Row 14: They’re Doing it Right

Before I even start this article I have to tell you all about Row 14’s new On the Road, Off the Vine, To the Table initiative.  Row 14 is teaming up with Il Mondo Vecchio Salumi.

You pay only $350 (they’re seriously making no money on this).

You get a two-day, all-inclusive trip that includes transportation to and from the Grand Valley, sack lunches packed for the ride, an overnight stay at Wine Country Inn in Palisade, Colo., as well as all wine tastings and the 12-course Disassembly Dinner.

There are going to be wine experts, three wineries, great scenery, plenty of drink and good company.

So what the heck is a Dissassembly dinner and why is spell checker saying that’s not a word?  First of all because spellchecker doesn’t know the hip lingo, but more importantly, it means that they are going to “disassemble” a pig right in front of you, which you will then eat!  If that doesn’t sound amazing, you are either too squeamish or do not enjoy awesome.

The tickets are only on sale till July 7th so give them a call at  (303) 825-0100 and get involved!

Now onto the new menu.

Row 14 likes dirt, especially when edibles are growing in it. Don’t worry, none of the dirt actually makes it into the food, though they keep some stashed on the walls in pretty frames just in case someone really hardcore comes in.

Row 14’s head chef, Jensen Cummings, is really into the idea of mixing Old World with New World.  He has been pulling the idea off for quite a while, using traditional cooking from around the world and marrying that with today’s global influences.  See: Philly Cheesesteak Empanadas.  Row 14’s new menu expands on this premise.

I especially enjoyed the Shrimp Foie Rangoons (an appetizer), the Savoy Spinach Salad (a salad), and the Niman Ranch Pork Cheek dish (an entree). If you’re still hungry try the Creme Fraiche Panna Cotta, comprised of strawberry gel and rhubarb and black pepper meringue.  It was a light dessert that sat easily in the dessert pocket of the stomach organ.

You can offset your guilt from consuming such amazing eats with the knowledge that Row 14 sources most of their ingredients locally. However, that doesn’t even scratch the surface, so if you’re further interested, we suggest you take a look at some blogs that know far more about food, like Eater or The Westword.

The Owner and Wine Director David Schneider is also really embracing the Old World, New World idea.  He has traveled all around the world, tasting thousands of wines to assemble a list that embodies a global representation of flavors and styles. Rough job.  It is extensive, variable and interestingly diverse enough to keep you entertained for nights and nights.

We started off with a beer vs. wine competition.  I chose the 2011 Tangent Winery Albarino over the Avery Karma when they were paired with Jensen’s Octopus Flatbread.

The next match was between Lost Abbey’s Lost and Found and a 2008 Garfield Estate Syrah, which were paired with the pork cheek.  The wine certainly held its own and enhanced the spices in the pork, but the Lost and Found really balanced the dish while creating a myriad of new flavors.  I preferred the beer, but I generally do, so I advise you go and match them up for yourself.

Moving on with the evening, the next pairing was well suited for the current heat in Denver. Are you hot right now?  Ya, so am I. That’s why one of my highlights from the new wine menu was the (new world) 2009 Skyleaf Riesling.  This one hails from New Zealand, and on a hot day it is so refreshing that it is veritably chuggable. It’s not to hard on the wallet either, so have a few.

The best pairings go beyond just the food, and take into account the weather or your mood or how the stars align on a specific Tuesday, so don’t be afraid to ask your server or bartender what’s going on.

Row are still offering a great selection of rotating tap handles for beer and hitting their marks on classic cocktails, as well as being one of the only places in the world with Fernet on tap.

They’re doing it right, and I’ll be seeing them again very soon.

About Josh Rapp

Josh is a beer and whiskey enthusiast. He is a home brewer and a long time member of the Denver Whiskey Club and Denver Homebrew Club. He also makes Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey for money.