Review: The Row

Tetherow restaurant in Bend takes creative approach to casual cuisine

By John Gottberg Anderson / For The Bulletin

Published Apr 4, 2014 at 12:11AM

The Row at Tetherow

Location: 61240 Skyline Ranch Road, Bend

Hours: 11 a.m. to close every day

Price range: Small plates $5 to $15, sandwiches $9 to $16, entrees $15 to $22

Credit cards: American Express, MasterCard, Visa

Kids’ menu: Yes

Vegetarian menu: Options include kale-and-quinoa salad and a pair of grilled sandwiches

Alcoholic beverages: Full bar

Outdoor seating: Seasonal patio

Reservations: Recommended

Contact: www.tetherow.com or 541-388-2582

Scorecard

OVERALL: B

Food: B+. Creative departures from standard pub fare offer more hits than misses.

Service: C-. Painfully slow, but management has just hired additional staff to meet demand.

Atmosphere: A. Beautifully designed pub with views across golf fairways to the Cascades.

Value: B+. Prices are where they should be for the quality and ambiance.

The new pub at the Tetherow Golf Club, simply called The Row, is a beautiful space with a view and a menu that bear a striking resemblance to the rolling countryside of Scotland, the birthplace of golf.

Two walls of floor-to-ceiling windows frame the acclaimed golf course that was designed by David McLay Kidd. Beyond the links, Awbrey Butte and, on a clear day, Mount Jefferson can be seen rising behind. Just to the north, one of the two new Tetherow Lodges, scheduled to open by the middle of April, dominates the view.

Tetherow opened its fine-dining restaurant, The Grill, in 2009. Perceiving a demand for a more casual sidekick, the resort opened The Row in the week before Christmas 2013. It’s been an immediate hit.

With a clientele that, on each of my visits, was predominantly 40-plus, The Row seats 50 patrons at a dozen tables and 10 more at the bar.

A single, very large flat-screen television dominates one wall, delighting sports lovers who can relax here on couches; there are an additional three TVs behind the bar. Hardwood floors and wall sections built from the cut ends of ponderosa pines lend unique design elements.

Service issues

Tetherow expanded its kitchen to accommodate the new restaurant, and executive chef Zach Hoffman is in charge of both. The menu at The Row is decidedly more casual than that of The Grill, and that’s as planned.

Whereas The Grill serves such entrees as rack of lamb and truffled gnocchi, The Row sticks with British pub-style plates like bangers and mash. A notably lower price point reflects the more informal approach.

My major complaint about The Row had to do with the service. On the most recent of my three visits, nearly every table and bar stool were filled — but there were only two people working, and both of them were tending bar, taking orders, and performing the duties of a busser, clearing tables and delivering water. Inevitably, the wait for meals and drinks was painfully slow. Once, a server brought me a wet napkin, and I didn’t even get an apology.

“We have been short-staffed,” acknowledged food-and-beverage manager Kevin Gilman. “I’ve just hired four new people to handle this.

“You don’t know, until you get a new restaurant going, that you’re going to be hit like this — and I never dreamed The Row would be as busy as it is already.”

Adventurous menu

The menu is the same for lunch and dinner. Once at midday, twice in the evening, my dining companion and I were able to sample a wide range of Hoffman’s fare. A heartier and more creative rendition of standard pub food, the cuisine was for the most part excellent. I’d like to see a little less come out of the deep fryer, but I suppose that’s where the pub element comes in.

One of our favorite small plates featured stuffed jalapenos ($7) — which were decidedly not deep-fried. Four of the piquant Mexican peppers were halved lengthwise. They were stuffed with goat cheese, a touch of preserved lemon and a sprinkle of chopped pancetta, then grilled and finished with a drizzle of fire-roasted tomato aioli. They were not overly spicy (my companion can’t eat food that’s too spicy), and we found them delicious.

I was a bigger fan than she was of the Scotch eggs ($9). Two large fresh eggs, boiled just to the edge of “hard,” were covered in ground sausage and light breading, then quickly fried and quartered. They were accompanied by a creamy brandy-peppercorn sauce that had a similar flavor to stone-ground mustard.

The best thing about a Caesar salad with smoked salmon ($14) was the tasty fish. The ribbon-cut romaine itself didn’t have a lot of flavor, especially without the anchovy paste that enhances a good Caesar. Sliced avocado, pear tomatoes, house-made croutons and Reggiano cheese were fine, but the lemon-garlic dressing lacked zest.

I really enjoyed the corned pork-belly Reuben sandwich ($13). Thick and juicy meat, slow-roasted for eight hours, was layered upon grilled rye bread with Hoffman’s version of sauerkraut, bolstered with fennel and daikon radish. Grilled onions, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing finished the sandwich. Rather than French fries, I opted for sliced vegetables as an accompaniment, and I was delighted with a selection of carrots, celery, jicama and zucchini served with a Green Goddess dressing.

Elk and trout entrees

Our favorite dinner entrees featured elk and trout.

Shepherds’ pie ($16) is a British pub standard, but it’s normally made with ground lamb or beef — not with braised elk, as per Hoffman’s recipe. Slow-roasted shoulder of elk, cut into bite-size cubes, was mostly very tender, although a couple of chunks were gristly.

The meat was baked with a variety of diced vegetables — carrots, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini and asparagus — in a gravy boosted with juniper, sage and rosemary herbs. Finally, it was topped with a crust of mashed Yukon potatoes and served with a salad of fresh greens, with a tangy oil-and-vinegar dressing. I will return to The Row just for this dish.

My companion’s trout and quinoa ($18) entree was also a healthy success. A filleted side of rainbow trout was pan-seared with a delicate sauce of herbs and white wine. It was presented with a pilaf of quinoa, blended with almond and dried cranberries, and a warm kale salad mixed with carrots and zucchini.

On another visit, she was pleased with a sliced flat-iron steak ($22), marinated in dark Guinness ale and grilled medium rare, as she likes. It wasn’t a big steak, perhaps only 6 ounces, but it was tender and tasty.

Yukon Gold mashers were excellent as well, but someone in the kitchen missed badly on the accompanying tempura frites. Quite the opposite of light and crispy, these battered vegetables were much too long in the deep fryer; and there was little selection, as they were mainly slices of red bell pepper with a couple of spears of asparagus.

The crispy coq au vin ($19) was not like any coq au vin I’ve ever had before. It was so different, in fact, that I’m surprised it could even be called by its French name. The traditional Gallic version features chicken cooked in a demi-glace of red Burgundy wine with mushrooms and onions or garlic. The Tetherow menu description specifies that the leg and thigh of poultry are braised in wine — but they are then rolled in a thick layer of cornbread and fried to a golden brown, not unlike corn dogs!

While I would have preferred the classic preparation, I appreciated the creativity that went into this version, which was accented by a lemon-thyme pan gravy. And I loved the accompanying coleslaw of Napa cabbage with carrots and daikon, along with roasted Yukon Gold mashers.

— Reporter: janderson@ bendbulletin.com

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