Last February, when I reviewed Row 14, I found the downtown space energizing, the wine list impressive, and chef Jensen Cummings' food innovative but lacking in assertiveness. Fast forward a year. Row 14 is still a great spot to grab a glass of wine before or after the theater but there's a new chef in the kitchen: Tim Payne, who formerly owned Terroir in Longmont. (Cummings moved on to open Slotted Spoon.)
Row 14's menu still lists some of the cross-cultural dishes Cummings' pioneered—dishes such as the Philly Cheesesteak empanadas. But now, there are also bistro-style favorites, such as the lamb bolognese (pictured). The dish is built from al dente housemade pappardelle, ground sweet young lamb, sauteed bitter greens, a chunky tomato bolognese, and a scoop of airy ricotta. It's a layered and filling dish, perfect for a cold night, and it pairs exceptionally well with a red blend from Orin Swift.
Note: Row 14 offers half-price wine specials during happy hour, but you have to sit—and eat—in the bar to take advantage of the deal. I find this restriction unnecessary and shortsighted.