My astute friend Liz suggested that we try Root & Bone, the new restaurant Eater had recently proclaimed to have the best fried chicken in NYC. I didn’t need to be persuaded.
The East Village space is tiny and quirky, as is typical for Alphabet City. The restaurant offers two small bars, reserving both for diners not drinkers. Although drinking is suggested too.
We started with drinks (good ones, although I couldn’t tell you what they were and the online cocktail menu isn’t current) and cornbread (eaten before photos could be taken). The latter was served with strawberry peppercorn preserves and clotted cream, and somehow managed to taste both light and rich simultaneously.
In order to sample more of the menu, we ordered the half fried chicken (four pieces) instead of the whole (eight).
The chicken was as spectacularly tasty as reviews have said. Crunchy, juicy, tangy, smoky, wonderful.
We also got cheddar waffles, corn bread, Southern peach caprese salad and grits.
What can I say about the grits? They were fabulous and indulgent in the best possible way. Imagine the best grits you’ve ever eaten and then add fresh sweet corn and pimento cheese.
Of all the dishes, I think the salad of grilled peaches, fried pimento cheese, pickled green tomatoes, basil, heirloom tomatoes and “sticky molasses vinegar” was most interesting. The salad arrived as we were eating the chicken and grits already so it might have gotten short shrift. My goal is to return while all the items are still in season so as to give this salad the attention is deserves.
Even with all of the dishes ordered, there were items we were sorry to miss such as our bar neighbor’s short rib meatloaf with parsnip puree. It’s on my future hit list for sure.
If I were going to skip any dish next time, it would be the waffles. They were good, but I have had the chicken-and-waffles combo elsewhere many times, such as at Sweet Chick. At Root & Bone, the chicken is superb and stands on its own.
We weren’t offered a dessert menu which was fine. Neither of us had room for more food. Maybe next time.
Somehow our meal (including tip!) worked out to just $34 per person. I’m sure Root & Bone will raise its prices over time, but I believe dinner there will still be absolutely worth it.