I figured it was finally time for a few comments on Mosaix Wine Bar in Des Moines, as I am a semi-regular patron there (they're located just right down the street from my home).
Mosaix is a mystery to me. The best way I can think to say it is that I've never *wanted* to like a restaurant so much in my life... I like their ambience, their menu ideas, their wine list, their location, everything. But I have been disappointed there more often than not.
They bill themselves as a restaurant & tapas bar, so they have two menus -- tapas that do not change, & a seasonal menu that does. From what I've eaten, the quality of the tapas is higher, but there are not enough choices (for repeat visits), & nearly everything costs more than comparable places in various midwestern cities. I have also been disappointed in their entrees several times... everything *sounds* good as described on the menu, but somehow falls short of expectations. Occasionally, the sauces are too overpowering, the cuts of meat are not up-to-par, etc.
They also participate in pet peeve of mine -- an upscale restaurant who chooses an accompaniment (even if it's a good one) & then pairs it with half the items on the menu. The other evening it was basmati rice, which is fine, but there's just no way it matches well with that many different entrees (IMO)! For the prices Mosaix charges -- upper-end for Des Moines -- I expect more.
Another issue is the service, which ranges from slow but knowledgeable to overworked & understaffed to just plain unwelcoming. As a solo diner, it's common for me to be "overlooked," but there is some sort of inefficiency at Mosaix in either the kitchen or the waitstaff or both. Keep in mind that I am a *very* slow diner, so if a place is too slow for me, then we're talking *really* slow.
So all in all, a mixed bag, every single time I dine there. It's frustrating.
As a side note: my gourmet-companion recently had dinner at a new establishment in Wichita, 626 located at (naturally) 626 E. Douglas near Old Town. He says it comes highly recommended & is probably the best food he's had in Wichita outside of The Olive Tree.
The chef is NYC-trained & in Wichita via his wife's career, & although some residents fear his venture may be too progressive for their city's tastes, my friend said it was very busy for a weeknight. Good sign! Going in their favor is that they are not trying to be too much too fast -- the menu is limited but of high-quality, the prices are *very* reasonable, & the wine list is internationally-interesting & within reach. My friend claims it is simply the best halibut he's ever had anywhere, period, & that the calamari ranks in the Top 10.
626 is extremely unassuming from the outside (& even somewhat from the inside) & may not draw in a lot of unexpected traffic, so please spread the word!
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