If you made it to one of their pop-up dinners you already know about the Southern-flecked ethos of Top Chef alums and exceedingly pretty people Jeffrey McInnis's and Janine Booth's Root & Bone, which opens today on East 3rd Street in Alphabet City. The space has the twee Brooklyn vibe down pat, like you're dining in aneccentric farmer's country kitchen. Think repurposed school chairs, mismatched china, bones and antlers as beer taps and so on. They're getting cute with the menu too, with sections including "Bread Service" and "Bucket of Bird" accompanying small plates, "bigger plates" and sides.
The bird's the word, namely the Crispy Free-Range Bucket of Bird ($16 half, $32 whole), with sweet-tea brined chicken dusted with pickled lemon and spiked Tabasco honey. No KFC-style paper buckets either; this bird comes loving tucked into a paper-lined wire basket with the option to add a cheddar cheese waffle on the side for extra carbs. Speaking of which, breads include biscuits and cornbread (both $6) that would go well with a starter of Drunken Deviled Eggs ($6) with pickled roots and sunflower sprouts or the Blue Crab Waldorf ($11) with all the traditional fixins' plus fresh blue crab.
Larger entrees include Shrimp & Grits ($21) with caramelized red onions and a Brooklyn Lager jus and Braised Short Rib Meat Loaf ($21) with a parsnip root mash, charred spring onion and tomato ketchup jam. You'll also find more roots in the sides, like the roasted rainbow roots ($11) with carrot-top pesto and puffed Carolina rice. Lunchtime means Fried Chicken n' Waffle Sandwiches ($11) or a Southern Peach Caprese salad ($12) with goat cheese, grilled peaches, pickled tomatoes and a molasses vinegar.
Like an good Southern restaurant worth its salt, they're doing a dedicated dessert program by pastry chef Crystal Cullison. If you saved room after all that fried chicken, head for the Banana Cream ($7) with honey graham, vanilla custard, bananas and pecan praline or the Carrot & Parnship Cake ($9) served with maple ginger ice cream. If a liquid finisher is what you're after, their house cocktails ($12) like the Filthy Manhattan (bourbon, port, fitters, Amarena chrries and rosemary) should help you digest.
200 East 3rd Street, 646-682-7080; website