Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Food Glorious Food

Yesterday was my ... somewhat delayed...Birthday dinner.  I didn't mind really, it meant I got to stretch my birthday over several weeks as opposed to one day.  I had pondered long and hard about where to go for this special day.  Should we drive into Portland and perhaps try Le Pigeon or Paley's Place?  Both are on my list to eat at... some day.

No.  I decided to stick close to home and boy am I glad I did.  We ended up going to Roots .  If you don't know Roots you don't know what you're missing.  Brad Roots opened his namesake restaurant in 2003 in Camas.  Since then he's opened two more Lapellah and 360 Pizzeria .  Each has it's own distinct style and food offering.  But by far Roots is the most elegant of the three and well it should be.

The restaurant is not all that large, but it has a nice airy feeling.  We sat near the open kitchen and were able to watch the chefs do their magic.  The lighting was subdued but not the murky darkness that you get some places - I'm looking at you steak houses!

The one thing I like about Roots is that they have small plates as well as your regular dinner plates.  For people like my mother, this is a perfect idea and the list of small plates is quite large.  She ended up ordering a cup of their dungeness crab bisque and a small plate of their homemade butternut squash ravioli on melted leeks and truffle oil.

The soup first.  I think it was Lee Iacocca who said you can always tell how good a restaurant is by their soup.  Judging by the crab bisque were were going to have a great night.  Whole lumps of dungeness crab meat, a cream base that was light and flavorful.  Their "cup" looked to be about the size of a bowl so I'd be curious to see how big their bowls are.

They had three specials a fresh petrole sole on a bed of lentils, a 12 oz NY strip and an 8 oz filet mignon.  I opted for the NY strip as did my Dad.  I ordered my rare, I've learned in the past to order it that way because if I'm very lucky I'll actually get it rare and if I'm not I'll at least get it medium rare - which I don't mind either.

What came to the table was a thing of beauty - and I'm sorry I didn't take any pictures.  The steak rested on a bed of veggies and roasted potatoes.  Grilled onions rested on top of the steak and there was a small pat of balsamic butter.  I made my first cut.  I've been to so-called steak houses that couldn't cook a steak this good.  It was, at least to me, perfectly rare.  And Dad's steak was also cooked perfectly medium, for his taste.

The only drawback we had the entire night was that the red wine Mom ordered was a bit on the sour side and not all that good.  The manhattan I had was well made and I tip my hat to their mixologist.  Word of warning, if you order a martini with olives be prepared, the olives in Dad's drink were not pitted.

Roots mission is to use NW produce and vendors and the food reflects that beef and pork from Carlton Farms, mussels from the Puget sound, etc.

Bottom line - GO!  The food is very very good!  The atmosphere is very nice, however the place does tend to get a little noisy when it gets crowded.  The small plates allow you to have a nice dinner for a small price.

They're also opened for lunch and brunch.  Another fun thing that both Roots and Lapellah do is Sunday dinner.  A set dinner with a soup/salad of your choice, special entree, and a dessert of your choice all for $25. Not a bad price!

So, Vancouverites, stay on this side of the bridge and try a local upscale eatery.  Portlanders, come... come to other side of the bridge and find that your Northern neighbors have some awesome places to eat as well.