Before I tell you more about this gem in Alphabet City (the last of the Manhattan neighborhoods that hasn’t received a hip name), there are a few developments in my personal life I would like to share with you. Well, more like events really, not so much developments and not so interesting to the average reader Really. Two milestones in one day (yesterday) that are fairly significant in one’s growth as a parent and more importantly as an American parent. The first event was taking my youngest daughter, who is suddenly obsessed with hockey, to her first Islanders game. Only those readers who experienced this can understand the magnitude of this thrill. Especially those sport fans who never produced sons experiencing this a bit later on.
One can argue that the second event is even more significant, as it made me connect with the American people like never before. Everyone, including tourists should do it at least one time during the holidays to show solidarity and patriotism. We are Americans! Some of the strange things we do, like tipping and brunch, may seem different to some foreigners but this is who we are, and this our culture. You dont question it, just like I dont question taking my shoes off in other countries, and not assuming that all those wonderful little plates they give you in Portugal when you sit down at a restaurant are free. I’m talking about, you guessed it because what else could it be, wearing my first Ugly Christmas Sweater. Although all I have is a spray of Poo Pourri to show for as my consolation prize in the ugliest Sweater contest, it felt great I tell ya. You see I realized that there’s really no such thing as a fashion failure anymore. Any fashion faux pas is either brought back by hipsters at some point or makes a big comeback once everyone in the world agrees that its ugly. Or like in this case, its both! I’m thinking perhaps I should hold on to those 80’s Hawaiian shirts after all, before Mrs Ziggy cleans the ‘hers and hers’ closet again.
Remember that little girl I was talking about earlier? Other than hockey, she particularly likes mac and cheese and fried chicken. So when I was looking for a place that serves both last Sunday, a return to Root and Bone was a no brainer. I first tried their much hyped bird in the summer, not too long after they opened, but I may have been under some heavy Barolo influence which makes me like everything. This time it was for brunch, affectionately called in my house and every other country, lunch! But we don’t question, remember? Southern homey soul food by two Top Chef veterans that look more like “The Bachelor” veterans, via Miami. Famed Miami Beach Yarbird’s lose is NYC gain. Well, Yardbird probably didn’t lose anything, its just an expression people.
We started with Grandma Daisy’s Angel Biscuits. If you ever see something called Grandma Daisy’s Angel Biscuits on a menu and neglect to order it, you are an enemy of America! These were light, airy and awesome, and once dipped in the gravy-like Honey Chicken jus, awesomer. Benne seeds (fancy for sesame) and salt on the side for you to dip may be there purely for esthetic reasons, as I didnt feel the need. Terrific Mac ‘n’ Cheese topped with more biscuit and featuring elbow pastas that will make you donate the elbow pastas in your kitchen cabinet to charity.
I feel like there’s some sort of a chicken renaissance going on in NYC at the moment with both Rotissarie and the fried kind. You got the new Bird and Bubbles, The Habanero in Ma Peche, Somtum Der’s version, and so many other notables all over town. The fried chicken here should at least be mentioned in the same discussion. Its sweet tea brined, and dusted with dehydrated lemon magic powder that gives it that extra zesty tone. Although, the dusting was more liberal the first time around (perhaps too liberal) there was no flavor lose this time. The chicken, featuring no greasiness whatsoever is just a solid, juicy fried chicken, with flavors enhanced by the accompanying spiked tabasco honey sauce. I preferred to sprinkle it on the white meat only. And in true southern style we paired it with the Buckwheat Waffle that came with Cheddar and Whiskey Maple Syrup
Having eaten the chicken before, perhaps the most interesting item for me was the so called Trumansburg N .Y. Stone Ground Cheese Grits (top). They came loaded with corn and ‘pimento cheese’, a spreadable hybrid of cheese and Pimiento (cherry) peppers. The entire dish is a beautiful medley of textures and flavors. And in a city filled with mediocre desserts as it seems as of late, the sticky toffee pudding with whiskey sauce and beer flavored ice cream was perhaps the best finish I’ve had this year.
Update: The Poo Pourri works! Dont think I need it honestly, but it works. I may have to bring some to some of my coworkers. You know who you are!
Root & Bone
200 E 3rd St