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Food-ie event #11: Root Restaurant

Food-ie event (#11) at Root: 11/2/08
1033 Spring Garden, Philadelphia 19123

Our ROOT experience turned out to be another success and one with quite a good turn out. Twenty-nine foodies were rewarded with an onslaught of tasty dishes, brought out to our tables like gifts - one after another- and that kept us happy. Owner/Chef Christopher Hora was enthusiastic from the moment I first contacted him until the final dish was served. Eager to please foodies, he offered us a tasting assortment from his newly developed fall menu. He stressed that he wanted to get as many dishes in front of us as possible. The solution was a choice of 3 small plates, an entrée, and an assortment of desserts that pushed us over the edge to near food-coma.

At my table, there was an agreement to share everything to ensure as thorough an audit as possible. Of the small plates, we tried 4 of the 5 since the tare tar flight didn't appeal to us as much. There wasn't room left for disappointment, as far as I'm concerned. I noticed each table had a different order of appearance of the small plates, which I suppose was key to keeping the plates coming at a great pace. Just as my table finished indulging in the pumpkin ravioli, which made my mouth ... go... um, "Ooooh Yeaaah", the Zelnacka (Sauerkraut & Beer Soup) came out. Both of these dishes I anticipated from the moment Chris emailed the prospective menu and I was not one bit disappointed. The Asparagus & Mushroom Salad and finally the Mushroom Flat bread however surprised me. Though they sounded fine as a menu item, I did not expect to experience the rich, perfectly balanced layers of flavors. Usually the salads with warm bacon vinaigrette often hit you over the head with a biting flavor, whereas here it was pretty much perfect and again, I found myself just in bliss.

Of the
entrée selection, my table of 4 ordered 2 of the 3 choices (We skipped the vegetarian dish but word from other tables claimed the Arugula Risotto & Truffle Honey jus was really good) we had the Oxtail & Rabbit Ravioli and Monk Fish poached in coffee & rum. Wow. I cannot vote one better than the other. The Monk Fish was incredible, with chocolate mole that made you remember why it read like porn when listed on the menu. Meanwhile, the Oxtail was delicious and these open faced raviolis were served with saki braised spinach that was just as divine as the ravioli. Chris mentioned the week's recent city-turmoil, a result of the Phillies winning the world series (woo hoo!) and the celebration that followed, was to blame for many of his deliveries being delayed or diverted as truck drivers apparently were imbibing in the festivities too. As a result, the Oxtail Ravioli was accompanied with spinach rather than the planned saki braised bok choy, uni beurre blanc and the Spaghetti squash saute that was intended for the Monk Fish dish had, instead, sweet potato and Jícama that also proved that a good chef can think on his feet creating a meal worthy of a city of champions. (was that too much?, you think? hmm sorry).

I wont even get started on the many desserts that we were offered except my table fell in love with the
French Toast Souffle and the Cranberry-Pomegranate Pec
an Tart above all the others. Um, this is making me hungry. It occurs to me, while writing this, that if our fall menu sampling was this good, then I so look forward to returning to Root for the rest of the menu.

Here's our menu for $40 (includes tax & tip):

choice of 3 small plates:
  • Asparagus & Mushroom Salad- spinach, asparagus, red onion, warm bacon Dijon vinaigrette, Campo de Montalban
  • Tare tar Flight- classic beef, Czech topinky, blue fin tuna, peanut chili, sesame wonton chips, tile fish and mango soffrito
  • Zelnacka- Sauerkraut & Beer Soup, smoked pork and rye croutons
  • Mushroom Flatbread- Shallot-bacon jam, cabernet poached egg
  • Pumpkin Raviolis- sage brown butter & pine nuts
choice of 1 entrée:
  • Oxtail & Rabbit Ravioli- saki braised bok choy, uni beurre blanc
  • Arugula Risotto & Truffle Honey jus
  • Monk Fish poached in coffee & rum- Spaghetti squash sautee, chocolate mole
Samples from the Fall Dessert Menu:
  • Apple Cake-Fig Compote, Quince & Rosemary Coulis, Herb Tuile
  • Crème Brulee Trio-Ibarra Chocolate, Toasted Almond, Pumpkin
  • Cranberry-Pomegranate Pecan Tart-Cinnamon Ice Cream, Crème Anglaise
  • Deconstructed Cheesecake-Walnut Ginger Snap, Crème Fraiche Panna Cotta, Blackberry "Grapa" Soup
  • French Toast Souffle-Buttered Rum Sauce, Maple Bacon Ice Cream
  • Chocolate Hazelnut Bomb-Hazelnut Mousse, Chambord Reduction,Lavender-Honey Tuile

group photo with Christopher Hora at ROOT RESTAURANT 11/2/08