The Gateway Market is a high-end grocery store with the best selection of rare cheese and wine, and local meat and produce. It has classes and cooking events listed on its website. Its founder, local super-chef George Formaro, recently had two of his restaurants finish in the top three of a local best restaurant poll. His success has brought countless praise from far and wide, getting the offerings from the Gateway Market Cafe mentioned in Esquire and Bon Apetit magazines. In addition to that, he eats tenderloins and serves them at his restaurants. I had to make it to the new location of Gateway Market in West Des Moines to check out his take on this sandwich.
Special note: I ate this at the Gateway Market West location, but right now its only listed on the online menu for the Des Moines location. So if you take the directions, you won't find a tenderloin sandwich when you get there, at least for now.
Location: 520 Market St in West Des Moines, inside the Villages at Ponderosa development.
Directions: Take the Mills Civic Parkway exit from I-35, turn north on 60th St.
Online at: http://gatewaymarket.com/
The Tenderloin: First things first, I usually prefer giant messy and greasy tenderloins to these types of small gourmet sandwiches. I think the Augusta in Oxford did a better job with high-quality ingredients. I hope the breading close-up pictures come through with good resolution, because its finely applied with visible seasonings and no extra grease or chunks falling off. The presentation is about as good as you could ask for, with sliced pickles and shredded lettuce, and bumps the score up a little. Served on a fresh bun from Formaro's South Union Bakery. Overall 7.0 out of ten.
Price: $7.95 a la carte.
Also on the Menu: The Gateway Market has a wide selection of high end stuff, freshly prepared Ramen Noodles, BBQ smoked sandwiches, gourmet burgers, and fish tacos. The west location has a pizza oven.
Service: Well groomed servers take your order at the counter and bring your food to your table.
Ambiance: This place is right at home in the affluent and luxurious side of West Des Moines. There are huge windows with a view of a fountain from the dining area.
Final thoughts: My previous entries have been about the typical small town pub and grubs like the Peru Bar and Grill, or Fat Randi's in Van Meter. The Gateway Market is close to a polar opposite of those two places, and its located not too far away. I like to think of the Breaded Pork Tenderloin as the people's sandwich. This upscale form of the sandwich isn't my thing, and I usually get the fish 'n chips when I visit.
Update: It has come to my attention that two of Formaro's restaurants do serve tenderloins. I think he also once gave an interview to the Des Moines Register claiming to frequent tenderloin establishments like George the Chili King and B&B Brocery and Deli. I went ahead and cut and pasted some descriptions from the respective menu pages.