The Root - White Lake, MI- Detroit area
Went for lunch and the ambiance is very modern and cool. Very nice welcome and a funny waitress.
The menu comes with a sources card listing the key suppliers ex: C-Roy pork, beef and bologna, from Yale, MI. Fenton cider, etc. very cool and a nice touch.
Had the onion soup with Wisconsin Grand Cru Gruyere. A touch sweet and very yummy.
My friend and I both had the pork shoulder braised in cider on smoked grits. The Apple salsa was a very good counterpoint to the richness of the pork. Outstanding flavor and texture. Perfect portion size and just $12 for lunch.
We were both pleasantly stuffed after soup and pork. Can't wait to get deeper into the menu.
Definitely worth the drive from Watertucky or even from Downriver.
Went back tonight to celebrate Small Business Saturday. I was partially interested in doing it up right by going with the tasting menu, but wanted to know what the soup du jour was, so I called them up. It was a very-appealing-sounding Asian chicken miso soup, and that sort of sealed it: I was doing the tasting menu! I'd start with the soup, move on to a crab cake, have trout for the main, and decide on what to have for dessert when I was done.
So I arrived, was seated, and my server came and introduced herself and offered a beverage (water). When she brought it, she told me, "We have some specials for tonight that are off the menu. We have a tuna sashimi appetizer (not interested) and our soup today is an American beef chili..." and I interrupted her by saying, "Don't you mean an Asian chicken miso?" She sheepishly replied, "Oh...yeah, we *had* that, but it was very popular, and we ran out of it."
It's not her fault. I know this...but it certainly threw the train off the rails a good bit to start out with. I've had really good soup there before, and the miso was very, very attractive to me. It was actually one of the biggest attractions to get me to "step up" to the tasting menu, and now the soup was gone, replaced with...chili of all things. Chili. Why not just give up all the way and replace the now-gone miso with tomato soup? That's a poor, poor consideration by the kitchen IMHO. Don't just heat up some chili to finish out the day; if you run out of something, you run out of it, but don't just sub in some substandard, everyday whatever to fill things out. That doesn't work well, and it showed.
Believe it or not, this caused me to throw out the plans for the tasting menu. I decided I'd just either have the trout, or a sandwich and an appetizer, and perhaps a scoop of gelato for dessert. I decided on the trout, and the good server appeased me a bit by allowing me to sub out the creamed corn for the curried cauliflower, which I've had before, and is still very good. There were also some fingerling potatoes (average) and a couple very small pieces of pickled peppers atop the fish itself.
Speaking of the fish, for $26, while it was good, it was *small*. For being the second most expensive entree on the menu (steak being the highest), I expected more. Not more in the taste department...it was nicely cooked, and had good flavor, but just "more" in the sense of "$26 ought to be buying some fairly decent sized pieces of trout". These were very thin, and since the pork shoulder I've had there is far more filling and far less expensive at both services, I'm sort of left to question why the trout wouldn't be more generously levied on the plate. It was certainly good, but it wasn't anywhere near $26 good. Perhaps $20.
Having had that, I finished up with a scoop of their chocolate gelato (Guernsey Dairy based), and once again, that's a very nice, affordable way to finish up a meal. It's just a single scoop, but it's just $2 for that scoop, and it's got a nice flavor and texture. It's not up to Biga's standard of gelato, but it needn't be, for $2 (Biga's is a bit pricier IIRC).
So, $28 for those two, tax and tip it out the door at $35. I've been more impressed by the place, but I think that the main sticking points this visit were:
1. My disappointment that the stated SOTD wasn't available any longer and was substituted with a generic "Whatever the kitchen had on hand" soup instead, and
2. The $26 price point of the trout. It really shouldn't be that high, or if it's going to be, it really ought to be a far more generous portion of fish. The sides were fine (average the greatness of the curried cauliflower and the "just there" fingerling potatoes), but the entire plate just doesn't come close to justifying the current price point, whereas other entrees I've had entirely do justify their price points.
Service was good, though my too-full-of-ice water glass emptied quickly quite often, leaving me to look around for people to help out. It never took long, though, and I never was parched or anything.
I'll still be back, but I'll stay away from the trout and stick with the other mains...and hope that they have enough soup to go around! ;)
I've been to the Root twice now, and can say I am quite impressed with the food.
I've sampled the chili, onion soup (excellent, but not as good as the Clarkston Cafe circa 2008), Chicken with gnocchi (now the side is risotto, which I would have preferred, but the chicken is great), Crab cakes, and last night the special of trout over asparagus and some great Yukon potatoes. Oh yeah the french fries side is pretty tasty as well.
Also, the braised pork pasties. I enjoyed them, the pork was great. My gf (a yooper) was not satisfied with the pasty dough, but she is extremely picky when it comes to pasties.
