About Me

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Lansing, Michigan, United States
I am a Lansing townie, lawyer, and restaurant reviewer for the City Pulse. I love traveling, reading, yoga, and baking, but my favorite hobby is stuffing my face.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Root, Part One

I have a red Moleskine notebook that has an alphabetized list of the restaurants I've got my eye on. I pore over Detroit Free Press articles and blogs and frequently jot down names of recommendations that I get from other enthusiastic eaters. The Root has been on my list since it was named the Detroit Free Press Restaurant of the Year in 2012. Although for months I'd worked a measly 1.5 miles away, I never had the gumption (or the time) to have a meal there alone. I generally don't think twice about eating alone, but I thought this one might be an experience I wanted to share.

So I bided my time and, apparently, talked the boyfriend's ear off about my hankering for The Root. When my birthday rolled around in June, he met me at my office on Friday evening to take me to dinner. As we sat at our beautiful table and glanced over the menu, my best friend and her husband surprised me and met us for dinner.

I chose the tasting menu, and as I debated between the crab cake and the scallop, the manager approached our table with 4 plates, which she doled out to each of us. The boyfriend had emailed the restaurant, telling them that we were coming for my birthday dinner and that I'd been researching their food and looking forward to my first meal there for months. I'd heard raves about The Root's scallops and was relieved to be relieved of deciding between those and crab cakes.

 Although the white bean puree didn't add much to the dish, the grapefruit was a stroke of genius.The scallop was juicy and flavorful and melted in my mouth. While I was in a swoon of ecstasy, the next plate rolled out- a crab cake, topped with a corn chutney.

The chunks of crab were large and loosely held together, the way I like my crab cakes. It didn't taste like breading or batter, it tasted like crab. The taste was immense. I'd venture to say that this was the best part of the meal. 

Another highlight of the meal was the buttery ciabatta brought to the table. I might have eaten two pieces of it.

 Ok, I definitely ate two pieces of it, requested more, and packed it up to take home with me.

My second course was The Root Orchard Salad. Appetizer-sized salad this was not, and I was presented with a lunch-sized portion of fresh Michigan products- greens, apple, almonds, bacon, blue cheese. I knew that space in my stomach would be at a premium, but I couldn't control myself and cleaned my plate. 

For my main course, I chose the trout. Roasted fingerling potatoes are one of my favorites, and although these could have been a touch crispier, I sprinkled them with a little sea salt and went to town. The fish was fresh, topped with a tangy ancho honey glaze. It sat atop what the menu advertised as creamed spinach, but which in actuality was fresh spinach, lightly wilted and punched up with cream. I appreciated that, as I like vegetables in their natural state, not doused with a heavy sauce.

As I looked around and saw my sweet boyfriend, my best friend, her newlywed husband to whom I paid homage in my maid of honor speech at their wedding, and a table topped with presents, my heart grew two sizes. I think my stomach must have also grown a couple of inches, because when our waiter asked if we had room for dessert, there was no question.

I chose the blondie. It was vegan, which I don't care about, but it mercifully didn't taste weird and hippie-ish. I had my birthday blondie with a cappuccino.

The waiter then informed me that a complimentary dessert awaited me. I took the cheesecake home and ate it the next day. Upon my first bite I realized that the crust was made of crumbled chocolate cookies, and I sighed in complete satisfaction.

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