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Row House: A Feast of Biblical Proportions

We often talk of an event being of biblical proportions.  By that we mean something enormous.  Last night we celebrated my birthday at Topeka’s Row House Restaurant.  The delightful dinner made me rethink what “biblical proportions” means.

The Row House ( is Chef Greg Fox’s unique restaurant vision.  Instead of the same myriad of choices every day, Row House’s menu offers an appetizer, a salad, soup, three entrees, one of which is vegetarian, and three deserts, each of which changes regularly as Chef Fox and his crew come up with new creations from locally grown, fresh seasonal items.  Last night’s menu included a feta cheese with dill and phyllo pastry appetizer, a salad of mixed greens with spaghetti squash, candied bacon and a basil honey vinaigrette and roasted cauliflower soup.  The three entrees were orzo with roasted eggplant, mushrooms and tomato with creamy thyme sauce, salmon with poppy seed mustard sauce over apple, fennel and pine nut slaw, and seared beef with maple barbeque and sweet potato polenta fries.  The three desserts were a champagne pear gelée, plum upside down cake and a chocolate sandwich cookie with vanilla malt filling.

What is distinctive about the Row House is their “tasting” option in which you get a sampling of every dish on the menu.  Each sampling is a small exquisite delight to the palate.  Just as you are beginning to say, “I want more of this,” it disappears and a new treat is brought to you.  The effect of this is threefold.  First, conversation is dominated by discussion about the food.  “How was this made?  “Did you taste the basil in the vinaigrette?”  “Isn’t this wonderful?”  Second, you begin to look forward to the next dish.  Finally, at the end you are very satisfied without being stuffed.

I was reminded of the yellow fruit in C.S. Lewis’s Perelandra, which tasted like a whole new kind of pleasure.  It left one longing for more but with a sense that it would be vulgar to taste it again—“like asking to hear the same symphony twice in a day” (chapter 3).  Pleasure in the Bible is not like gorging yourself with a third piece of cherry pie until you can hardly get up from the table.  Biblical pleasure is a joy that paradoxically makes you long for more and satisfies you at the same time.

At $37 a meal Row House is not a place that most of us can enjoy weekly, but for special nights out you cannot do any better.  And, Chef Fox, how did you do those sweet potato polenta fries?  I want more!

2 thoughts on “Row House: A Feast of Biblical Proportions

  1. Happy Birthday to one of my all-time favorite theologians! Your posts leave me longing for more and quite satisfied at the same time!

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