Tag Archives: greenpoint

Root & Bone: The Pop-up from Top Cheftestants Jeffrey McInnis and Janine Booth

27 Nov

If you have been reading this blog long enough, you know that we are unabashed Top Chef sluts. We love watching the show and love exploring the restaurants the “Cheftestants” open and being able to eat the food that looks so amazing on the screen.

Mike saw that Underground Eats was offering tickets to Root & Bone: The Pop-up. When Mike’s foodie coworker friend mentioned it to him as well, we went for it.

For just 2 weekends (November 15th, 16th, 22nd & 23rd), Chef Jeffrey McInnis (from Top Chef Season 5) and Chef Janine Booth (from the current Season 11), were taking over a new Brooklyn restaurant to test their menu and some food concepts as a pop-up.   The tickets were $65 per person and included 9 courses and beer pairings.  Seemed like a deal to us!

This pop-up was a sneak peak into a new restaurant from Chef McInnis (who was previously at Yardbird in Miami, Florida) and Chef Booth before they open Root & Bone in Alphabet City in 2014 (not my favorite neighborhood… but what can you do).


We went to The Brew Inn in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (surprisingly easy to get to even though we had to take the subway to Queens to catch the G train to Greenpoint).  We really liked the aesthetic inside with a mix of wood, brick, and mirrors (though the bathroom had an awkwardly small sink).



The menu for the evening sounded great, though there were some concerns with my peppers (capsaicin) allergy.  But Chef McInnis plopped himself next to me on the bench and went through it line by line and promised he would take care of me.


We started with a really great hard cider from McKenzie’s. Usually I am not a hard cider fan.  I absolutely LOVE apple cider and I always find myself wanting hard cider to taste more like real cider with a kick.  McKenzie’s was perfect.  Every bit as delicious as regular cider but with a nice tang and faint booziness.  Best hard cider I’ve ever had. I’ll be seeking this out!


Our first course was a sampling of bites (see photo below):

Top left: “Waldorf Salad” with sheets of crisp apple, NY grapes, buttermilk, blue cab, and celery.  It was like a tiny wrap with a bite of crab inside. It was good but a bit watery. Not overly memorable.

Just to the right of that was the hot fresh baked buttermilk biscuits with sea cured foie gras and tomato jam. I couldn’t have the tomato jam due to a bit of paprika, so chef brought me my own version with rhubarb jam (more on that in a moment).

The sandwiches below that on the board were grilled lamb ham n’ pimento cheese sandwiches with pickles.  Sadly, this was something they couldn’t edit to make it peppers-free.  I asked the table to tell me it was awful, but the truth was it was the one most picked as their favorite. (Damn)

Below that and to the left were grilled pierogi with pickled cabbage and dijonaise. I loved the grilled char on these. Very flavorful and the pickled cabbage underneath them was fantastic.

And then bottom right were deviled eggs with American sturgeon caviar.  Usually I don’t see the point in deviled eggs, but these were fantastic.  Packed with flavor (even the ones I had with the paprika removed).

We LOVED the board as a whole, and even though I’m pretty sure it was just a way of sampling a few different appetizer options, we loved it as a sampler and I hope they keep this concept on the menu for the restaurant.


My biscuits with foie and rhubarb were superb.  The biscuits were perfectly crisp yet soft and the foie was cooked well and paired so nicely with the sweet of the rhubarb.  A teeny bit of saltiness made the entire bite pop in my mouth.


We then had a House Made Chartcuterie Board with spicy goat “slim jim” (I couldn’t have it), smoked duck ham (flavorful but forgettable), wild boar head terrine (really enjoyed this on the bread), smoked tasso lamb ham (couldn’t have it), polish sausage (kielbasa… very, very tasty and one of the best versions of kielbasa I’ve tried), pickled vegetables (pickled unbelievably well with a touch of sweet and sour), mustards, and marinated cheddar jar with grilled bread.


The jar of marinated cheddar cubes was great. I loved the flavor and the herbs that really complimented the cheese. Mike was a bit put off that this was in cubes since he thought it cheapened the food.  I had no issue with it.


The chefs came out and spoke to us a few times. They were so excited to be there and to be sharing the food with us. It was a really fun experience to be there to try the food and talk with them as they get ready to take on Manhattan.


The first main came out and it was shrimp ‘n’ grits. They were beer crusted red shrimp with tobasco spiced ham (I had a different version without the tobasco), and baby onion over tone ground grits.


