After a long day on the show floor, it’s always nice to unwind with a nice dinner and some drinks (even though I’m not drinking right now). And given that I am the de facto foodie on most of our trips, it fell to me to find a place to go. After some menu and locale searching, I decided on Row 14 Bistro. It was a little off the 16th Street Mall, so I figured we would be safe from the “show crowd”.
Walking into Row 14, it definitely had that contemporary American feel that I like. It definitely had that nice, after-work, downtown happy hour/dinner vibe to it. It is self-described as the type of place that combines the focus on accessible wines and seasonal food; just my type of place. There is a long bar to the right when you walk in, and seating off toward the back of the restaurant. We were showed to about the furthest corner in the back (apparently they expected us to get rowdy or something). Everyone ordered a round of drinks (I was on my tonic water…this is before I realized I should be drinking club soda…ugh), and then we got to chatting. It was the first time our newest team member, Steve, had gone out to dinner with me. He didn’t realize I was a foodie and food blogger, so I had a great time telling him about my recipes and reviews and educating him on a variety of things on the menu. He ultimately decided on the crispy duck confit which sounded delicious, but probably would have accounted for a week worth of fat at least. I ended up going for the pork tenderloin. And I added some Gazpacho for good measure as it seemed like a better way than another salad to get vegetables (1 salad a day is more than enough).
It didn’t take long for the gazpacho to make it’s way out…but it was long enough to see a woman fall face first out of her chair in the bar. One of those scary, but funny random things that happens on some Thursday nights. Anyway, she was ok, and I was on to my soup. The flavors in the soup were nice and vibrant. There was a bit of cucumber relish that gave a nice vinegary bite that perfectly complemented the sweetness of the tomato puree. There were a few small croutons that add a nice textural element as well. I ended up trying to eat around the avocado cream; just so I could make sure that I minimized the amount of fat that I had, but the whole thing was a very fresh and light way to start the meal.
Next up was the pork loin. It was served on a bed of farro with a mushroom “relish” and a bit of a pan sauce. Where the gazpacho was light and fresh, this was a bit richer and more earthy. The farro was very nicely cooked; a bit al dente with good flavor. And the mushrooms added a nice firmness and earthiness to the dish. As for the pork, there were some nicely seasoned well cooked pieces, and there were some that were a bit over cooked. I was actually surprised by the inconsistency of the cooking. And I didn’t really get any of the truffle flavor that I was expecting in the dish. I ended up leaving about half of the farro because there was a fair amount of oil on the bottom of the plate and because right now I’m trying to minimize my carb intake.
Overall, it was good, though not great. Maybe if the pork had been a little more consistently prepared it would have gotten to that great level because the gazpacho was top notch. Steve seemed to definitely enjoy his duck confit (how can you blame him? It’s cooked in fat!!) And David liked his fish, though he wasn’t a huge fan of the crispy skin (he had sea bass). The vibe was great for a post show dinner, and overall we definitely had a good time. I definitely recommend making the stop by Row 14 if you want to get away from the more touristy 16th Street Mall. And then you can do as Steve and I did and head out on a 16th Street Mall pub crawl!!