Artful dishes from Baru at the Art Center restaurant

Artful dishes from Baru at the Art Center restaurant

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect that Baru at the Art Center is not open on Mondays and doesn’t open until noon on Sundays.

The space housing the recently opened Baru at the Des Moines Art Center is much like the rest of the gallery: An elegant but spare area designed to highlight the art—or in this case the food—within. During a recent lunch, the only decoration consisted of blue Mason jars filled with fresh flowers, giving the room a modern, clean atmosphere.

Baru at the Art Center is the newest creation of David Baruthio, co-owner and chef at Baru 66 in Windsor Heights. The restaurant occupies the same space as the former art center restaurant, where diners can eat inside or on the patio when the weather is nice.

On a recent Friday lunch, the restaurant was packed, and arriving without a reservation resulted in a 20-minute wait. But who cares when there’s art to enjoy?

The menu features soups, salads and sandwiches, along with a few larger entrees like salmon risotto and confit duck leg. For sharing, there are also gourmet plates of cheeses, smoked salmon and charcuterie.

I tried the La Quercia melt ($12), a sandwich of local La Quercia prosciutto, brie and sweet mustard on toasted bread. The crusty bread, creamy brie and flavorful meat made a nice combination, especially with the kick of the mustard. A simple side salad featured firm greens and a few slivers of red onion, topped with balsamic vinaigrette.

My dining partner’s pulled pork wrap ($10) had an Asian flare, with a teriyaki-sesame sauce coating the pork rolled in a tortilla. Diners can also choose from a changing selection of desserts, and beverages include French press coffee, beer, wine and cocktails.

For dinner, you can try Baru at the Art Center on Thursdays when the restaurant stays open until 7 p.m. A special prix fixe menu is available the first Thursday of the month. A recent main course was coq au vin with spaetzle and root vegetables.

During our lunch, service was professional and efficient. Our server deftly explained the specials, food arrived quickly from the kitchen, and dishes were cleared soon after we’d finished. Baru at the Art Center offers a tasty interlude during a day of art gazing.

Baru at the Art Center

Find it: 4700 Grand Ave.


Tuesday – Sunday
Full menu: 11 a.m. (noon Sunday) — 2 p.m.
Gourmet plates: 11 a.m. (noon Sunday) — 3 p.m.

Full menu and gourmet plates: 11 a.m. — 7 p.m.
First Thursdays full menu until 2 p.m. only
Gourmet plates served until 5 p.m.
Special Prix Fixe Menus: 5—7 p.m.

Info: 515-271-0332

About the Author

Laura is contributor to Juice Magazine.

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