Fried Chicken is spreading quickly on the East Side with the recent opening of Root & Bone, Birds & Bubbles, Seoul Chicken, etc. The chefs migrated here from Miami’s Yardbird, the famed fried chicken joint that I never stop hearing about, and the Bravo Top Chef alum couple Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth completely met my expectations with this bird. It’s brined in sweet tea, onions and garlic, but the intoxicating flavor comes from the dehydrated lemon powder that greets your tastebuds with a sweet, salty and refreshing treat. I’ve never had a fried chicken with this flavor, and it dominates. Why doesn’t everyone use this seasoning is my number one question because it feels 100 times better going down than other greasy, oily skins. You can’t eat fried chicken everyday…or can you? Yes, you can eat Jeff’s fried chicken here everyday and convince yourself that it’s totally worth it and ok. The other great factor is that it’s not only about the fried chicken here which might get lost in the restaurant’s story just because they are from Yardbird, but all of the other Southern dishes emit creativity that I’ve been craving all summer.
Dishes swooping onto the table are delicately created and ingredients are reused in other dishes so not to waste any part of a vegetable, bread crumb or cracker which I loved. Who knew you could fit three different kinds of corn into preparation for one dish and make it look like a masterpiece and taste amazing. The Grilled Sweet Corn Cob served husk ‘n all is lathered in cornbread butter, giant hominy and naturally popped popcorn. This dish is adorable, fun and definitely something you’d be embarrassed to eat on a date but would immediately forget as soon as it caresses your lips. This is a time where popcorn finally makes sense at the dinner table, so thank you for that.
While the menu can be overwhelming because you don’t want carb overload just through osmosis, just relax and navigate it properly and know that the dishes somehow don’t kill your stomach and they aren’t dripping. Don’t miss the Southern Peach Caprese Salad. The tender grilled peaches, pickled green tomato and heirloom tomatoes give you that fresh vegetable taste with the southern fried pimento cheese bites that won’t ruin your appetite or take up too much room in your stomach. That’s why I feel like this cooking is enjoyable comfort food that you can get down with and not regret. I never thought I’d say this either, but I loved the Meatloaf. It’s made with short rib meat so you’d never even think this baby was a meatloaf, and it’s served with the most perfect homemade tomato ketchup jam that needs to be bottled up and sold. I’m a fan of the Macaroni & Cheese only because they use big elbow pasta noodles and biscuit thyme crust on top, but if you have to choose (which you should never have to choose) then I’d pick the Cheese Grits instead. It’s made with real corn bites and it’s such a rush when you get those real pieces. It’s almost as if you are just eating some veggies, right? It’s also mixed with pimento cheese because…obviously.
Root & Bone put me on a high horse even though I didn’t love the dessert. However, the love and hard work put into this place is contagious and you can feel it in Jeff’s energy as he swings around the restaurant that is way too small to deliver the dishes to his customers himself. He truly loves what he’s doing and it shines through on each of the plates which makes dining here and eating here all the more worthwhile. One things for sure, he’s got a corn addiction, and that’s something I’m not opposed to.
The wait can be long, so if you can’t deal with it, you can grab some dirty bird to go.