By Tom Quiner

Michael Wedeking, owner of the Flying Mango

I’m a proud Iowan.

I’m a proud conservative.

It comes as no surprise, then, that I’m a proud meat eater.  My wife, Karen, and I had a wonderful dining experience on Saturday night at the Flying Mango.  Let me cut to the bottom line:  I had the best beef brisket I’ve ever had.  I am not one to over-use straight-faced superlatives

Let me set the stage: within sixty seconds of being seated, we had service.  We ordered a bottle of Cabernet from the professional and cordial waitress. Within another three-hundred seconds, Owner/Chef Michael Wedeking himself arrived at our table to open our bottle of wine. (How many times have you gone to a restaurant and twenty-minutes have gone by before you’ve got a drink in your hand? Not at Flying Mango.)

Mr. Wedeking has an easy-going manner about him.  He clearly likes what he does, and he’s good at it.  He’s also very confident about the quality of his offerings.  The subject of beef brisket came up.  He asked me what is the best beef brisket I’ve ever eaten in town.  I told him.  He said his would blow it away.  He wasn’t even bragging as much as relaying a fact which would be self-evident in due course.  He said they go through five-hundred pounds of it a week.  Keep in mind, this isn’t some giant chain.  It’s a locally-owned restaurant snuggled in the friendliest corner of Des Moines called Beaverdale.

I took the bait and ordered the brisket.

Once you order, it doesn’t take long before you’re facing the prettiest plate of brisket, sweet potato pancakes, and home-made slaw you’ve ever seen.  And the aroma is so mouth-watering that it’s difficult writing about it without calling for a reservation at Flying Mango and making a beeline over to 4345 Hickman Road.

The brisket is tender, juicy, and flavorful.  It features a light smoked flavor that is subtle and doesn’t overwhelm the taste of the meat.  Portions are more than plentiful.

For the record, I’d never met Mr. Wedeking or his partner/wife Suzanne Van Englehoven before Saturday.  So I speak objectively when I endorse Flying Mango.

Interestingly, Mr. Wedeking told me that only ten percent of his business comes from the immediate Beaverdale neighborhood.  I guess I’m one of many to miss the boat by driving by Flying Mango en route to other local eateries.  That will now change.

Visit their website at www.FlyingMango.com.  Call 515.255.4111 for reservations. For catering, call 515.277.1830.

Tell them Tom Quiner sent you.

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  1. Monte Gray on August 16, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    What a coincidence! My wife and I have been enjoying the Flying Mango for many years, and just had supper there a week ago!

    The previous restaurant there before was the 43rd Street Bistro, which was also a fine dining experience!

    I agree, they have the best smoked brisket in town, and it’s hard trying the other entries because I can’t get away from the brisket! I also agree, that the sweet pancake is a great choice, along with the mango sauce that goes on it!

    Glad you’ve finally discovered this gem of a restaurant!

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