When the chefs came out, they told us that they were serving the deep fried heads of the shrimp as well.  Now I’ve sucked shrimp heads before, but eating the head whole was a new experience. Sure enough, it was delicious and crispy enough to eat without a problem.

The dish was a bit mixed.  The grits were some of the best grits I’ve ever had. If all grits tasted like that, I would understand why people love them so much. The shrimp had a delicate flavor and the sauce was very good, however, the ham (both my version and, according to my tablemates, everyone else’s) was VERY salty and it overpowered the dish. I love salt, but this was too much even for me.  Shame. The dish would have been excellent had not been for the saltiness.


Our beer adventure continued (we wound up having 5 drinks in all) including an ale from Queen’s Brewery.


Our final entree was “Root & Bone’s Signature Meatloaf” and it was described as “slow beer braised Australian lamb shanks, caramelized onion, minted celery root & parsnip puree, with carrot BBQ sauce.” (I had to have an alternate sauce)

At first, we were confused. Was this 2 dishes? A meatloaf and a lamb shank.

What wound up coming out was very surprising: a “loaf” made from lamb shank. It was as if they made the lamb, pulled it apart, and then assembled it into a loaf which was seared.  It was absolutely f*cking fantastic.  The sear on the outside gave it an ever so slight char and crisp with an incredibly flavorful lamb.  The puree combined with mint was so inspired, and when you ate it all together, it took each individual component to a new level.  One of my favorite dishes of all time. When the restaurant opens, I will get this again. I loved it.


At this point I realized there was some activity outside. They were assembling dessert in the little side yard outside.


Dessert was carrot cake with carrot cream cheese emulsion, walnut brittle, and cream cheese sorbet.  I absolutely loved the sauce, the sorbet, and the walnut brittle. (Especially the walnut brittle)  But the cake… it was ehhh…  A bit too dry, not enough flavor.  I tried to saturate it in the sorbet but I wound up eating the sorbet with the sauce and the brittle and leaving the cake behind.


At the end of the night, we were asked to fill out comment cards, which we all did happily.  Everyone was buzzing about the food around us, and all 4 of us had a great meal.  As for favorite, the sandwich got a big vote from our table (damn x 2) but my favorite was the lamb meatloaf.  Sooooo good.



At the end of the night, the chefs were saying goodnight to everyone and were kind enough to take photos.  I thanked them for a great meal and for taking such great care of me with my allergy (it really was above and beyond and I didn’t feel even slightly embarrassed for the menu edits, which is a common feeling for me since many places aren’t very kind nor considerate about allergies).



We chatted with Chef Booth for a bit and she was so incredibly sweet.  (People that good looking and that talented are typically not nearly that nice).  She was so excited to send us home with our gift bag of tabasco and pepper jelly (womp wahhhh).  It was sweet to have something to take home, however.

photo (28)

This was a truly wonderful experience.  Feeling like we had an “insiders” look and being able to try such great food made for a great night.  I cannot wait for the restaurant to open next year and I hope these chefs have great success.

Sunday at Sea (AKA: The day I started to hate Lena Dunham)

23 Aug

Last weekend was my birthday weekend, however, we had a lot of obligations so there was very little ME time.  And since I am the princess on my birthday, when we saw a fun looking event on Underground Eats, we quickly decided it sounded like a perfect way to celebrate my day.

It was billed as follows:

Enjoy a three-hour cruise during which you’ll feast on jumbo lobster rolls, oysters, and whoopie pies, get a chance to learn the secrets of oyster shucking and help yourself to endless beer and wine.

  • Jumbo Lobster Rolls
  • Ahi & Watermelon Ceviche
  • East & West Coast Oysters
  • Whoopie Pies
  • Open Bar (Beer & Wine)
  • Live Music
  • Oyster Shucking Class
  • Learn to Break Down a Lobster

Sounded like a good value for $60. HA!  That’s a joke. I don’t think I’d let someone pay me to take this boat trip again.  What a shit show.

Though it didn’t start too bad.

We haven’t spent much time in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and we arrived much earlier than intended. Not much to see in the area so we killed about 45 minutes on a bench checking out a new view of the skyline.



Our ship then pulled in



And before we knew it, there was a HUGE line behind us. (They boarded a bit late, and took a lot longer to board than intended, so we wound up leaving nearly 45 minutes later than scheduled)


They were checking bags and giving everyone the pat down to get on the boat.


