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root & bone: A Taste of Elevated Southern Fare

root & bone: A Taste of Elevated Southern Fare

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When it comes to New York City, commerce is king. This applies to finance, food and fashion, three of the biggest industries in this mega-city. But when I think of New York City, I think of the endless dining possibilities.

From Korean to French, this metropolis really has anything you can imagine. So when I had the opportunity sample authentic Southern fare in Manhattan, I couldn’t resist.

root & bone is a rural destination in the middle of an urban city. Nestled in Alphabet City, Manhattan, this cozy and rustic restaurant serves Southern cuisine specialty and specialty cocktails.

root & bone is the brainchild of Chef Jeff McInnis and his partner and Chef de Cuisine Janine Booth. Both Chefs have quite the impressive resumes; both have traveled around the world to expand upon their culinary knowledge, both successfully completed distinguished culinary school programs, and both appeared on the celebrated Bravo show Top Chef.

They set out to create a restaurant that embodies American heritage, more specifically Southern cooking. They only source the best ingredients for dishes at root & bone, including seasonal elements from local farms, fishermen and specialty suppliers. This, in turn, improves the local economy and makes for more flavorful and healthy dishes.

Upon arrival at root & bone, I was greeted warmly by the staff, and brought to a cute wooden table next to several couples. I was given a more than adequate craft cocktail menu, and the chefs began preparing the most popular seasonal items from the menu. To try their mixology skills, I decided to try the Smash and Grab drink, which was made with bourbon, fresh lemon, mint, bitters and sparkling wine. The flavors blended so well together, because it had sweet and tart components that were well balanced.

The first round of food started with Grandma Daisy’s Angel Biscuits. These were bite-sized biscuits with a little dipping plate of honey roasted chicken jus and fresh thyme. Then, after dipping the biscuits in the succulent juice, I rolled it in a dish of toasted benne seed and sea salt. The savory-saltiness was a pleasant way to begin the meal.

Not long after I finished the biscuits, the Drunken Deviled Eggs were brought to my table. These were Handsome Brook Farm Catskills New York eggs pickled in beet juice, which gave them an appealing pink hue. The deviled eggs were served with tiny chips on top as a charming garnish.

Once the appetizers were finished, the chef brought out one of their main entrees called the Braised Short Rib Meatloaf. It was served with tomato ketchup jam, over a parsnip mash and next to roasted roots vegetables. The meatloaf itself was well seasoned, and paired well with the creamy mash, savory ketchup jam and succulent vegetables.

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Next, the chef brought out their famous fried chicken, served in a cute wire basket with tissue. The fried chicken basket included a generously large wing and breast, with a hot tangy sauce on the side. The chicken itself was side-sweet tea brined, lemon dusted and spiked with tabasco honey.

Once I had my fill of meat entrees, the chef proudly brought out a banana pudding for dessert. This was layered with homemade whipped cream, a hazelnut crunch and dusted with cocoa powder. It was the perfect light and sweet dessert to finish off a meal.

I began to feel full after the banana pudding, but the chef insisted that I had to try the Sticky Toffee Pudding. He was indeed correct, because this genius creation had stout ice cream with whiskey foam on the side and toffee-flavored caramel on the bottom. I’m not one to complain about a boozy way to end an excellent meal. Each dish exemplified home style cooking with impeccable attention to detail.

Although you have many choices for dining in Manhattan, let alone New York City as a whole, it’s always worth the time and research to venture outside of your comfort zone. Because sometimes, when you do, you can end up somewhere as comfortable and homelike as root & bone.

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