The Root Restaurant & Bar is the last of the Restaurant of the Year establishments that I have been to, but missed writing about. The only reason is that there was not a memento that had reminded me about the establishment until the list. They had opened in 2011 and were awarded the honor for 2012. We went there after reading about The Root in a newspaper article about their opening and how they were so Michigan oriented. The restaurant is located in White Lake, Michigan and there was no quick and easy way to get there, so we just drove and drove and finally came to a strip center where one would expect to find one of the many chain restaurants, but lo and behold there was The Root. In fact, there were only a couple of dishes that we had that evening that was not from Michigan and one was Foie Gras, but since we are both very partial to it, we could readily forgive that and who would expect to find that dish in a strip center in White Lake? I remember questioning our server who was telling us how, other than the Foie Gras the other items were all from Michigan, as much as possible. The pork and grass-fed beef came from a ranch in Yale, Michigan, while most of the produce came from farms in Yale and Fenton, and the dairy products came from Guernsey Dairy. I thought I had caught her when I saw that they had shrimp on the menu, as shrimp is found in estuaries and Michigan is far from any of the oceans. She surprised me and told me that the shrimp is farmed in a man-made estuary outside of Lansing.
We began the meal with alien food for the state, as of course we had to have an order of seared Foie Gras with Onion Jam, and we also tried the Crab Cakes with Avocado Mousse and Salsa. Of course the dishes were perfect and made us look forward to the rest of the meal. We passed on the shrimp dish, and my Bride had Pork Shoulder with Smoked Cheddar Grits. I went with one of my favorite dishes when I can find it, as I find that Free-range Chicken is so much tastier then just chicken. My dish was a half chicken and house made Chorizo, Swiss chard, roasted mushrooms and white wine sauce. We were sharing our meals back and forth and were sad to see the plates empty after awhile. We finished off the meal with coffee and Crème Brulee.
Since The Root was so into Michigan fare, even though they had some good California and European wines, we stayed totally domestic. They had one of my Bride’s favorite wines from Michigan and we have been to the winery several times in our journeys. We had a bottle of L. Mawby Blanc de Blancs Brut, which I think is one of the best sparkling wines made in the Leelanau Peninsula of Michigan. Lawrence Mawby is considered in some circles as the “Godfather” of the wineries of that area, and this is a very serious winemaker. Hand sorted Chardonnay grapes are used for this wine and stored in Stainless Steel, and this sparkling wine is made in the Traditional Method, which takes much more time and finesse then the easier Charmat Method that many bulk wine makers use. It was almost pointless to even think of another wine for the evening, when this wine was seen, and one must always keep the Bride happy, or as happy as I can keep her. I am glad to have been able to write about some more restaurants and wines that were wonderful times, that had just slipped my mind, but that is very easy to do at times.