Sunday, October 25, 2015

Grand Junction Colorado’s 626 on Rood: Farm to table cuisine with a huge surprise

Wine glass chandelier
caught our eye
In a land of Navajo tacos and down home family restaurants we were surprised to find a rather elegant farm to table cuisine restaurant and wine bar. 626 on Rood (because they are on Rood St.) partners with local growers to provide fresh, creative American cuisine to the quaint downtown area of Grand Junction.

Theo Otte and his partner Brenda Wray wanted to do something unique when they opened the restaurant in Grand Junction. They were determined to incorporate the Grand Valley's local products into their restaurant and create dishes with a flair not usually found in the area.
Heirloom tomatoes awaited diners

After traveling the Four Corners area of the Southwest for a little over a week we were ready for a creative meal. I was pleased with the décor of the restaurant and wine bar and impressed by the menu and wine list incorporating Colorado wines into the offering.

I chuckled at the last entrée on the menu, Wagyu Bone-in Ribeye from 7X Cattle Ranch (Hotchkiss, CO) weighing in at 40 ounces! It would be accompanied by horseradish crème fraiche. Nothing was said about “eat at all and your meal will be free” so I also chuckled, to myself, about the price of $135.

The calamari was beautifully presented
Our group ordered appetizers including oysters on the half shell and Calamari stuffed with crab, shrimp and tarragon, with a red pepper compote. I ordered the half rack of lamb, smashed fingerlings in a berbere – cherry – red wine reduction. I added roasted vegetables. The half rack was two chops, a reasonable meal.

As I ordered I heard a commotion at the end of our table for 10. Our tall and fit trip leader had decided to “go for it all.” He ordered the 40 oz. Wagyu Ribeye and had no doubt that he could finish it all. We agreed he deserved it after putting up with us for over a week and so watched intently as Chef Theo showed him the soon-to-be-cooked portion. It didn’t dissuade him in the least.
40 ounces. Can he eat it all? Should he?
 We enjoyed appetizers and flights of wine, including excellent Colorado wines. My favorite was the Red Fox Cellars Sangiovese ’13 from nearby Palisade, Colorado.
The rack of lamb was well seasoned and the roasted vegetables
were fresh from local farmers.
It was time for the entrees. My rack of lamb was beautifully presented and lightly cooked as is best for lamb chops. But all eyes were on the end of the table as the now cooked Wagyu beef was presented to our trip leader. It was sliced and the huge bone remained on the plate. It was accompanied by horseradish and a creamy side of macaroni and cheese.
The succulent rib eye was sliced for easy eating.
As we dined, we noticed that the succulent and lightly seasoned rib-eye was apparently a hit. And, apparently, it was not all that difficult to eat. By the end of the evening only a few bites were shared with those who wanted a taste.  And the bone? Well a lucky dog was going to get to knaw on that.  We all enjoyed our meals and remained impressed with the quality of the meat and produce as well as the presentation and taste.

The meals were topped off with shared desserts, all equally amazing.
We were pleased to be introduced to Theo Otte and his partner Brenda Wray
and discover the cuisine of 626 on Rood
If you are in the the Grand Junction, Colorado area, perhaps touring Colorado National Monument or wine tasting in the valley, consider staying an extra evening and making a reservation for dinner at 626 on Rood.

This experience was part of a Grand Circle tour provided by Southwest Adventure Tours and hosted by the members of the Grand Circle Association. While this has not influenced this content, the writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.