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Monday, January 16, 2012 / 11:10 AM

Root Ready To Roll in Richmond Heights

Opening night restaurant-goers, take note.

The sign for Nosh has been swapped out for one announcing Root, a restaurant located within the confines of Starr's wine and gourmet food shop at 1135 S. Big Bend. And unlike the restaurants that preceded it, Root has received a slew of pre-opening buzz, a pump primed by its creator, Brian Hardesty, former Exec Chef at Terrene and current owner of the Guerrilla Street Food  food truck.

Root has announced its opening  on Facebook and Twitter, using social platforms as a restaurant should, to hype and build the brand long before the doors open. (It's still shocking that so few new businesses fail to take advantage of such free, effective media.)   

Root is taking reservations for Friday night, January 20, the official opening day. There's even a plug on Starr's website, touting Hardesty as the person who "brings a zest for the new and different, featuring foods from the 1700's to the 1930's hence the Root name." 

The inaugural appetizer menu features Seared Sweetbreads with Oregon Truffles, Preserved Salmon, Two Ways, Pleurines (a pork forcemeat) in Mustard, and "Barnyard Buddies on a Three Way Street" (explained here).

Also on the appetizer menu, a Got Cojones? item: Bread, Butter, Preserves...$5

Root's main courses well fit the rustic theme: Duck and Pork Casserole, Braised Venison with dumplings and rutabaga, Butter Poached Steelhead, Preserved Wild Boar Shoulder with Bacon Marmalade, a Grilled Veal Chop, Roasted Arctic Char, Braised Whole Squab with hazelnuts. Entree prices are in the mid- to high-teens.

On another tangent of "the way it was" theme is a pair of entrees designed for 4 people: a Whole Roasted Rabbit, stuffed with sausage and wrapped in bacon ($80); and a Whole Roasted Striped Bass with Herbs and Lemon ($70). These can be paired up with eight a la carte side dishes (from mashed potatoes and Boston Baked Beans, to creamed kale and Winter Squash Pudding) for $5 apiece.

All systems are go. The vibe is positive. The local foodies are salivating. Sure, the Debbie Downer's will carp about Root's off-the-beaten-path location, or that the space has already been home to several other restaurants. To which we say: right, right, just like Harvest and Farmhaus. We have a good feeling about this one, too. 

Matt Sorrell of Feast has more on Root here

Root
1135 S. Big Bend
Richmond Heights
314-781-4734
rootstl.com (launches soon)
Dinner only, Tue-Sat, till 9 p.m. during the week, 10 p.m. on Fri-Sat

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