Midwest Living Review
Alba is one of the restaurants helping Des Moines' East Village earn its new hip reputation. Set in a low vintage building (with curved showroom windows from its car-dealership days) a few blocks from the gleaming Capitol, Alba offers a sophisticated atmosphere and menu that are perfect when you want to splurge a little on your dining experience. Each section of the seasonal menu fuses flavors in surprising but tasty ways. The popular Warm Goat Cheese appetizer wraps the cheese in thin prosciutto and pairs the rolls with crunchy slaw and a drizzle of apple butter ($12). Similarly, the Gold and Red Beet Salad partners a variety of fresh and pickled veggies with cooked eggs in a light dressing ($8). If it's on the menu, you absolutely must try the duck breast entree, served with a fabulous creamy risotto with cranberries ($23). The dessert offerings are few, but each one tempts. Pineapple bread pudding is served in a mini cast-iron skillet to corral the accompanying ice cream and bananas Foster sauce ($8). The Citrus Tart ($7) is like a grown-up version of the lemon bar, made with fresh lemons. And if you think dessert just isn't dessert without chocolate: Molten Chocolate Cake. The restaurant has a mid-size wine list, with a handful of the wines available by the glass. The beer list is short but interesting, with offerings like Rogue Dead Guy ($5.50) Salvaged wooden doors hanging from the ceiling contribute to Alba's hip, urban vibe--even if they don't do much for noise control. In fact, noise was probably the only downside to our visit on a busy Saturday night. Hardwood floors, solid-wood tables and two walls of glass bounce the sound around, obscuring the light music we heard playing only after the restaurant began to empty late in the evening. Alba's other inducements--good wine, a varied and interesting menu and solid service--worked magic on most of the couples we saw dining there, who strolled away holding hands.