Christopher’s restaurant in Des Moines used to be a restaurant where I really looked forward to dining. No more. Recently, I made reservations there for what was a very important family gathering. Several weeks before our reservations, the manager I spoke with on the phone assured me that we would have a round table to make it easiest for conversation. I informed her that my 86 year-old mother visiting the States from Belgium, my youngest sister and her husband and their son (also visiting from Belgium), would be joining me, my husband, our two children and their spouses. I asked her about a corkage fee, since we hoped to bring several bottles of wine with us, and I was assured that there would not be a fee. We held our son’s wedding rehearsal dinner there some eleven years ago and had great service and wonderful food. I and my husband have dined at Christopher’s on a number of occasions. On a previous occasion about two years ago, we brought our own wine and bought a bottle or two there but were not charged any corkage fee. I also impressed upon her the importance to my family of the gathering in terms of emotion and remembrance and asked that the service be up to their usual high standards. When we arrived on time for our reservations, the table was not ready. We waited at least fifteen minutes only to be seated at a long, rectangular style table. The hostess, not the woman with whom I had spoken on the phone, said that the round table would not accommodate our whole party. Needless to say, I was upset at being unable to converse as we had hoped. Since I had indicated the size of our party, I should have been told from the beginning that a round table would be uncomfortable. My sister, her husband and their son all ordered an expensive steak dinner. Each asked for “red in the middle”, and being from Belgium, for they were not familiar with American degrees of “doneness”. Accordingly, they were very specific about wanting “red” in the middle, not “pink”. When the meals arrived, their steaks were barely “pink”, and so they sent the steaks back. Ultimately, they received steaks more closely cooked to their requests; in the meantime, the remainder of the party had long finished their meals. I told the waitress about the corkage fee being waived, but when the bill was later presented, we were charged $10 per bottle. Had I not been told otherwise, it would not have been unreasonable. That is not the point, however. I was told there would be no extra charge. When my sister and I spoke with the hostess after the dinner, the hostess said that I must have misunderstood when making the reservations. Be assured, I was very clear on what I expected. After a lengthy discussion, she came to the table and apologized. Unfortunately, a free coffee or dessert or some small gesture would have helped greatly helped to make up for the service and management attitude that was unacceptable in a restaurant of such standing. I can’t imagine going back to Christopher’s restaurant as a consequence.
650 S Prairie View Dr Ste 100West Des Moines, IA 50266
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27. China Dragon
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Everyone I know raves about Splash like it was the Second Coming of Fish. I really don't see it. The food was all right, but it is REALLY expensive, and the service was slow and sort of aloof, like "You're so lucky to be eating here that I really don't have to work on pleasing you." Come on, people. This isn't New York. Drop the attitude. Frankly, I didn't see or eat anything that I couldn't have gotten at somewhere else for less cash. It's not a bad place to eat; the decor is nice. But it's not worth the price tag.
This place has more hype than truth. It's not bad but the claim of the best seafood is really a joke. Flash frozen can be found anywhere in IA. A long time ago, this used to be THE PLACE in downtown. I do think however that the oyster bar, service and atmosphere are still on top. But chewy calamari and baby lobster portions? That's why Django etc. is starting to catch up.
We grew up eating at Christophers. I get the steak each time and it is juicy, tender, and spiced just right. The staff is friendly and often go beyond the call of service. The bread is good but the ranch is awesome.