Baratta’s thrives on culinary excellence but also quite pricey


by Kristen Erickson

You’ve talked in class, chatted on the phone and flirted at thebar. Now it’s time to take that special someone out for a romanticdinner, but where?

For south-side dining that’s sure to encourage romance, tryBaratta’s, 2320 South Union in Des Moines. Nearly hidden in asouth-side residential neighborhood, Baratta’s offers diners a datelocation that’s sure to surpass the typical chain-restaurantexperience.

Although the meal may cost more than a typical burger basket orpasta bowl, Baratta’s more than compensates with its romanticcandle-lit tables and enticing menu options.

On my recent visit, I arrived before my date and was pleasedwhen the hostess immediately offered to start me with a drink atthe bar. Although the amaretto sour I ordered set me back about asmuch as four of the $1 draws that I would typically be drinking ona Thursday night, it was well-made and started my Baratta’sexperience on a pleasant note.

The bar was intimate and well-stocked, although the two largetelevisions on either side contrasted sharply with the romanticcolor scheme and lit candles.

Once my date arrived we were immediately seated in the second oftwo upstairs rooms. Our waitress was friendly and attentive, butseemed eager to wrap up her evening.

The menu seemed fairly diverse for a small restaurant. Rangingfrom soup and salad options to a wide range of Italian entrees toseafood and filet mignon, it seems Baratta’s could satisfy almostany appetite.

Although I was intrigued by the pan-fried chicken livers, $9.95,I ultimately chose the spinach-and-cheese-filled tortellini withpesto cream sauce for $14.95. The tortellini itself was prettystandard, but the fresh mushrooms and chunks of tomato made thesauce divine. My date opted for the seafood Genovese, $15.95, whichhe also enjoyed.

Both meals came with a cup of the soup de jour – some type ofzingy variation on a cream of potato and a salad. The soup couldhave been warmer, but the mixed-greens salad hit the spot. We alsohad a basket of bread at our table.

For those of age, Baratta’s offers a lengthy wine list,available either by the glass or by the bottle and an ampleoffering of both domestic and imported bottled beers.

The dessert menu offers a selection of assorted cakes, shakes ormalts, cannollis and cheesecakes, each for $3.95.

The restaurant is open Monday through Friday for lunch from 11a.m. to 2 p.m. Dinner hours are Monday through Thursday, 5 to 10p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 4 to 11 p.m. and Sunday, 5 to 9 p.m.

Delivery and carryout are also available by calling243-4516.