Location: 205 E. 14th St. Wedged between Arby's and Burger King, east of State of Iowa office buildings and south of Mexican business main street on Grand Ave. This building once contained a Maid-Rite.
The Tenderloin: This was unique in two ways. The first was its cut of pork. The close-up picture shows a very thin cut that appears not to have been pounded by any mallet or tenderizer, you can see a very smooth surface to the pork cut. It is thin, but maintains a tenderness that other thin tenderloins do not. The second unique characteristic is the lightly seasoned breading. There is a hint of pepper that reminds me only of what fried chicken gets dipped in. The breading separates itself from the pork quickly, giving you two different flavors. I took one sandwich home with me and found it had something like a butterfly shape. The thin sandwich made a clear wavy pattern when seen from across. This is served with pickles, ketchup and mustard on a toasted bun. Overall a 7.5
Price: $4.75 with fries in a basket, available in multiple topping varieties for extra charge.
Service: Counter service, if no crowd is around then they will take food to your table.
Also on the Menu: Barbecue favorites like smoked ribs, burnt-ends sandwich, and baked beans.
Ambiance: There is a sizable lunch crowd from the nearby office buildings. Combined with the slow service there will be long lines to order, and you will stand waiting for your number to be called. Some smoke drifts into the dining area, which is brightly lit with generic food posters. Garish window painting colors the light that enters from the storefront. Outdoor picnic tables are covered in snow, and very close to busy street.
Final Thoughts: This was definitely a unique tenderloin. It was both thin and tender, and clearly homemade. The seasoned breading makes it a worthy addition to the Des Moines tenderloin scene. Their 2 for price of 1 coupon compelled me to visit before the end of the year, and I was surprised by the results.
Since I had last visited this place over a year ago, some things had changed and then changed again. The original owner had sold up, and the new operator was, by many accounts, not the same quality. Since then there has been a fire, a closing for at least a month, and the return of the original owner.
The ambiance is exactly the same, but since the smoking ban this is now the smokiest restaurant in town. I can only guess Edzall has plans to stay in business, he displays his trademarks on the wall. Evidently, nobody else can use the phrase "Wisconsin Dog" while doing business here in Iowa.
In researching an upcoming post about tenderloins at BBQ joints, I had to check out the Big Pig. Its topped with sauced-up pulled pork. The unusual shape of the tenderloin means it is most likely made on-site. The breading sticks to the meat know, not falling off like chicken skin. The tenderloin is not as tender as I remember it. Its still worth trying.