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blog swirl & savor

Root, An Original Take on Comfort Food

Beth Ribblett


The astounding number of new restaurants opening in this city is nothing short of amazing and makes for a long list of places to try when we have the time. Lunch with our friend Linda Smith last week gave me the perfect opportunity to check out one of her new favorites, "Root" in the warehouse district.We wanted to talk with them about the possibility of planning a wine dinner to showcase a great new lineup of Spanish wines that republic is bringing in this spring. Root's creatively fun menu, the totally hip decor and laid back attitude of owners and staff make this spot a a really exiting venue for a Swirl event.


 Root is located on Julia Street in the warehouse district, where the space was most recently the home of "feast" but one I remember as the old True Brew Coffeehouse. Well you would never know it was either of those places as it looks and feels like Root has always rested comfortably in that space. Rested in that although the space has a modern and very cool, well thought out decor, there is a relaxed but confident feel about it that immediately puts you at ease. Lots of natural wood accented by bright green chairs and white leather stools creates a vibrant energy yet warmly comfortable.

We were there for lunch so I decided to order a glass of something cold and white to accompany the balmy January day.  The menu is a nicely mixed presentation of old world and new, eclectic and familiar, offering options to easy bored wine geeks and more traditional drinkers.  I chose the mixture of the two with the 2009 Supernatural Sauvignon Blanc from Zealand to keep me busy until we sampled some of the goodies in Linda's overachieving wine bag.  There is also a really great looking cocktail menu, listing lots of original creations made with only the best artisan spirits, but it was lunch and I knew I had to get back to the shop and be coherent enough to finish up our new wine list in time for Wednesday Nite Flites...

 
On to the food.  Trying to set yourself apart in a city that is so saturated with great eats can be a challenge.  So these guys started with the menu where they divide things into their cleverly coined categories of “Socials,” “Beginnings,” “Middles,” Principals” and “Endings”. "Social" choices (all $8) included house made charcuterie and sausage, pâté and hog’s head-cheese, and more, accompanied by lots of deliciously pickled fruits and vegetables.  We went for the Pate de Campagna, cut into thick chunks studded with pistachios and served with crispy flatbreads, it was a generous portion that could have been lunch on its own!

Potato Chip Crusted Gulf Fish Sandwich
 After such a large starter we went right for the "Principals" with me ordering the Potato Chip Crusted Gulf Fish Sandwich ($12), a thick piece of perfectly fried lemon fish atop sauteed bitter green served on soft warm bread and accompanied by a plate full of fresh, deliciously dressed salad greens.  The flavorful, moist fish was cooked to perfection with a nice crispy crust and was a great combination with the bitter greens and their mayo based sauce.  Linda was in the mood for some red meat so she ordered the Root Burger ($14) on a soft brioche bun with bacon, caramelized onions and aged cheddar.  I didn't try it as I was perfectly satisfied with my fish sandwich but it looked amazing and Linda looked pleased with her choice.

Meyer Lemon Trio
 Dessert is always a must when Linda and I have lunch as we both have a serious sweet tooth.  So for our "Endings" we ordered two which was a little overkill as the portions are gigantic. The Yorkie ($8) was a chocolate covered peppermint pattie with mint chocolate chip ice cream surrounded by coco puffs, all made in house (even the coco puffs), and served with a side of milk! But my favorite was the Meyer Lemon Trio ($8), lemon curd topped with coriander yogurt, lemon Pistachio ice cream sandwich and Meyer Lemon macaroons.  Tart, tangy, sweet, creamy and crisp and wrapped up together in one big fabulous plate!

The bottom line:  really creative take on traditional comfort food with killer atmosphere, a great wine list and original cocktails.  I can't wait to go back and sit at the bar for a drink and to try some of their dinner options.  And I'll keep you posted on that wine dinner because I personally can't wait to see what they come up with!
Root
(504) 252-9480
200 Julia Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
Email: info@rootnola.com

Mon – Wed: 11:00 am – 2:00 pm, 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Thu – Fri: 11:00 am – 2:00 pm, 5:00 pm – 2:00 am
Sat: 5:00 pm – 2:00 am