Here’s why I’m kind of a shitty reviewer – I find a few favorite places, and stick to them. Once I like something it’s hell to tear me away. I might end up writing about the same place 2, 3, or umpteen times. Good thing the majority of them have rotational menus.
Here’s why I’m most definitely a shitty son, friend, and in this case brother. When your Birthday comes around, we’re going out to eat. Sure, I’ll ask you where you want to go, but I know very well that you’re going to leave that up to me. I’ll take pictures of my food, and depending on how close we are – I’ll do the same to yours. It really is more a gift to me than it is to you, but chances are you’ll like it.
So it should come as no surprise that in honor of my sister’s birthday, I gifted myself a trip to Root 174 for their first Sunday opening. Of course my sister and her fiance were invited.
When we arrived for our reservations at 6:30 there were still quite a few tables available, but by the time we left nearly every seat was filled. I suppose it had to do something with the food, and maybe some recent praise from some guy named Mark Bittman.
Mussels were on special, and the Sarahdactyl considers herself a fan. The highlight for me was the grilled corn bread – dense, buttery and great for sopping up the spicy-sweet broth.
This was really what I came for. I had wanted to try it on my first visit, but it wasn’t a fitting appetizer when dining with a vegetarian. I’m glad I came back for it. The brulee itself was still lightly sweet from the cream, but had unctuous marrow undertones, and a crisped Parmesan top. I preferred it without the apple germolata, but I could see others liking the tangy contrast.
The salmon sausage was another special, and yes that is the most phallic looking sausage I’ve ever seen. It was also my least favorite dish of the night (favorite presentation though!). The flaked salmon filling reminded me more of a salty salmon jerky and the pea tendrils could have stood another minute in the sautee pan. I would have preferred a seared filet to go with the cocoa cranberry couscous, which I did enjoy.
A more successful special was Fuller’s Mac and Cheese. A rustic dish, chuck full of heavy hitters. This was also where I found the same girl who had just happily eaten bone marrow to be curiously apprehensive about the greenery in her dish. Come to find that in 25 years of living, my sister had never tasted a brussels sprout before..our father is vegetarian, how the hell could this happen? I’ll leave disucssion on terrible parenting for the comments and get back to the food – not a bad way to try your first brussels sprouts.
Continuing with the heavies, Dan opted for steak and potatoes. A flavorful and perfectly medium rare hanger, with crisp fingerling potatoes, and topped with deep fried cheese. That’s winning.
A Birthday isn’t a birthday without cake, and so we split two of them.
The PB&J Cheesecake was studded with bits of peanut butter crumbles, it was served with a slightly denser angelfood cake that looked like a play on Wonder bread, and strawberry jelly. We we’re already quite full, but we all kept going back for one
last more bite.
I’m not going to say the PB&J cheesecake was topped, but if it could be this is why. A dense, fudgey pseudo-brownie topped with vanilla bourbon icing and a creamy (I want to say blueberry) curd. I would so gladly make myself sick on a tub of that icing, and given how full I was I nearly did with a mere spoonful.
I mentioned earlier that by the time we left nearly every seat was filled. Despite a full house, we never felt rushed and were always well taken care of. So there you have it, Root 174 remains a favorite, and a great place to give yourself a gift on someone else’s birthday.