Vivian’s is the 10th location that I’m judging food at for the 2016 Dine Iowa Grand Tasting Gala event.

This is my third year of judging for this event.

Chef Robert Anderson and I are the main judges. It is a privilege to get to work with him, the IRA staff, and members from both the SoyandBeefCouncils.

During the next couple of weeks, leading up to the October 6, 2016 event, we have 10 different restaurants to visit. These restaurants are all across Iowa.


Vivian’s is an upscale but casual dining experience located in downtown Des Moines at 4th and Walnut. 

Processed with Snapseed.



Open 6 days a week, Vivian’s is perfect for anyone, any age, any attire, any time! 

Processed with Snapseed.

Inside you’ll find a beautifully, remodeled interior all done by the owner and his wife.


It is very fresh and sharp looking inside. They personally describe it as, “clean lines, open ceiling, and light colors, we have added elements of wood, glass, stainless steel, sparkling tile and high-end polished fixtures.”

The Chef at Vivian’s

Chef Jerry Talerico heads up the kitchen at this dining establishment. His name might be familiar to you because he was the owner of Sam and Gabe’s Restaurant in Urbandale.

The Meal

Rules: With this event, each competitor will prepare a main entrée recipe utilizing Braveheart Black Angus Beef Short Rib, donated by Performance Food Group (at least six ounces of cooked beef must be used). Additionally, each competitor will prepare a Tofu (soft-silken or water packed) side dish or sauce (at least a 1⁄4 cup of tofu must be used).

Chicken Fried Short Rib

Processed with Snapseed.


This was the first time we’ve seen a creative dish like this. It was a great twist on the breakfast class, chicken fried steak. The meat was extremely tender and the flavor wasn’t hidden by a delicious sherry sauce. I had told one of the other judges that I could have taken a bowl of the sauce to go home with me. It was great. 

The side was a sweet corn relish featuring the use of the tofu. It was fresh and flavorful. To add some flair to it, green and black olives were added a long with some red onion. 

Processed with Snapseed.


If you’re interested in trying this dish, attend the Iowa Restaurant Association Grand Tasting Gala.

For 50% off tickets, use the code: Winner


About Nick Lucs

Nick is the founder of Des Moines Foodster. He was born and raised in Des Moines and has always had a passion for being creative in the kitchen. Des Moines Foodster has appeared in Travel + Leisure, Juice Magazine, amNY, Travel Iowa and the Greater Des Moines Convention & Visitors Bureau blog. He believes that coffee and craft beer make the world go 'round .

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *