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The Root Restaurant & Bar Brings Fine Dining to White Lake

New restaurant in town buys local and gives consumers a taste of Michigan.

For months I've been patiently waiting for 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.

Alan Stamm June 09, 2011 at 07:30 PM
A reviewers' consensus emerges: The Detroit Free Press' restaurant writer also likes the seared scallops and other dishes. She predicts today that we'll "be hearing much more about the delicious new Root Restaurant & Bar in White Lake Township." Thanks for letting use hear about it first in Patch six days ago.
Brooke Tajer June 09, 2011 at 08:18 PM
Haha! Thanks Alan.
Patti A. August 04, 2011 at 05:25 PM
For months I watched with great anticipation as this restaurant was getting ready to open. Finally it opened and I went with my 10 year old boys and a another mom and her 9 year old daughter. It was on Tuesday, July 19th, around 1:30pm. Even though it was not busy (only 4 tables with customers) it took over 35 min. and two refills of our drinks to get our very simple order. One crabcake burger, one (adult) hamburger, two kids hamburgers and one kids chicken fingers. The burgers were just ok, not great, but the chicken was almost black from over cooking. I questioned the staff (we had three waiters!) on why it was allowed to leave the kitchen burnt, and I was told it always looked that way. I even tasted the chicken and it was awlful,we sent it back and got the bill, of course not paying for the chicken. After paying almost $60. for this very unsatisfactory meal, and then having to go elsewhere to feed the third child, I can not recommend this restaurant to anyone. It's too bad, good restaurants are so hard to find, and the concept of this one seems like a great idea. Maybe they need to hire a better chef???

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