Saturday, December 17, 2011

Root 174 (Regent Square)

A visit to Root 174 had been a long time coming.  I had been watching with curiosity since I discovered that Chef Keith Fuller had left Six Penn Kitchen to open up his own shop, and I welcomed the news of the restaurant opening in Regent Square in the summer with excitement.

Soon after its opening, a friend who lives in nearby Swissvale and I had talked about making a trip to Root 174.  So I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  And then life got in the way and dinner plans at Root 174 just never happened as intended.  Finally, I decided I was done waiting, especially after fellow blogger friends raved about it nonstop.  The first opportunity I had to choose a restaurant for a date night, I picked Root 174.

We started with the Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Black Pepper Bacon Jam, which is technically a side item, but we had it as an appetizer.  Friends had talked about how much they enjoyed these brussels sprouts, and I'd have to say I was a bit skeptical at first as I've never really had brussels sprouts that I was crazy about.  But  These really were amazing:  Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and taste like they had been thoroughly marinated in some candied concoction.  I had always found brussels sprouts to be somewhat bitter, but these actually emitted a hint of sweetness.  We devoured them in no time.  I have even been inspired to make my own brussels sprouts for the first time in my life, though I've yet to replicate Root 174's heavenly version.

Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Black Pepper Bacon Jam at Root 174
Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Black Pepper Bacon Jam ($6)

My entree was a special of the evening: Yam Gnocchi with Beef Lengua, or beef tongue.  I grew up eating and loving beef tongue, but it's rare to see it being served in a typical restaurant, so when our waitress mentioned this special, I knew I had to have it.  This dish exceeded my expectations; the beef tongue was well-seasoned and melted in my mouth, and the yam gnocchi was solid.  I wish the beef tongue would become a regular menu item, because I'd love to be able to enjoy it again.  And again.  And again.

Yam Gnocchi and Beef Lengua at Root 174
Yam Gnocchi with Beef Lengua ($23)

R.'s entree was a very tasty Smoked Salmon Sausage that was on the menu, served with couscous, peas tendrils, and cocoa-cranberry jam.  I enjoyed my bite; he loved the rest of it.  It was a great choice.

Smoked Samon Sausage at Root 174
Smoked Salmon Sausage ($25)

Our dessert was the PB&J Cheesecake, presented in the form of a pseudosandwich.  Cute!  The middle layer consists of cheesecake with peanut butter Cap'n Crunch drizzled with strawberry sauce.  The outer layers consist of angel food cake made to look like Wonder bread slices.  It was a delightful way to cap off our meal.

PB&J Cheesecake at Root 174
PB&J Cheesecake ($7)

Both R. and I thoroughly enjoyed Root 174.  The menu is creative, inspired, and personal.  The atmosphere is pleasantly cozy, and the service was attentive.  I only wish I lived closer, but even if it's a trek for me, I will be back for sure.  Methinks it's time to call up my Swissvale friend.

Restaurant info:
Root 174
1113 S. Braddock Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15218
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Bonus: BYOB

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