Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fabulous Prix Fixe Dinner at Row House Restaurant, Topeka


When I thought of Kansas I imagined mile upon mile of corn and wheat fields. Of course, I knew I'd find cities, too, but I didn't expect the world-class meal I was served at Row House Restaurant in Topeka.

Row House Restaurant, Topeka, Kansas

Should you walk down Van Buren Street, I bet you'd never guess there's a restaurant from the exterior of the building.  Indeed, number 515 is a row home, a charming one with three levels plus a garden and patio--  all that work well for small group and intimate dining experiences. Many of the fresh ingredients are grown in the garden just steps from the kitchen. The ground floor includes a small bar with an atmosphere conducive to camaraderie. 

Chef Greg Fox changes the menu weekly, which is updated and posted on their website. He says, "I base my menus off the season, what's available, and what I feel like eating.  I am inspired by Kansas, by my upbringing, and by the many great women in my family who fed me all these years. You always find a taste of where I am from in my cooking. "

In the kitchen with Chef Greg Fox (right). 

Although the menu selections change from week to week, the meals always include a salad, soup, three entrees (one is always vegetarian), and three desserts. That means you get all those dishes at what I consider an amazingly low price -- $37.00 per person.  Personalization is available should you decide you want, for example -- a larger portion of just two of the entrees or just one dessert. 

I didn't make any menu changes because I wanted to taste each of  Chef's fresh dishes. The following decadent menu was served in late September.
Chef's Appetizer of the Day

Salad of romaine, radish, cornmeal croutons, and capers with Feta vinaigrette. The croutons were deliciously different.

Salad Course

The soup of the day was potato, carrot and kale: smooth and creamy but not too thick.

Potato Soup

Entrees began with the vegetarian choice: pumpkin and parmesan risotto with mustard greens.  Very appropriate for fall.
Vegetarian entree

Next came beef tenderloin, parsley chimichurri, and roasted root vegetables.  I especially loved the beets.

Lastly I was served a small portion of crusted chicken breast stuffed with Brie, cranberry cherry fool, and roasted root vegetables.  This was my favorite entree because I prefer chicken to beef and the sweet boldness of the cherries teamed well with the poultry.

Crusted chicken and vegetables by Greg Fox.

For dessert, three bite size servings arrived on one plate.  What a great idea. I wish other restaurants would offer this option.  Mine included chocolate cream pie with raspberry swirl, banana crumb cake and vanilla custard and apple walnut granola parfait. I have a sweet tooth and loved them all.

Dessert Plate served as the final course.

If I lived in Topeka I would be a regular at the Row House.  Greg Fox demonstrated his superior command of the kitchen and use of seasonally fresh produce to create tantalizing combinations. No wonder locals return time after time.

Row House
515 SW Van Buren
Topeka, Kansas
785 235 1700

Open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday. Reservations strongly recommended.   

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