The Chronicle visits the Bistro

On a rainy Friday before spring break, Professor Andrew Langager, Kennedy Ballinger, and I visited the Iowa Culinary Institute at DMACC’s Bistro. Our server was friendly and very informative. The servers are first-year students and wear blue shirts. First-year culinary students get experience in the “front of house” as servers while second-year students work in the back and prepare the food.

The Bistro’s lunch is a three-course meal. There is an appetizer, main course, and dessert, all for $15. The menu changes from time to time. The week we went, we ate Korean-style food. I had a seafood allergy, and they accommodated that. If you have any allergies, let them know ahead of time. They like to cook and use different ingredients to substitute for certain allergies.

The menu was limited to seven entrees and three starters but had a really good variety. It didn’t, however, have any vegan or vegetarian main entree options. The menu on the website had vegetarian options, so this can vary.

One thing I wanted to talk about is the scenery. It is located in Building 7 and has a modern, simplistic look. It’s nicely sized, spaced out, and has a relaxed atmosphere. The most eye-catching part is the big windows. The window shows how beautiful the landscape is; I can only imagine how lovely it looks at night. Now, let’s get into the food!

My starter was a Boursin Arancini. It was a risotto fried in a bread-crusted ball with cheese. When it came out, I cut my ball in half. It was fresh and hot. It was a light and texture-heavy starter. It wasn’t overly greasy, which is good because my main dish was fried. It was very cheesy, which is a plus for me. There were three balls, and I thought it was a good starter. The green sauce was on it, but I didn’t think it influenced the dish flavor-wise. It did, however, give it some color.

My main dish was Korean Fried Chicken, which consists of crispy chicken, gochujang sauce, and spicy slaw. I had to get an alternative side because the gochujang sauce was made from scratch, although it probably didn’t contain shellfish. They used fish sauce and wanted to be extra cautious. So they changed my sauce along with my side dish. Professor Langager got the original, and I got the modified version. I can’t tell you how they differ, but I did enjoy mine. It had a tangy barbeque taste. I believe that is why they substituted my side dish with asparagus. The slaw would have too many flavors battling. It was a smart move. The asparagus was sauteed well, and the dish was great! The star of the plate was the chicken. It was seasoned well and not too greasy. I didn’t feel like I was missing out with my alternate version.

Lastly, they came out with a cart so we could pick out dessert. I liked this touch and found it a fun way to present the last meal. We had three options, and I picked out the apple fritter. It was garnished with whipped cream and raspberries. The fritter was very good. The crust was flaky, and I liked the portion size.

After eating, I had no leftovers and felt full until it was time for dinner. It is also important to keep in mind these are students. Mistakes can be made, and this is a learning environment. Although I didn’t have to pay, I think $15 is a fair amount for a meal like this. I would recommend it to my friends, and I would go again.

Space is limited. Reservations are required; to make a reservation, you will have to email


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