.
Decorated with the colors of the Mediterranean sea and summer clouds, the 102-seat dining room sports an open kitchen, wooden tables and pops of red napkins.
For alternative seating options, four lounge areas for six people compliment an outdoor patio for 50 guests and a micro-bar area seating six.
"The Nomad concept is a Mediterranean fusion," said general manager, DiAndré Tyler Neville, 29. "We have a master chef behind the idea of a region of the planet that has so much rich culture and heritage and food. You've got Grecian, Italian, Spanish and Moroccan. These are huge heavy hitters with some very distinct profiles in the terms of cuisine, so you get a large variety and a glimpse of each of those with our dishes."
And the master chef is none other than David Baruthio.
In fact, Bistro Nomad is owned by David Baruthio and Sara Hill, the husband-and-wife team behind Baru 66. Hill recently opened The Hare & The Hound in Earlham and Baruthio has been helping his friend Marco Finzi get Al Punto up and running in Windsor Heights.
Neville, a Chicago native who attended Simpson College, and Hill met in Des Moines recently and bonded over Hill's recent dining experience at Alinea in Chicago, a premier restaurant that earned three Michelin stars in 2018 — and where Neville used to work.
Here are a few highlights from the menu at Bistro Nomad:
- French fries: Served with harissa aioli ($6)
- Buratta: Served with roasted tomato and olive jam ($12)
- Grand Paella for Two: Made with Valencia-style paella rice with paella seasoning; octopus, calamari, chorizo, chicken, clams, mussels, prawns, roasted vegetables and lemons ($64)
- Gyro Burger: Cheddar, greens, tomato, onion, cucumber, tzatziki and papas bravas ($18)
- Chicken Kabobs: Served with lemon, roasted pepper aioli, paella rice ($22)
- Filet Medallions Andulouses: Served with papas bravas $32
- Whole Branzino: With sea salt, grilled vegetables, potato and lemon ($32)
Many other dishes will come from a gluten-free and vegan or vegetarian standpoint including cumin carrots, curried zucchini gazpacho and goat cheese mousse with dates.
A frequently-changing 3-course prix fixe Menu Nomad includes a Tito's vodka handmade cocktail, appetizer, main course and dessert ($42).
Desserts range from churros with dark chocolate and caramel sauces ($8) and crema catalan — similar to a creme brulee ($8).
"I based our cocktail program on Mediterranean flavors as the most prominent," Neville said. "A lot of Mediterranean infusions use fig or pomegranate or a lot of mint." He said to look for spirits like Aperol and prosecco as bases for drinks.
- The Fig Martini: Fig infused vodka, Monin blackberry, lemon, ginger beer
- Pomegranate Fizz: Bacardi Superior rum, sparkling white wine,
pomegranate juice, lime & mint, served over rocks
- Valencia Spritzer: Aperol and prosecco
- Clementine Martini: Clementine vodka, Pellegrino Aranciata, orange
The wine list by the glass and bottle is curated by Baruthio and includes Lecomte, Brut Champagne, NV, France — of which Baruthio is the U.S. Brand Ambassador. The addition of Spanish riojas and verdejos help to balance the California wines from Napa and Central Coast (by the glass, $8-14; by the bottle, $28-$350).
Live entertainment will take place every other Thursday, featuring John Krantz and friends from 6 to 9 p.m. The restaurant employs about 20 people.
Location: 1430 Locust St., Des Moines
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 1: 30 p.m. and 4 to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1: 30 p.m. and 4 to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 4 to 8 p.m.; closed Mondays.