New York and Chicago can have their pizza debates. We’ll let KC, Texas, and the Carolinas duke it out over BBQ. We’ll be over here, white napkin tucked into our shirt, devouring Des Moines’ signature dish, Steak de Burgo.
For the uninitiated, Steak de Burgo is a filet cooked to order served with a sauce that is either butter based or cream based, both containing ample amounts of garlic and Italian herbs. Both versions have their champions, although we insist you can’t go wrong with either.
The dish is rooted in Des Moines’ storied history of Italian American restaurants, coming from either Johnny & Kay’s or Vic’s Tally Ho around WWII, depending on who you ask. We’ll leave that debate up to the historians but when it comes to finding the best Steak De Burgo in Greater Des Moines, these places, as voted by our followers, all put their stake in the ground as Des Best of Des Best.
Tursi Latin King
Many consider the Steak de Burgo at Latin King to reign supreme. Considering we featured them in a mouth-watering video, who are we to argue? Cooked to perfection, ladled with butter, and topped with a giant mushroom cap and more fresh garlic than can be reasonably imagined, it’s presented on a sizzling hotplate that only adds to the WOW factor.
Who says you can’t have it both ways? Head west to Dexter and check out the underrated and unpretentious Rusty Duck, where they serve up huge full-pound servings of de burgo both ways — with a garlic cream sauce or butter and wine sauce with garlic and basil. This is small town dining with big time flavor. (Bonus tip: The burgers here are great too.)
Style: Cream or butter
Every local’s favorite homey date night spot raises the steaks with their 6 or 8oz USDA Choice beef tenderloin sautéed in garlic, fresh oregano, basil, butter, and spices. If you prefer chicken to cow, they have a Chicken DeBurgo option, but no matter where you fall on the chicken or steak debate, we can all agree that they both pair well with that piece of complimentary red velvet cake you get at the end.
Renowned for their prime rib and salad bar, you’d be doing yourself a disservice not to give their de burgo a shot as well. Two 5oz medallions covered in butter sauce served with a baked potato or side of spaghetti is enough to warrant our attention, but throw in their famous salad bar on top of that and we’re already on our way.
If you want Steak de Burgo in a comfortable neighborhood setting, look no further than Baratta’s. Nestled on the south side, this community staple serves up Italian goodness like pizzas, pastas and chicken parmesan. Oh yeah, and a Steak de Burgo served with their own unique seasoning sautéed in butter. This is comfort food at its best.
Des Moines has a rich (and delicious) history of Italian American cuisine. Christopher’s, which has been a Des Moines tradition for more than 50 years, is one of the stalwarts of the scene, and their de burgo is the star of the show. Served with a cream sauce and Italian seasonings, with a heaping side of Beaverdale charm. An order of their famous meatballs in sauce to start completes the experience.
Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse
Want your de burgo with a side of Sinatra? Check out Johnny’s, where the Steak de Burgo is their signature dish and Oceans 11 is their signature vibe. Served with a side of garlic mashed potatoes with a heavy pour from their curated wine list, request a sleek booth, and you’ll be living your best Rat Pack life.
Tumea and Sons
Another in the long lineage of Des Moines Italian places, Tumea & Sons has been serving up crowd favorites like Pasta Diablo and Manicotti for more than 20 years. Their Steak de Burgo consists of two 5oz beef medallions in a creamy, garlic herb sauce. Get a side of penne rigate or spaghetti for the full Iowa/Italian mash-up. *Chef’s kiss*
Live large at Des Moines’ premiere downtown steakhouse, where many a business deal has been sealed. 801 serves only USDA Prime steaks, with add-ons like foie gras, bone marrow butter, and portabella mushroom ragout. The de burgo is only available on their Sunday Supper prix fixe menu, served alongside family style sides (lobster mac and cheese, anyone?) and their daily fresh sheet. Talk about ending your week in style.
Do you love Steak de Burgo? You’re in luck. How about vodka? Double whammy! Irina’s is a unique Russian restaurant where you can get beef stroganoff and wellington salmon, but first things first with the de burgo. It’s made with two medallions of tenderloin in a buttery sauce and just a touch of cream, served with whipped potatoes. That vodka flight is certainly enhancing things.
Feeling lucky? Located in Prairie Meadows Casino in Altoona, AJ’s serves USDA Prime beef and de burgo to die for. You can pick an 8oz filet or live dangerously and try it with a 14oz ribeye, both covered in a house-crafted white wine garlic cream sauce.
If you want another Des Moines hidden gem that never disappoints, than skip the line at Simon’s and head down to Skip’s on the south side. It’s everything we love about Des Moines…unpretentious, comfortable, and reliably great. Try the Steak de Burgo (or Chicken de Burgo), sautéed with mushrooms and butter and some garlic mashed potatoes and you’ll become a Skip’s regular, like so many before you.