I don’t know about you, but when someone says “comfort food,” my mind usually drifts towards sugary treats and carb-loaded comas. Recently, however, that view came under fire (literally) when we visited the Kitchen Restaurant Group’s newest location, Hedge Row Bistro. At Hedge Row, comfort means wood-fired: Most menu items are cooked over the kitchen’s wood-fired oven, to delicious result. We started off our meal with the roasted carrots, whose hearty flavors play perfectly off of the creamy ricotta and dill gremolata that accompanies them. Our other appetizers seemed to nod to the “American Bistro” description found in the restaurant’s name- Gulf shrimp hushpuppies drenched in hot pepper honey and crispy fish lettuce “tacos.” The hushpuppies were bites of buttery perfection and tasted even better than our best memories of the Carolinas. From the opposite coast, the lightly fried fish and crunchy pickled onion of the “tacos” was a crisp and tangy combination. Combined with a few refreshing cocktails (Hedge Row boasts an excellent happy hour menu!), comfort never tasted so good.
We tried the Boulder natural half chicken, one of the restaurants most popular items—and for good reason. Served on top of a nutty couscous the meat was literally falling off the bone and packed with wood-roasted flavor. After such a delicious start, I honestly didn’t have many expectations for my partner’s entree: the Roasted Pork Chops. After all, how could it not be downhill from there? The crispy seared pork, however, was cooked to perfection. Served with bosc pears and creamy grits, the combination of sweet and savory left me stealing bites off of his plate. And don’t forget to end your meal with one of Hedge Row’s upscale versions of classic desserts. We had the butterscotch pot de creme, and though not wood-fired, it was a sweetly perfect ending to our meal.
The bistro works closely with locals farmers and purveyors, often adjusting the menu based on seasonal ingredients—truly embodying farm-to-table, as the Kitchen Restaurant group is known for. Keep an eye out for their special restaurant week menu and new spring line-up, and join other Denverites in the unexpected discovery of comfort food in the form of vegetables from local farms. Hey—Hedge Row has made a believer out of me.