I have heard good things about Roots Restaurant & Bar for years, but just never got around to going. Since moving from Ridgefield to Vancouver, it seemed so close we had to give it a shot. Too darn bad it took so long, because we could have had many memorable meals there.
Later is better than never, and we recently enjoyed the restaurant’s warm ambiance, smooth service, and some unique and delicious appetizers and entrees.
The appetizer offerings ranged from $11.99 to $22.99, and included an artisan cheese plate; Dungeness crab and avocado; Puget Sound mussels; grilled flatbread with sweet onion cream; and gnocchi with smoked mushrooms.
We ordered the sweet onion tart with Gruyere and toasted pine nuts ($10.99) and a brandied chicken liver mousse with wildflower honey and toasted baguettes ($9.99). Both were incredible.
I, for one, could have eaten a bowl of the chicken liver mousse for my entire meal. The flavor was just about as good as any uppity and pricey foie gras. The mousse was smooth and creamy and a rich pink inside; the addition of the brandy and honey added a gastronomic flare.
The tart was delish, topped with melted Gruyere cheese, roasted pine nuts, and intriguing Bulls Blood Beet microgreens (which taste like an earthy, nutty mix of sweet beets and spinach).
Because we indulged in appetizers, we passed on an equally inviting list of soups and salads.
The list of entrees is relatively small with only seven items. But do not confuse the small number with a lack of quality, diversity or creativity. As with both the appetizers and salads, the menu is simply a great adventure for foodies.
Reciting the description of the plates we selected just about does my job for me. Roasted chicken breast ($24.99) — with red potato, Brussels sprouts and parsnip hash, topped with bacon jam and demi glaze — was just as delicious and decadent as it sounds. A huge breast quarter, perfectly roasted and herbed, perched on the root vegetable and cruciferous hash, with the jam and glaze as a savory icing for the dish.
The Carlton Farms grilled pork chop ($26.99) was almost 2 inches thick, perfectly tender and moist. It rested tenderly on a smooth and wicked polenta, which was encircled by the braised bacon spinach and cauliflower, dolloped with a tangy-sweet pear butter, and then drizzled with house-made Worcestershire sauce. It was probably the best pork chop this carnivore has ever ravished.
The house-made Worcestershire sauce was unlike any I’ve tasted anywhere in the world. A clever, tangy, sweet, spicy mix of several vinegars, a pinch of allspice, a whisper of clove, a nibble of sugar, and God I’d love to know what else. I used one piece of the grilled bread to sop up the luscious, savory liquid off the plate. I would kill for the recipe. What do you say, Chef Brad?
We asked our charming server what her favorite dessert was. She presented us with a generous round of Warm Toffee Cake ($8.99), topped with a large scoop of quite nice vanilla ice cream. It was the perfect excellence to end the meal — a meal that was literally, start to finish, one of the best I’ve ever had in Clark County.
One tiny sour note: Two people made visits an hour apart to the restrooms, and both noted used paper towels overflowing the trash can and on the floor, and a disturbing absence of bathroom tissue.