Row 14 Bistro and Wine Bar

September 26th, 2011

If there’s one thing you need to know about Executive Chef Jensen Cummings, it’s that he has a really unique view on what the food scene in Denver should be like. More informed. More communal. More playful. Be willing to try new things, say hi to an unknown neighbor, and enjoy some of the best products this great city has to offer.

This philosophy is close to my heart. My personal goal is to introduce people to new flavors, and products that are near and dear to the Front Range. So when Jensen bumped into me at the Denver Burger Battle, and asked if I’d like to come hang out in the kitchen for a night, I was more than pleased to accept.

So on this evening, I was not actually dining at Row 14. But I have since been in to have dinner with Mrs. Indie Eats. While this isn’t a normal restaurant review, it’s close enough. So instead of scrambling to come up with an more accurate title, I will leave it at what it is. Because Indie Eats Stages at Row 14 doesn’t sound right, and Fireside Chats with Chef Jensen Cummings is a little long winded.

Anyways, I came in to Row 14′s kitchen for a Colorado Wino night. This particular night was a blind tasting of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc from Colorado. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to participate in the wine tasting, but from the looks of it, everyone was really enjoying the offerings. The great thing about this event was it was free. Free wine from Colorado Winos and free snacks from Row 14′s kitchen. All of this ties back into what I was talking about with Chef Cummings. Free events like this are going to attract more people, and continue to make Denver a better epicurean society.

So Chef Cummings prepared some great snacks, some of which are featured in the slide show below, but he also let me hang out and see the full menu. I even got to plate some dishes on my own. That’s right Denver, if you had the House Salad that night, it was made by yours truly. Sadly, I didn’t take a picture of my greatness, but here are some shots of what the professionals put together.

Plating on the line

Picture 10 of 10

The plates that went out were amazing. They all have a global flare to them, and playfully incorporate different tastes, and cooking methods. One of my favorite things about this menu is it’s easy to understand. It’s not intimidating, and this execution makes it easy to experience different flavors from across the globe.

As usual, I had to ask Jensen my closing Indie Eats’ questions. Here’s what he had to say.

IE: What’s your favorite spot to grab local grub?

JC: I am a big fan of Moe’s BBQ. You can get great bbq and bowl all in one spot. Can’t beat that. Its also within walking distance of my place, which is nice.

IE: What’s one tip you have for the at-home cook?

JC: Seasoning! Always take the time to season your product precisely. Don’t just throw salt and pepper at the ingredient. Make sure that you get the right amount of seasoning on each bite. Use one hand to season and the other to handle the product, that way no moisture gets onto your seasoning hand and clumps up the salt or pepper. It is something that is really important for the home cook and the professional cook!

Make sure to like Row 14 on Facebook. They consistently have new events, as well as late night stoner dish specials. Yep, I wrote that out correctly. Those dishes are for the inner fat kid in all of us.

All of these pieces come together in one cohesive conclusion. Row 14 is a great addition to Denver. It’s not overpriced, it’s not too fancy, and the food is really well thought out, and executed. Chef Jensen Cummings is a very bright Chef, and I love what he’s trying to do for the Denver food scene.

Do yourself favor, head down and grab a bite. You won’t be disappointed.