I don’t get much reason to spend time in Des Moines (and really, why would anyone want to?), but when I did, I popped into Alba with Ripshaw for dinner. Alba appears to be a place full of ideas but not enough execution. The place also might be too big for what they’re trying to accomplish.
Our servers were very friendly and attentive, and we started with some lamb pot stickers which were good but came with a very sweet sauce. I far prefer a more savory sauce, and it seems like everything (at least in the Midwest) is over-sweet these days. Please save the sweetness for dessert, thank you. We are all getting enough sugar at this point in society.
I started with an invention cocktail, a Brazilian, because I was in the mood for a Polynesian drink, and I know Brazil is nowhere near Polynesia, but you get the idea. It was uninspired, possibly a creation made out of boredom. I drank it.
Ripshaw had the gnudi, which were good by themselves, but once again, the sauce was sweet. This might’ve been a good dish had the sauce been a simpler execution, something more traditional.
I had a new menu item, the Iowa Pot Pie, which I rather liked. The lamb was good, even if a bit fatty in certain pieces. The sauce was a little sweet (imparted from the carrots and peas, I think, not because of any sugar added), and a few of the carrots were cut too big and didn’t get fully cooked. The puff pastry biscuit was highly enjoyable, and this dish was a good match for a dreary rainy day.
I have no idea when I’ll be back in Des Moines again, but I would be happy to try some of the other entrees at Alba, and hopefully they will focus on making their menu simpler in the future.