Well, file Friday night’s meal under ‘why on earth haven’t we gone here yet?’
We had dinner in Regent Square at the cozy and lovely Root 174. How we’ve never made it here before is a mystery to me. Featuring a menu full of crazily unique dishes, this restaurant is just right for the adventuring foodie.
Root 174 does still offer a BYOB option for a $15 corking fee, but they also have a nice selection of wines by the glass or bottle and specially-made cocktails. We opted for a bottle of Tempranillo to enjoy with our meal, and we also opted to stray from the Restaurant Week menu and mix things up a bit for our meals.
First of all, since there were beets on the menu, I had beets. These beets were served in a carrot vinaigrette with a horseradish creme sauce on the plate for dipping. The beets were incredibly tender, and I loved the horseradish creme with them. Also, on the side were little piles of crumbled marble rye, adding just a hint of a crunch, almost like a cookie crumb topping.
Michael opted for the bone marrow creme brulee appetizer, which was incredible. My first bone marrow experience almost resulted in me turning Vegan, but Root 174 solved the ‘texture’ problem that I had with other bone marrow. Since it was a creme brulee, the consistency of the bone marrow was more like a fluffy butter or whipped creme, allowing us to enjoy the flavor without feeling like we were swallowing undercooked eggs. I would definitely get this dish again!
When it came to entrees, I had been reeeeeally tempted to go out of my comfort zone and check out their headcheese, but instead, I opted to go a safer route and get the pork belly plate. This was the point of dinner where I started describing my food as if I was in the movie Stepbrothers: “This is like a pork chop wrapped in bacon and deep-fried, delivered straight from Heaven by a unicorn.”
Yeah. Yeah, I actually said that.
Let me explain to you what’s going on in this picture: there’s the biscuit-shaped pork belly pieces, which were crispy and juicy and oh-so fatty, but without the gristly texture of most fatty foods. Then there is a creamy white bean puree, topped with a variety of mushrooms, and finally, little bitty pieces of apple with jalapeno. Basically, everything I ate at Root 174 involved me dipping meaty bits into sauce and making a royal mess out of my plate, but enjoying every minute of it.
I loved the simplicity of the really-not-simple dishes at Root 174. There was no bread or salad served before your meal, so you were free to just concentrate on the presentation and taste of the actual dish. As much as I love ‘add-ons’ to an entree, there is something to be said for just keeping it basic (read: basically mind-blowing).
My husband, who would crown himself Lord of the Pumpkin if he could (come on now, you all know I’d make myself Lady of the Beets in a hot second), could not be talked out of trying the pumpkin rolls. These were not just any pumpkin roll: light and spongy, with a lightly-whipped topping, somewhere between whipped cream and marshmallow fluff in texture.
But I, of course, could not be talked out of the flourless chocolate cake, because it came with… wait for it… BEET ICE CREAM.
I wish I could find whoever it is that decided beets are the hot new dining item, because I would like to hug them. Inappropriately. For about two hours.
Our server, E. Marie (who, by the way, we LOVED, and also, by the way, we hope has a first name of ‘Eva,’ simply because I spent my childhood being called JENNIFER EVA MARIE when I was in really big trouble, as if tagging my grandmother’s name onto my middle name of my great-grandmother would bring some kind of unholy good-behavior curse upon me), told me the beet ice cream is made specially in-house.
You hear that? This place takes its foodie-ness so seriously that the chefs MAKE THEIR OWN ICE CREAM!
So, yeah. Root 174 blew us away. There was not a thing we tried that wasn’t delicious, the service was perfect, and the atmosphere was so charming that I can’t think of a better place to stop into on a cold night.
Pro-tip: get a reservation, because that coziness + great food mean that this place fills up fast. Once spring comes around again, they’ll begin to offer their Sunday brunches once more. And I mean it: we’re going to be back to try that headcheese before 2013 is out!