For months I've been patiently waiting for The Root Restaurant & Bar to open. Now that it is, I can honestly say it was worth the wait.
When you first walk into the restaurant, you are greeted by the staff with friendly, smiling faces and a pleasing atmosphere that's both simple, but classy. The green tones on the walls and the back splash of the bar play wonderfully off the dark wood tables, and give the restaurant an earthy, rustic flavor.
The menus are small, simple and easy to navigate. There's a wonderful array of appetizers, sandwiches and entrees. In addition, there is a dessert menu and an amazing assortment of drinks.
Since it's opening on May 31, I've eaten at the restaurant twice. Both times I've been impressed with the service, and the food. In addition, they offer a large range in prices for food, it all depends on what you want to eat. For example, I spent close to $100 on a nice dinner with drinks, an appetizer, entrees and desserts one day, but only $35 for a late lunch that included two appetizers in addition to sandwiches.
The first night, opening night. My fiance, Brian, and I went all out and ordered some of the more pricier items on the menu.
While waiting for our appetizer, the waitress brought a bowl of house made focaccia bread and butter. The bread was light and had a hint of pepper and garlic.
For the appetizer we ordered the pan seared scallops ($12). It's a dish I highly recommend. The scallops were perfectly cooked and melted in my mouth. They were garnished with grapefruit, capers, Brussels sprouts and pistachio all served on a white bean puree which Brian loved, almost as much as the scallops themselves.
For the entree Brian had the char-grilled Michigan beef ribeye ($28). The ribeye wasn't over-seasoned. It had just enough seasoning to enhance the flavor of the beef itself. There is nothing more delicious than the taste of fresh beef.
The dish was served with German style yukon gold potatoes, green beans and a madeira reduction - all of which matched the ribeye in flavor.
I ordered the linguine and mussels ($18). I am usually not big on pasta (I would rather have beef) but I really enjoyed this dish. The pasta and mussels are tossed in a homemade bacon and tomato ragout. The flavors meld together wonderfully. I am not one who usually finishes an entree when I go out to eat; however, by the end of the meal my linguine was gone and there was nothing left except the mussel shells.
To drink, I had the 8 beer beer sampler ($10), and Brian had a drink called the Corpse Reviver ($10).
The beers were all Michigan beers on tap - a rare treat in this area. My favorite of the eight was an oatmeal stout called the Poet from the New Holland Brewing Company.
Brian described the Corpse Reviver as a margarita without the sour mix. It's a mix of Hendricks Gin, Cointreau, Lillet Blanc, lemon juice and three drops of Absinthe.
Other entree and sandwiches have been recommended to me by family and friends who've also eaten at the restaurant. Some of the most popular include the char-grilled burger made with Michigan grass fed beef ($10), and the fried bologna sandwich made with Michigan bologna ($8).
When I tried the bologna sandwich on Thursday for lunch, I requested a fried Michigan egg on top ($1.50). The egg yolk with the bologna is a great combination. While I don't normally like bologna, I really liked this sandwich. Again, I think this speaks to the freshness of the ingredients and Chef James Rigato's knack for letting the food speak for itself – only seasoning to enhance the natural flavors of each dish.
For dessert I highly recommend the peanut butter cup ($7). It's a cookie crumb crust with peanut butter, topped with a chocolate ganache and toasted peanuts. The house made gelato ($2) is also very good, and the Guernsey's buttermilk panna cotta is very delicious if panna cotta is your thing.
Both Brian and I can see ourselves returning to The Root Restaurant & Bar for meals in the future. I really want to try the roasted Miller Farms half chicken ($21) and the Spicer's cider braised Michigan pork shoulder ($19).
The Root Restaurant & Bar is open Monday – Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. They are closed on Sundays. Seating is available both inside the restaurant, and on either of the restaurants two patios outside. It's located in the Village Lakes complex at 340 Town Center Blvd.