Review: Root & Bone in Alphabet City


Last weekend I experienced an unexpected culinary delight at a restaurant down in NYC’s Alphabet City called Root & Bone. I knew I was in for an adventure when I found out that it’s owned by Top Chef alums Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth, and also because I’m a born & bred Southerner. Yep, born in Atlanta, Georgia. I know a good piece of fried chicken, cheese grits, meatloaf, biscuits and fried green tomatoes when I see them, and for NYC, I can honestly say that Root & Bone not only knows their Southern recipes but their unusual ways of creation and presentation are moving this type of cuisine forward and into the hearts of many downtowners. I know because the restaurant was pretty full on the Sunday afternoon we visited. Their focus on a regional, wholesome, farm-to-table dining experience using local ingredients from farms and fisherman elevates the experience for any New Yorker.

I instantly fell in love with the decor after we were seated. It’s very farmhouse centric with flowers, antique china, plates on the wall, a bird cage and a takeout counter that offers food to go, from salads to sandwiches to fried chicken and pie. As a vegetarian, it broke my heart not to taste the fried chicken that patrons were eating so happily out of buckets, along with hearty waffles, but there were plenty of options that were non-meat. There are lines of tables outside the restaurant, which isn’t terribly large, but the space is well utilized.

Since we were there for Sunday brunch, it was mandatory to try a cocktail, of which they offer several.  The Kombucha Spritz is made of gin, aperol, fresh lemon and kombucha. The drink was fresh, sweet and delightful, the perfect prelude for what was about to come. We were actually without our kids, but my eye was also out for kid-friendly options, knowing I would be back again with them in tow.

Mind you, I am not a foodie, but a visit to a restaurant like this can certainly turn me into one.

Our meal started with Grandma Daisy’s Angel Biscuits drenched with thyme, along with honey-roasted gravy and jam. The fluffy biscuits melted in our mouths, giving way for anticipation of the meal ahead. We followed with Drunken Deviled Eggs with pickled roots and chips. Then we moved onto a Fried Chicken & Waffle Sandwich with pickled green tomato and melted cheddar & pickles. My husband devoured it in less than a minute, so I understood the affection from other patrons for the chicken. We also shared a Tomato & Cucumber salad with local heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, farmer’s cheese and green apple vinaigrette with the freshest produce direct from a farm, a side of home made Macaroni & Cheese with a biscuit herb crust and a Waffle Benedict with soft poached eggs and lemon hollandaise. A highlight of the meal for me was Watermelon with pickled rind, red onion, jalapeno and key lime vinaigrette. We topped it off with a Raspberry Rhubarb Pie with Pistachio Ice-Cream that was sheer bliss.

There’s a lot for kids at Root & Bone. My son would love their Crispy Fried Bucket of Bird, half or whole bird, with buckwheat cheddar waffle and the mouth-watering Grandma Daisy’s Angel Biscuits.  They also have omelets, meatloaf, shrimp & grits. And this is only brunch! Dinner has bigger portion and more variation, but it’s basically all Southern delicacies with a twist. They offer a family prix fixe of three courses plus dessert for $65 per person.

So, we’ll be back. I’ll be dreaming about those biscuits until we get there.

Root & Bone is located at 200 E. 3rd St. at Ave. B (tel: 646-682-7080). Check out their menu here.

Disclosure: I was a guest of Root & Bone to facilitate coverage for this web site and others, but all opinions are my own, as as always.



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