Brunch at Le Jardin: Fresh ingredients, French style

Brunch at Le Jardin: Fresh ingredients, French style

For the French, brunch is standard weekend practice. So at French bistro Le Jardin, they’re keeping the tradition alive in Des Moines.

After shutting their doors in 2010, the owners of Le Jardin recently reopened in a new location: Near the heart of Beaverdale, where cheesecake shop Flarah’s once stood. At their new digs, they’re still serving inspired French cuisine with an emphasis on fresh ingredients, and they recently added brunch to the repertoire on Saturdays and Sundays.

Inside, Le Jardin feels open and inviting, with a clean-cut style to the furniture and a colorful mural adorning the wall. When my guest and I arrived on a recent Sunday morning, the restaurant staff was already busy serving a number of patrons, and the smell of fresh-brewed coffee wafted through the air. We ordered two cups and took a look at the menu.

The brunch options at Le Jardin are definitely on par with their standard menu: Every item is complex, alluring and above all, mouthwatering. The main categories are crepes and omelets, staples of a French breakfast. Each main dish comes with two a la carte items, but good luck choosing among options like fresh fruit, spicy merguez sausage, yogurt and granola, or a cinnamon streusel muffin.

There are some tempting outliers too, which don’t fit into the first two categories. Namely, the baked creme brulee French toast, which has brioche toast topped with custard and finished off with a sugar-baked bottom. Who says you can’t have dessert for breakfast?

Eventually I landed on the crepe Bayonne ($11), which was stuffed with smoked ham, Gruyere, Bechamel sauce and basil. Before then, I had only experienced fruity, probably not-so-authentic crepes that were super sweet. But this was a savory surprise: The crepe was airy and delicious, and the ham mixed with Gruyere made for a hearty dish. That, along with the fruit and peppered bacon on the side, made for a delicious morning meal.

As tasty as the crepe was, I felt a tinge of jealousy over my guest’s omelet Florentine ($12). Her plate featured egg whites packed with spinach, Parmigiano-Reggiano, creme fraiche, for a dish that was easy on the eyes and the stomach. She paired her meal with fruit and roasted potatoes.

If you love Le Jardin’s brunch, the food will impress a special someone on date night, too. The restaurant’s selection hinges on some seasonal items, due to their commitment to local ingredients, but you can always expect high-quality dishes like pork shoulder with apples and dried cherries, or the truffle chicken with wild mushrooms, roasted potatoes and kale.

Le Jardin

Find it: 2815 Beaver Ave., Suite 101

When to brunch: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Hours: 5 p.m.-close Wednesday through Saturday

Info: 515-255-5787;



The Big Steer




About the Author

Joe is a contributor to Juice Magazine.

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