Restaurant Review – Root Down Brunch

May 30, 2012
One of Highland’s most successful and deeply-rooted restaurants in the neighborhood is the ‘field to fork’ sensation, Root Down.  Perched on a hill in an old service station, Root Down has an easy, open-air vibe with kitschy details throughout the renovated space.  The restaurant which has robust options for gluten and vegan diners serves dinner, happy hour and a killer brunch on weekends.

(Clockwise from top left:  Root Down service sation facade/  welcoming signage /  brunching on the patio with my friend Jaime)

Overlooking picturesque downtown, diners practically beg the hostess for patio seating on weekend mornings as tired hipsters, put together foodies and families of all likes come to break bread as a kickoff to their weekends.  Be advised, this is not a breakfast joint where you are in and out in under an hour.  Root Down guests like to linger over several hours for brunch, sipping their bottomless blood-orange mimosas and have multi-course meals that drag into the early afternoon.  So, if you do not have a reservation, prepare to hold up on the patio or in the bar; my last visit was 2 weeks ago and we waited just over an hour, eekkk!
The menu is ‘globally influenced seasonal cuisine’ which means the menu is constantly changing based upon ingredients and products that are at their peak of freshness and availability.  A staple on the menu is the Daily Pastry Duo with house-made pastries, jam and butter.  This starter is a tasty amuse to your meal which will surely get your palette enticed for one of the many mouth-watering entrees. 
One of the best items on the menu is the Steak and Eggs.  The dish is served with a very complex and deep flavored dark mole sauce which is then counter-balanced with a fresh and herbaceous chimichurri oil and then a barley-plantain hash.  To say this dish is rich in flavor and large in portion is an understatement because it was difficult to finish, even for our friend who brought a big appetite.  The Pulled Pork Omelette was also a huge hit with smoked mozzarella, lime crème fraiche and pickled habaneros.  The pork was slow-cooked, resulting in robust flavor and tender texture.  Another standout is the Carrot and Thai Red Curry Soup.  I cannot get enough of this soup so it makes me happy that Root Down offers it on every menu they serve.  The velvety soup is bright in flavor and color, full of fresh pureed carrot, red chilies, coriander and cardamom.  An additional layer of flavor comes from the tart and sweet combination in the apple-pear chutney that is served on top of the soup, along with fresh cilantro.
As far as gluten free options, The Root Down Benedict packed flavor, texture and complexity.  The quinoa ‘English muffin’ had a chewy bread-like texture which held up nicely to the poached eggs.  This bennie rendition opted for a light, sun-dried tomato hollandaise versus the buttery classic (which is available if you so choose) but I preferred the sun-dried tomato as most hollandaise tend to be dense and extremely heavy for my taste.  As far as the gluten-free Spanish Omelette, it was less than memorable with a dry combination of manchego cheese, watercress, raw asparagus, scallions and a piquillo-almond sauce that lacked in basic flavoring. 
I think the majority of Root Down’s brunch fare is extremely satisfying and leaves you walking away looking forward to your next weekend visit.  The entire experience is dotted with friendly staff, a fun atmosphere, a beautiful view (if you can get a spot on the patio) and food that is seasonal and full of fresh ingredients.  I think the roots of the restaurant have taken and are spreading like wild-fire, thus causing an ever flowing line of diners, waiting for their chance to taste their way through an innovative and creative menu.

1 comment:

  1. I love their signage. That matched witht he brick and all the plants creates so much curb appeal.


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