New Orleans’ Root Brings Modern Cuisine to the Lower Garden District

This impressive spot mixes gastronomic cuisine and cocktail mixology with extensive culinary expertise

Michelle Brennan

Mixologist Christian Villata creates innovative cocktails like the “Carnival” which is garnished with Champagne gummies.

New Orleans is a city that’s as slathered in tradition as the local cuisine is slathered in butter, gravy, and spice. Dining at New Orleans’ most famous restaurants (most of which are steeped in history) has become a customary routine for many families that have resided here for generations. While there is no arguing that these veteran eateries deserve their place in New Orleans culinary history, the newly relocated Root is a breath of fresh air that slices through tradition with cutting edge cuisine and awe-inspiring cocktails.

Root, the brainchild of chef/ owner Philip Lopez and co-owner Maximilion Ortiz, opened its doors in 2011 in the New Orleans Central Business District with the goal of providing modern dining in a way that the people of New Orleans had not yet experienced.

In the five short years that the restaurant has been in business, it has been honored with countless awards and recognitions for culinary excellence. The acknowledgement seems appropriate for a restaurant that has so successfully pushed the limits with its daring, inventive, and artistically presented menu. Root relocated in May 2016 to the Lower Garden District and is now settled in the space above its more exclusive, prix-fix sister restaurant, Square Root

On a visit to Root, it seems anything is possible. Start with an exquisite charcuterie board that comes stacked with a selection of prepared meats that could include anything from face bacon and lamb pancetta to beef tongue, along with an assortment of colorful, pickled vegetables. Snack on salt cod beignets or wild boar sticky buns before diving head first into one of the “small plate” options that includes a dressed up version of deviled eggs featuring pickled shrimp and smoked caviar.

The “large plates” take center stage, though, with dishes like fried soft-shell crab and beef cheek stroganoff that could rival any standard stroganoff we’ve ever eaten. Not hungry? That’s okay! Take a seat at Root’s beautiful bar where cocktail mixologist Christian Villata is shaking up some of the city’s best, most creative cocktails. Try the “Carnival” which is comprised of vodka, basil, pineapple, oloroso, and Mexican vanilla and garnished with a rainbow assortment of Champagne Gummies.

Root is just one quarter of Lopez and Ortiz’s restaurant group Rebel. The duo also co-owns Square Root, The Test Kitchen, and Part and Parcel, the latter of which will be opening soon in the Central Business District.

Stop by Root Tuesday through Saturday, 5:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m., or check out Root’s daily Happy Hour from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. where you can find $5 snacks and discounted drink options. Reservations are recommended for dinner.

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