A little over a year ago, I had dinner for the first time at Local Roots. It was a meal I'd rather forget. My dish was inedible, the service was mediocre, and the prices were ridiculous for the quality and portions of food we were served. I wrote about this original experience on Urbanspoon and, to my surprise, received an e-mail from the owner. She apologized for my disappointing meal and offered me a gift certificate and encouraged me to give Local Roots another try. This past weekend, Nicole and I finally made our return trip.
Even though our first time had been disappointing, I really didn't go into this with any sort of skepticism. I have heard many great things about Local Roots
and I was hoping our first meal just happened to be an off night for the restaurant. This past Saturday night, we arrived a little before 8pm and the dining room was about half full. We were promptly seated by the host and our waitress arrived shortly after to welcome us, take our drink orders, and tell us about the menu. The waitress did an excellent job throughout the evening taking care of us and her knowledge of the menu was very impressive.
Prince Edward Island Mussels
With a gift certificate for Dinner for Two, Nicole and I were excited to try a variety of courses on the menu. For the appetizer, she ordered the Bibb Salad and I tried the Prince Edward Island Mussels. Before I ordered the mussels, I asked the waitress what sort of flavors the dish would have and she described it as "sweet and smokey with a variety of textures." Her description nailed it. The heaping bowl of mussels (easily over a dozen) were served over a broth/sauce that was sweet, yet balanced with the smokiness of small pieces of bacon. The mussels were also complimented with what appeared to be flavors of onion and potato. And to make it even better, the mussels were served with a variety of artisan breads that could be used for dipping in the sauce. It was a well crafted dish that was full of unique flavors and really showed a sense of creativity. This appetizer in and of itself makes a great meal.
For our entrees, Nicole ordered the Spanish Mackerel and I chose the Sirloin Steak. The Sirloin was sliced and served over a bed of sea island peas (somewhat comparable to black-eyed peas), which was also mixed in with other vegetables, including asparagus and beets. The entire dish was served with a pickled cherry reduction, giving the plate very deep, rich, robust flavors. The steak was well cooked and I loved the incorporation of the cherry flavor with the meat. The sea island peas were interesting, and I can't say I was a big fan, but I loved the other vegetables that were included with the dish. And again, the portion size was very generous. Also, Nicole's mackerel was delicious.
And to complete the 3 course feast, Nicole and I decided to try a couple different desserts. She ordered an glace/sorbet sampler and I ordered what the waitress described as a "deconstructed Snickers bar." My dessert featured a peanut caramel ice cream served in a giant dark chocolate shell, which was surrounded by malt, white chocolate, and a sort of homemade chocolate peanut butter cup. I thought it was great. The use of the dark chocolate kept the dessert from being too sweet, and I loved fact that there were multiple combinations of chocolate and peanut butter featured in the dessert. Nicole's assortment of ice creams also provided some very unique flavors, including a salted strawberry I really liked.
Basically, this dinner at Local Roots felt like we were eating at a different restaurant than the first one I reviewed. The service was great, the food was creative and delicious, and the entire evening was an enjoyable experience. And part of what makes the concept of Local Roots so great is that it feels more like an experience than a meal. You are getting to experience some of the great local food of the region, presented in unique ways. My thanks to the owner for reaching out to me and providing me the opportunity to give the restaurant a second chance - because this second time was a charm.