I will support this place, but I'm quite concerned that the Root will survive in this location at their price point (last night - trout 26, onion soup 6, beer 5, tax and 20% tip totaled $48).
It is a bit pricey, yes, especially for the area. I'm not sure I'm willing to go full-bore for dinner yet, based on that fact. Still, my lunch was very good for what I paid, and I'll be going back.
So...I'm kind of a numbers-cruncher, and I'm trying to figure out your $48 total. $26+$6+$5=$37. Tax it up to $39.22. Tip at 20% and you add $7.40, for a total of $46.62, but if you're tipping on the sales tax as well (I don't), I still only reach $47.06, and I'd usually round up or down to the nearest dollar. Did you tip on the tax and round up to the next dollar? That's the only way I could get to $48 using the prices you mention.
Not sure what you mean by pricy for the area. Milford and Commerce Twp to the south have some of the priciest real estate in the state. Last few times I've been in Root they've been really busy. I think their menu is well rounded, if you want to spend $60/plate, you can, if you want to spend $20/plate, you can do that too. Seems to be doing well with the after work crowd. from what I gathered.
The Root is in White Lake (I think, maybe Highland), and is the most expensive restaurant in White Lake/Highland. I think of its closest neighbor as Wateford, and believe me, there is nothing close in price in Waterford. That is what I meant.
I ddin't consider Commerce/Milford because they are the other side from where I'm at, but you are right that they have some pricey real estate.
I want it to stay open and flourish, so I am glad to hear you think it is doing well. I agree by the way - it always seems to be pretty busy.
Tried it myself, today. Enjoyed it.
I had planned to have that same pork shoulder that GG had, but they had a special of the day for lunch: a BLT with their own house-made bacon, and since it isn't normally on the menu and the pork shoulder is, I went with the special. It was $8, which I consider quite high for a BLT, but it comes on their focaccia bread, with a lemon-pepper aioli, and, most importantly, a side.
The sandwich itself, when it came, was a bit puzzling to me, since I couldn't actually see any of the T (tomato) on there, and neither could the runner. So back he went to the kitchen, and they assured him that there was, indeed, T on the sandwich. To their credit, there was...some *tiny* slices of tomato on there. Look, folks: it's dead in the middle of summer. Let's pile on some tomatoes on the BLT, eh?
Sandwich was good, albeit a bit on the small side. The bacon was *very* good, and the lettuce and tomato were just sort of there. The focaccia was nice, as was the lemon-pepper aioli (I asked for more of that). One thing that was my fault was when the bartender said "lemon pepper aioli", I heard "red pepper aioli", and was quite confused by the taste and look of it. Nonetheless, the aioli was enjoyable, and a nice differentiation from the normal mayo, or Miracle Whip, or what-have-you. I'd get it again, *especially* if they could duplicate the side that came with it.
I'm having pretty good luck with side items lately. I was going to have a summer salad of cold green beans (sounded great) right up until the bartender said, "It's great. It's chilled green beans tossed with feta..." and he saw my face change. ;) He then said, "...or you could have any other side you want." without missing a beat. Good on him. He then told me that they could prepare some fresh green beans as a hot veggie for a side, which I jumped on.
And they were perfect. A great summer taste that I richly enjoy, they were hot, yet still crunchy, with a vibrant color, and that wonderful summer taste that made me think that they'd been freshly picked and had the ends snipped off of them that day. Simple, unadorned (though they may have had a little butter or cream added during the heating process), and great. Frankly, they may have overshadowed the sandwich a bit, but these little babies certainly made the $8 sandwich far better on the whole. Plus, I get the added bonus of feeling that I was "good". ;)
I finished up with a scoop of chocolate gelato ($2), which was a nice finish. I still would take Pizzeria Biga's gelato over this (both places use Guernsey dairy as a base), as this seemed a lot more like ice cream to me than gelato. Still it tasted good, with a slight bitterness to it even though it looked like a milk chocolate. Not the biggest scoop in the world, but they have a *ton* of flavors to pick from, and at $2, I'd easily get it again, if I had room. They didn't best Biga in this department, but they didn't need to, either. Good is good, and it's an affordable, nice way to end the experience.
Service was cordial, knowledgable, and prompt. I was there after the lunch rush, yes, but the service was still good. And not just from the bartender, either...everybody seemed to like what they were doing, or at least everyone I interacted with.
It's a nice facility, and *very* welcome to the area. I'll be going back, and I can pretty safely recommend the place to others, I'd think. Decent beer selection for you beer-drinkin' freaks, and they do source a stinking *ton* of their food and drink as locally as possible. I think the furthest they sourced was Chicago and Ohio. Nothing further.
So yes! The Root! I look forward to more experiences there...it's nice to have someplace up this way that's got the community buzzing besides the Clarkston Union and/or Woodshop. Shoot...before the Woodshop was around, the biggest restaurant deal around here was the fact that we were getting a BW3. And no: I'm not kidding.