- scene: Southern Charm meets Alphabet City; just cooly hip, not hipster
- sip: Bourbon baby, this is Southern food; full list of cocktails and wines as well
- savor: Fried chicken; biscuits; mac and cheese
- sit: On a double date; with a fried chicken fiend
- spend: $$
- address: 200 East 3rd Street
- phone number: (646) 682-7080
- website: www.rootnbone.com
Bikini season is on its last legs, (and abs and ass), so there is no better time to treat yourself to some guilt-inducing, finger licking fried chicken. After interviewing Mr. Lee Schrager about his book “Fried and True”, a compilation of fried chicken recipes from around the country, I had bird on the brain and was easily persuaded by Boyfriend to go to Root & Bone, the new joint from Yardbird’s Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth. Boyfriend was tipsy and hungry and I was low on patience, so mercifully we had a very short wait to be seated at a counter seat that ran along an open window. Apparently we got very lucky, as I have been hearing of some intense wait times of late. The server dropped our food in front of us from outside on the sidewalk, proving that muggings are in fact down in the east village, because it would have been tempting for someone to grab his platter and keep running. Root & Bone is small and pretty transparent- you can see the kitchen in the front of the restaurant, and the small bar also has nothing to hide. The noise is manageable and the space has organic down home charm, with the woods looking reclaimed and the lighting and decorations random and interesting, but not in a super-contrived way.
We might have over-ordered, but there are worse crimes. The biscuits were perfection, buttery and dense and served with a chicken based gravy and some sesame salt – I was instructed to “rip it, dip it, and sprinkle”, but I figured out the eating part all on my own. The shrimp and grits were pretty clean, nice shrimp flavor, not overpowered by the grits in texture or taste, and not swimming in too much sauce. The fried chicken is sweet tea brined, juicy, crunchy, messy and amazing, especially with the tabasco honey sauce. That sauce is a genius invention, I couldn’t get enough of it. Just for good measure, we got some mac and cheese too, baked crispy on the top with breadcrumbs and gooey orange/yellow cheese goodness throughout. Root & Bone packs a lot of flavor into a small space, and is a cool, easy place, but a little too greasy good to visit on the regular, event as the the weather cools down. This is a great place to add to your fried chicken repertoire, and definitely bring a dude or two, because not all chicks give a cluck about fried chicken.