Guru: a spiritual guide; a person who has a lot of experience in, or knowledge about, a particular subject (Merriam-Webster).
The place is Guru BBQ, downtown Des Moines. The subject is global barbeque. The result is “the best BBQ I’ve ever had” (as concluded by my husband) … and I never disagree with my husband … at least not when he’s absolutely right!
This little foodventure started with my husband saying that the next time we wanted to try a new place to eat, he had a place in mind. He wouldn’t tell me where, just that it was relatively new, we hadn’t been there before and that someone he works with had highly recommended it. Is he romantic, or what? He knows me so well.
I did manage to spoil the surprise a little bit when I was reading an article in “Food and Beverage Iowa Business Quarterly” highlighting three individuals who left “Cube Life” for the hospitality industry. One of the three was the Manager/Bar Manager of Guru BBQ and I happened to say to my husband “Hey, we should try this place sometime.” to which I got that look. That “look” that says “Really? You had to go and ruin my surprise?”
I told him he still gets bonus points for thoughtfulness and intrigue.
Last night we decided it was time to check this place out …
Is this some gorgeous food, or what?
- Guru’s Smoked Rye Mule: When I saw this on the menu I thought, “smoked rye”? What is that? It’s not the Templeton Rye that’s smoked … it’s the ICE CUBES. I do not know exactly how they pull this off but it gives a very subtle smoky taste and aroma to the drink. And they were kind enough to make mine with gin as I am not a whiskey gal. If you are a whiskey fan but unfamiliar with Templeton Rye, another choice Iowa product, check out their website.
- Thai Chili Lime Wings: These wings were the perfect balance of crispy and tender, saucy but not sloppy, sweet and heat. The garnish of carrots, daikon and cilantro, and the wasabi ranch dressing put the wings right over the top of the run-of-the-mill appetizer. I’m excited to try the Roasted Raspberry Chipotle wings next time!
- Chocolate Bacon Bacon Chili: No typo here … you read it right. I am often hesitant to order chili at restaurants because it is either thick and pasty or bland and boring or, worst of all, both. This chili is amazing. Smoky meat and beans in a rich tomato base drizzled with sour cream, generously sprinkled with bacon and topped with … hello … shaved chocolate! Don’t think sweet on this one … think dark and rich. Better yet … don’t think at all … just try it!
- Korean Tacos: Pork, Guru Korean BBQ sauce, and a cucumber “relish”: this seems like too simple an ingredient list for the amount of flavor in this dish. I ordered two tacos but you can choose if you just want one, or maybe even three. They also have a brunch taco and a chipotle honey taco so there’s always the “mix-and-match” option.
- Brisket: One-half pound of tender, smoky, burnt-end goodness. Just look at that picture! This meat requires no knife … in fact I didn’t even use a fork when I stole some from my husband’s tray. Whether you choose to add the traditional Guru BBQ sauce, the Harissa BBQ sauce, the Korean BBQ sauce, or a little of each, you will not be disappointed. The “Off The Pit” dinners come with a piece of chile verde cornbread (🙌🙌) and two sides. We chose the chocolate bacon bacon chili (I already sang its praises) and the sweet and tangy slaw (fresh, crunchy and not overdressed).
- Dessert: Yes they have that too but, as you can see, there is no picture. And it’s not because I ate it before remembering to take a picture. I was just too full.
I want you to know that I am not exaggerating anything here. I go to many restaurants that are good but not special, and some that are just disappointing. If I try a place that doesn’t impress me, I will not write about it. I’m not a food critic. My foodventurous blogs are meant for those special places that leave me with curiousity (how did they do that?), a bucket-list moment (I’m so glad I tried that!) and, most importantly, a satisfied tummy (that was so good!).
Thanks, Guru! You’re 3 for 3!
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