Monday, August 31, 2015

RowHouse Restaurant - Topeka, KS

When we visited Topeka, Kansas we got reservations for what looked like it would be a wonderful restaurant. Rowhouse was the number 1 rated (out of 319) restaurant in Topeka on Trip Advisor. It has a set menu, with dishes that change weekly. The menu always includes a salad, a soup, three entries of which one is always vegetarian, and three desserts. They use fresh and local ingredients, sometimes out of their own garden. They often sell out way ahead of time, but we made reservations months in advance so we had no problem. 

We had reservations for 5:30, when they first open, and the physical surroundings revealed how the restaurant got its name. We found ourselves in front of a block of rowhouses that pretty much looked the same. It took us a minute to spot the restaurant name in the header above the front door. Conveniently, it was just a few blocks from the Kansas State Capitol building which we'd visited earlier in the day. 
When we left after our meal, we emerged from the basement and a door that is beneath the level shown in the photograph. 
The facility is thin and tall, with the restaurant encompassing all three floors, with steep narrow steps between them. Fortunately, on a very warm day, we were led downstairs into the basement which is the coolest part of the house. We quickly started to receive our courses and the food and format proved to be very good. One of my very favorite items was a starter, not even on the menu, a small piece of bread with maple infused butter, slices of radish, chives and sea salt. It was a nice combination of different flavors and textures. 

Fresh bread with maple infused butter was also great.
Another favorite was chilled strawberry soup with mint and peach and a dollop of salted whipped cream. It reminded me of borscht, but with strawberry sweetness, a hint of mint, a little texture and sweetness of diced peaches and some creamy blended salty whipped cream. Perfect for a hot day and very creative. I love new combinations that provide interesting or surprising taste experiences.
Some nice dishes that were good, but not great, included, a jumbo shrimp with tomato and citrus salsa and plantains, 
a slaw with kohlrabi, radish and cucumber,
and a salad with arugula, spinach, parmesan, garlic crisps and basil vinaigrette. 
As with any large menu, some items will connect more than others. I was underwhelmed by the apricot bbq boneless beef spareribs, kind of dry and not much apricot flavor.
The dessert plate was incredible. Brownie with beet juice and cherry reduction (wow), lemon and goat cheese cream pie (wow) and blueberry and citrus sorbet (not as wow, but very good).
I love dinners that provide lots of small plates and many different tastes, and although each plate was small, we were stuffed by the end of dinner. I love this concept and would come back in a heart beat if ever in Topeka again. 


  1. A+ for the appetizers and desserts, my favorite part of the menu anyway. The setting was also very fun, although I wouldn't have chosen being right next to the bar as we were.

  2. The food is beautifully presented. If the taste matched the visual, it was a delicious meal for sure.