It was pretty empty when we first got on (which obviously didn’t last).  They had a downstairs dance floor and DJ who spun an odd collection of “beachy” music I had never heard before, but it was decent. Though I’m not sure if I would consider this “live music” as billed.

There were 2 stations downstairs for lobster rolls and whoopie pies, as well as a bar.


And upstairs there were about 20 seats, a dance floor, 2 food stations (oysters and ceviche), and a small bar.


The bar started with a very nice beer offering. I LOVE Sixpoint Sweet Action.  Always tastes like summer and baseball to me. (Perhaps because I tried it first at Citi Field).



Very quickly, the ceviche line opened.  I was SO hungry so I ran up to get it. Sadly, it was coated in peppers. But Mike said it was very interesting since it was combined with watermelon.



I went downstairs a few times, but no food was being served yet (and even though the whoopie pies were out, he wouldn’t let me touch them until the “official time”). I kept checking, and I finally caught it open and the line was already across the boat and spiraling back (it wound up building to a triple snaking line).  I left Mike upstairs since there were only 20 chairs and we scored them early.



And I waited… and I waited… 50 minutes.

50 minutes on line to get lobster rolls.

And then I got up there all excited to finally try one…



And they wouldn’t give me one for Mike.  “1 per person.”

Now I get it.  I get that they don’t want everyone to come down and hog 2 lobster rolls at once.


Then at some point during my 50 minute wait online, how about someone come out and TELL us that? How about tell us that when we get on the boat? Or give people tickets to get lobster rolls?

Or… HELL… put more than 20 freakin seats on a boat that you put at least 200 people on.

I was NOT a happy camper.

I tried to argue with the guy serving, who was from Greenpoint Fish, but he was a total jerk to me. He called me “little girl” and told me to “stop complaining and move along.”  Not cool. Not cool at all.  It’s bad enough to give a customer a bad experience (especially for a place that I believe is trying to open a restaurant soon). I immediately tweeted them an unhappy sentiment, and not only did they not do the customary social media community management best practice of responding… they actually censored/deleted my tweet from their wall. Bravo jerks. Bravo.

I was so angry that I didn’t even get a good picture of the roll, but really there was no reason to. I’m not saying this because they were totally douchey to me, but the lobster roll was just meh.  When the line finally went down a while later, Mike got on line for his (waited another 20 minutes or so) and got to the front to find out that they actually ran out of their lobster roll meat, but they had some fresh cracked lobster meat to put on the bun.  Now this lobster… this lobster was GREAT!  It made it very obvious that they had either used frozen or sub-par lobster in the original roll.

Needless to say, I will never go to Greenpoint Fish.

After this disappointment, at least we had the view to check out.



After watching the world go by for a bit, we went and got ourselves some oysters. These were awesome. Super fresh and the shucker spent all 5 hours on his feet, shucking at incredible speeds. Props shucker man.



And then we went to get some whoopie pies.



Now these were no Cranberry Island Kitchen whoopie pies (the vendor we chose for our wedding), but they were good in their own way. They tasted like fresh devil dogs.  We enjoyed these and actually, this was the only food I could fill up on, so I had a few.  Yum.



And then we made a sweep next to the lady. (A view I never get tired of)





They then had their lobster cracking demonstration. Most of the stuff I’ve already shown, but a genius way to get meat out of the legs… use a rolling pin. Comes right out!  Who knew?


And these were the fresh lobsters that wound up going into the good lobster roll. I love how the light is shining on them, as if from heaven. (mmmm heavenly lobsters)



About halfway through the cruise, the good beer ran out. No more Sixpoint Brews. Just Bud and Bud Light.  I’d rather just drink water.  BLEH.

And then everything went to hell. The bathrooms stopped flushing.

To make matters much worse, the boat was basically entirely Brooklyn hipsters.  Total hipsters.  I couldn’t believe the amount of fun mustaches and rolled up pants with boat shoes I saw.  But the style aside, these millenials were jerks.  It was like a bad episode of Girls. They smoked on the small boat, in the middle of everyone eating, and refused to move.  (NO ESCAPE!)  They cut in line and then kept blocking the path to get anywhere on the boat (including the broken bathrooms). They danced into me while I was waiting in various lines, many times, and no apologies.  They were obnoxiously drunk and dropped food all over and threw their cigarette butts into the water.  And they just had no courtesy for anyone around them.  It was as if they were the only one on the boat.  I really hate the self-involved, entitled attitude.

And afterwards everyone got on their vintage bicycles and peddled home.

I blame Lena Dunham.