Funny things happen on twitter. Like a random conversation between a few people about a new restaurant in town leads to 5 twitter friends (plus 1s) ending up sitting down together in said restaurant 20 emails and a week later, many for the first time in person.
This is how 9 of us ended up being at the Miccosukee Root Cellar last week, a restaurant so new we were the first to make a reservation. Tucked in next to a local breakfast fav Uptown Cafe, this unassuming restaurant is easy to pass from the outside, but rustic and filled with charm on the inside.
Our experience was different than most would have, as the chef decided to give us all a tasting menu. Typically the menu is limited but the food is all locally sourced (including the chef’s family farm) and fresh. We got a selection of the menu in courses of wonderfulness.
First up was a bread course, which was a white and brown freshly baked loaf bread with herbed and honey botter and chunky sea salt. You get 4 pieces of bread with the bread order.
After the bread came a cheese and meat board and veggie tray. I’m sad that I seemed to have lost many of my pictures from the night, so I can’t show you how beautiful the veggies were. I have had plenty of vegetable experiences in my life, so it’s a little shocking that I was stumped with a new one that I had never even heard of before! A watermelon radish, who knew! The cheeses were from Sweet Grass Dairy, there were various nuts and cured salami (including a boar one!). Not to be ‘boarish’ (I know, I know). Everything was excellent and proportioned well.
Next we all got a simple house salad, which was mixed greens, more watermelon radish and a house dressing, which to call a vinaigrette is cheating it, but in style that’s what it is.
For our entree, we were able to select from two choices (or a vegan option). One was the regular menu item of meatloaf with a satsuma glaze and savoury bread pudding, and the other was a type of pulled chicken with crispy kale. Good thing Abe and I share because I would have had a tough time deciding between the two. In the end, I think the meatloaf was my favourite, specifically because I thought the savoury bread pudding was amazing! And I don’t like meatloaf and bread pudding. Ha! The meatloaf was a little individual portion (rather than a slice), was super moist and the glaze made it taste different and better than your mother’s ketchup version (but keeping the sweet). The bread pudding was like a really good and flavourful stuffing/dressing. The pulled chicken was really moist, with a light flavouring that let the chicken taste come through, all served in a fun jar!
Overall, I love everything this restaurant stands for. Food so local that they probably can tell you what row the kale came from. It’s new, and they are working out some kinks I’m sure. Service is spotty but very friendly. Beer and wine is served, and at very reasonable prices. The food, given the sourcing and quality, coupled with a desire to have little waste, comes in small portion sizes. I understand the concept, the “European” style of eating. But I do fear that that the smallness of the portions at the price level is going to drive people away after their first time there. But I do believe in it, and I think a little knowledge before hand will go a long way! So Tally, there you go! It’s high quality food in portions that will you feeling satisfied and not grossly stuffed. The servers could really help the situation with suggesting multiple courses (at least the bread to start) and talking more about the mission of the restaurant.
Update: I’ve been told since we’ve been to the restaurant and since I wrote this post that the portions have gotten bigger with a small increase in price. My source tells me the trade off is fair and appropriate.
Go there, support our local Tally restaurants! And our local farms!
Also, you should check out @amy_z ‘s blog post about our night for more pictures and a different take on the evening!
And follow my twitter eating friends: @amy_z, @biggreenpen, @poonther & @jennsueb (check us out below!).