Recently invited out for a belated birthday dinner by my cousin Vicky, she thoughtfully chose Root & Bone, the new farm to table Southern-style eatery as our destination. While I didn't know much about it initially, Root & Bone quickly impressed me, delivering delicious eats, pleasantly casual service and an overall fun time.
Situated in the heart of the East Village on East 3rd Street between Avenue A & B, Root & Bone sits in a cool, trendy neighborhood, which is also exemplified by its clientele. Mostly populated by young hipsters and foodies, the vibe inside is cheery, boisterous and already very busy at 6 p.m. Since they don't take reservations, we scored two seats at the bar, which I don't always love but this time it worked out well and provided a more private spot for Vicky and me.
Liking the simple, charming decor in the form of little embellishments such as dried flowers, fresh fruit, vintage bowls, glass containers, and cookbooks, Root & Bone very much reminded me of Yardbird's aesthetic in Miami, which happens to be its sister restaurant. A total plus in my book, I appreciated the Southern influence felt here, but at the same time Root & Bone also feels very New York.
Sampling a few items from the menu and sharing is usually how we do and it worked out well again. Mixing it up with veggie dishes and also some protein created nice balance and left us feeling full and happy.
Lady J Cocktail - The Tito's vodka in this drink sold me right away, indicating it would be clean and smooth, on which it delivered. Mixed with summery flavors such as strawberry and lemon, it was a vibrant and refreshing drink, and quite perfect on a hot day.
Sprouting Garden Salad - Wanting to start with something earthy, this simple yet colorful salad spoke to us. Composed of a medley of seasonal veggies such as avocados, watermelon radishes, sugar snap peas, cucumbers, and a sprinkling of root chips, it looked like a Jackson Pollock painting. Loving that each corner of this dish was distinct, we couldn't decide if we liked mixing its elements together or enjoying them separately.
Chicken & Waffle Sandwiches - Looking around the room, we saw mostly everyone's table graced with this signature dish so naturally we had to try it too. Personally, I love chicken and waffles and have made my own renditions of it many a times, so Root & Bone's version truly excited me.
What came out of the kitchen was a thing of beauty, with two fluffy waffles sandwiched between handsome pieces of fried chicken, a pickled green tomato and watercress. Not only was the chicken perfectly moist and delicious, we loved the accompanying whiskey maple syrup that added a hint of Southern charm.
Catch of the Day - Although at this point we were getting full, the catch of the day, which was hake provided a delicious finale to the meal. Loving the beautifully grilled skin and the soft, flaky middle, it was everything that a fresh piece of fish should be. A side of seasonal succotash and a piece of grilled lemon infused even more freshness, showcasing the summer's natural bounty.
Service and Cost:
Our position at the bar lent itself to casual, friendly but also fast service and despite the restaurant being really busy, we felt well taken care of.
Costs are moderate, and not exorbitant for such a hot-spot:
Small Plates - $6-$15
Bigger plates - $22-$33
Sides - $7-$10
Root & Bone - 200 East 3rd Street, New York, NY 10009
L Train to 1st Avenue