Sunday, January 12, 2014

Rootstock Wine and Beer Bar

I had nothing planned for the weekend but I didn't really want to do anything big and extravagant so I decided to go to a wine bar.  I had heard that Rootstock was a very good and low key wine bar that also had a pretty good beer list so I decided to try it out.  Located in a low traffic area on California Ave. south of Humboldt Park, it has a pretty low key storefront.  The sign is black and white and building wide but the building is pretty plain.  There is a door in the front but the entrance is actually through an alley in the back.  The dining area is long and narrow with a long bar opposite the entrance.  The room is rather dim with a lot of the light focused on the paintings on the wall which are done by local artists and are for sale.  The food menu is small but changes frequently.  It starts with bar snacks continues to larger plates and finishes a selection of 6 charcuteries and cheeses.  The charcuterie and cheese lists looked interesting so I decided to start there.  The charcuteries and cheeses were all available individually, you could get the entire list, or you could 3 of each which you could choose yourself.  I decided to go with the choice of three charcuteries and three cheeses (with bread).  I started with a housemade duck rillette which was served with jalapeno peppers.  The rillettes were a little more wet and coarsely ground than I would have expected but it did taste good and spread easily on the bread.  I didn't try the jalapenos because, while I do like spicy foods, I am not partial to peppers on their own.  The next charcuterie was a spicy salami from Smoking Goose Meatery out of Indianapolis called Delaware Fireball.  It was a pork salami cured with crushed chili, espelette pepper, and garlic and dry aged with caul fat.  It was very spicy and good and served with currants which helped to mellow the heat somewhat.  The last charcuterie was also from Smoking Goose and was called Dodge City.  It was cured with Fennel Pollen and Pink Peppercorns and had a quick anise flavor followed by a fatty pork flavor.  The mushrooms that were served with it brought an earthy flavor which went well with the dry sausage.  The first cheese was a semi-soft goat cheese which was smooth and creamy with a light goaty flavor and was served with fig jam.  It spread easily, went well with the fig jam and was the first piece to disappear.  The next cheese was Willi's Cheddar, an aged raw cow's milk cheese that had a strong cheddar flavor and salt crystals in the cheese.  It was served with pickled fennel which mellowed the intensity of the cheddar flavor.  The last cheese was a blue goat cheese which was served with an apple jam.  This actually had a mellow flavor and was a favorite.  If I could remember the brand, I would buy some for myself.
To continue the meal I decided that since I had already started with a lot of protein, I should go with some vegetables.  I wanted something more than a salad so I decided to go with Pickled Baby Carrots with Whipped Butter, Anchovies, Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Curried Granola, Pickled Onions, Chevil, Tarragon, and Dill.  I really liked this.  It was tart, spicy, and very flavorful and the carrots despite being pickled had a good crunch.  After the carrots would normally come dessert.  As Rootstock does not offer dessert though, this is where the meal ended.  The food was fresh and flavorful, the beer list was very good, and the wait and bar staffs were very friendly.  Rootstock is a friendly and low key establishment with an eclectic and very fresh menu.  

No comments:

Post a Comment