Miami lost not one but two great chefs when the James Beard finalist and Janine Booth teamed up to openRoot & Bone
in the Big Apple.
Instead of reflecting on things that could have been if the talented duo had decided to open a place in, say, MiMo or Wynwood, let's look on the positive side: Now you have a reason to visit your relatives up North.
They say Miami is the sixth borough anyway, so consider Root & Bone, which opens today, a great restaurant that's a bit of a schlep. Located in Manhattan's Alphabet City at 200 E. Third St., the eatery lends a bit of Southern charm to New York.
The menu feature a down-home array of goodies created by executive chef Jeff McInnis and chef de cuisine Janine Booth, with items that call to chefs' respective roots. McInnis is represented by the bucket of bird. A half ($16) or whole bird ($32) is sweet-tea-brined and then dusted with pickled lemon. An Australian rack of lamb ($27) pays homage to Booth's Aussie background.
Other offerings include grilled peaches "Caprese" with goat cheese ($12), braised short rib meat loaf ($21), and shrimp 'n' grits ($21).
McInnis spoke with Short Order about Root & Bone, how New York has been treating the talented team, and how it compares to Miami.
New Times: How does the food scene in Miami differ from New York? What's the good and bad of both?
Jeff McInnis: While the past decade has shown the tremendous growth of Miami's food scene, and I will always cherish being part of that, the food scene in New York is far more vast with many more culinary options. There are so many more restaurants here in general, so standing out among the massive crowd is key. The pace of things is also very different here and something someone from Miami must get used to, and fast.
Name three New York food trends/restaurants that need to head to Miami.
First of all, food trucks and mobile carts up here are everywhere. Miami has some trucks, but I know the city, particularly the Beach, makes it difficult for the trucks to get food to the customers. Miami could also use a solid yakitori place. And besides Guru on 12th Street, Miami is lacking great Indian cuisine.
What do you miss about Miami?
The sun. The ocean. The beach, fishing, surfing. The people. Everything!
What is Root & Bone's concept?
Root & Bone is a neighborhood restaurant, while the Little Root Market offers takeaway options from lunch to late-night -- both take diners on a culinary journey back in time, a journey that echoes the warmth and hospitality of years ago.
How did you think up the name?
Janine came up with it awhile back. Her dad said something to her growing up about being grounded/rooted, while wings/bones help you fly/soar. The name fit perfectly, as we wanted to showcase our down-to-earth cooking from the sea and farm. It also had that garden-to-table ring to it too that we were looking for.
What is it like partnering with Janine on the restaurant?
Amazing. She's the perfect partner and a breath of fresh air.
Who does what? Do you collaborate on everything, or do each of you have specific talents and what are they?
Everything is collaboration -- we make a great team. I'm classic Southern, and Janine comes in and takes it up a notch. For instance, I put a traditional Waldorf salad on the menu, but rather than chopping the apples into the salad, Janine had the idea to take sheets of apples and then stuff them so that you get the entire salad in one bite wrapped in the apple. The same applies to my fried chicken recipe -- Janine had the idea to retool it by tossing it in dehydrated lemon powder, and it's phenomenal!
Miamians need to visit New York because...
Root & Bone is open!
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Anything new coming down the pike? Would you open a Root & Bone in Miami at some point?
Right now we are 100 percent focused on this opening, but you never know what the future may hold.