Saturday, January 15, 2011

High Life Lounge Des Moines

Nobody can argue with the success Full Court Press has had in Downtown Des Moines over the past ten years. Older people can remember back then "eating downtown" meant watching tumbleweeds bounce down mainstreet every day after two in the afternoon. Full Court Press has added more to downtown than any other restaurant group in the time since. Many Des Moines residents appreciate their continued investment in Downtown Des Moines, and the dedication to eclectic eating options in unique settings. These places downtown have patios that are packed after baseball games, and get after work crowds year round.

Location: 200 Southwest 2nd Street in Des Moines

Directions: Its right next to El Bait Shop, south of downtown Des Moines and north of the baseball stadium.

Online at:

The Tenderloin: This one starts with a thin cut of pork loin pounded out to cover a good sized meal basket. It has the classic "Catcher's Mitt of Meat" shape. The thick breading was packed with seasoning salt and black pepper and it makes your mouth dry before you can taste the pork. Part of the loin had two layers of breading resulting in a half-cooked mushy area that was just bad. The thin meat and thick breading meant there was no juice left in the white pork. Served with pickles on a toasted bun. Overall 6.0 out of ten.

Price: $4.99
Also on the menu: Its pub 'n grub favorites like tater tots, a sloppy joe, broasted chicken, fried cheese curds, and more. Everything is reasonably priced, including a cheeseburger basket for $3.75.

The Chili-Cheese Fries: a nice big gloppy mess for $2.75
Service: Its table service with booths and tables or a counter at the bar.

Ambiance: The owners spend a lot of time, money, and dedicated research recreating a 1970's era neighborhood pub. Shag carpet, wood paneling, vintage beer signs, and analog televisions are visible in every direction.

Final Thoughts: Its apparent that this tenderloin is not a jewel in the crown in the food offering of the High Life Lounge or Full Court Press. The High Life Lounge's bacon wrapped tater tots and broasted chicken were featured on a highly rated cable television program. The Royal Mile has the best fish and chips in town. The Crab Rangoon Pizza at Fong's, and the Fish Tacos or Thai Peanut Wings at El Bait Shop have all won rave reviews from multiple sources.

I've heard of restaurants putting breaded or battered pork loins into the pressure fryer used for broasted chicken. You can see in the video of their appearance how the broaster keeps all the juices and flavor in the fried chicken. Compared to the total dryness of the tenderloin, the fried chicken comes out great:

video uploaded by youtube user brendenfraser, direct link here:

1 comment:

  1. Service is a joke, waitresses and bartenders are basically worthless - even by 'drive-bar' standards. Bartenders will just stare into space while you stand there waving a $20 and shouting for thier attention. Waitresses are even worse. They...'ll spend all their time talking with each other and not doing much else. Started a tab at the bar and then moved to a table after things opened up. We go to leave and she gives me only my bill from the table and refuses to combine the totals or to walk the extra three feet to the bar register to close out my bar tab. they also left a paying party of seven standing while a single individual held FIVE tables of four seats each for almost two hours -- and last week we were told that customers are not allowed to reserve tables.

    Good cheap food and cheap beer on 'crappy beer night' but the staff are worthless.