Nope, no cooking for me last night. I finally made the trip to the reopened, revamped Southern Roots restaurant, and I am still having very, very happy thoughts about it.
Southern Roots has a small, organic-sourced menu, and although this was my first visit, I imagine there’s not much on that menu I wouldn’t love. My usual measure of how good a restaurant’s “Southern” cooking is the shrimp & grits (as in, if they don’t offer it, it’s not Southern). I didn’t order it this time, though, and it was sooo tempting by the description in the menu. But I knew pretty quickly I’d be back, so next time it’ll be shrimp & grits.
In fact, my friend and dinner companion was making her 2nd trip there within a week, and raved about the sides, so I had to get an entree that came with sides, which the shrimp & grits doesn’t. So, it was the breaded catfish for me, with (of course) cheese grits and new potato mash.
(If I hadn’t accidentally deleted the photo from my iPhone later last night, I would post it here. 😦 )
The cheese grits were the first thing I tasted. The grits themselves looked, felt, and tasted like the ones I have bought and cooked so many times from The Old Mill of Guilford (if you live around here and you’ve never been, it’s a must!). The cheese I think was either parmesan or reggiano, maybe both, but it worked and the next time I make cheese grits I will definitely go for that combination. The mashed potatoes didn’t need any salt or pepper from the table and were ridiculously creamy. And what made the catfish as amazing as it was was definitely the lime-caper tartar sauce. I immediately wanted a bottle of it (you can take a lot of things home from the coolers at Southern Roots, but alas, not the tartar sauce). I normally love fried catfish, and I loved this one, but the few bites I had without the tartar sauce were pretty bland, despite being described as “Cajun” on the menu. Thankfully, the kitchen is very, very generous with the tartar sauce, as they are with pretty much every portion on the plate.
I also tried my friend’s entree, the meatloaf, which she had previously described to me as “silky,” and as much as I laughed when she first said it, at this point I can’t think of any better way to describe it. We couldn’t decide on a dessert to split, so it was one of each: lemon pound cake and bread pudding.
The lemon pound cake was excellent, wonderfully simple. The bread pudding was beyond excellent. I am not normally a fan of bread pudding, and when my friend insisted on ordering it I still wasn’t sold, because I was expecting a crumbly, dried-out thing from a mold. Ohh no…not this. This is actual crusty French bread, recently soaked and cooked with rum and golden raisins, and fresh whipped cream. I would eat that every day!
I wish I lived closer to this place! But maybe it’s best to keep it at a special-occasion distance, to keep enjoying it as much as I did yesterday.