When one door closes, another one opens. Although diners bid farewell to Shelborne South Beach’s Sarsaparilla Club last year, Top Chef stars Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth — the couple behind the American dim sum restaurant — aren’t done saying goodbye to the hotel property: They’ve now opened a popup of their beloved New York eatery Root & Bone, giving guests plenty of reasons to salivate.
Despite being located in the hotel’s lobby, the restaurant is intimate. It feels like you’re in on a secret — you definitely get a popup vibe. It’s a cool ambiance that piques your interest in the menu, which is Southern food through and through. FYI: Portions are biggggggggg. Don’t let our photos deceive you; since we did a tasting, our portions were made smaller so we could eat more.
If you stuff yourself on small plates, don’t feel bad — we were tempted, too. Grandma Daisy’s Angel Biscuits are indeed heavenly, and the honey roasted chicken jus puts the dish over the top. Pickled Devil Eggs and the Romaine Heart Wedge are other notable starters, with the latter making us drool the second it hit the table. The salad’s housemade bacon gives off a mouthwatering scent that’s surprisingly deceiving. You’d think the salad is super heavy and will make you hate yourself, but it’s actually pretty light and tasty.
The sweet tea-brined Root & Bone Fried Chicken is the signature dish here, and you definitely get your money’s worth. A half bird is more than enough for two people — only get a full bird if you’re a larger group or want leftovers. Complement the moist, juicy bird with a buckwheat cheddar waffle, and you have yourself a happy palate.
Don’t skimp on sides either. We eat a lot of Macaroni ‘n Cheese, and this iteration with a biscuit crust is one of our faves. Need to eat more veggies in 2018? The Corn 3 Way is the way to go: Expect it on the cob topped with corn bread butter puree and popped corn. If all vegetables were this delicious, we’d be healthy AF. A Strawberry Shortcake is available if you somehow still have space for dessert, but honestly you probably won’t. If you miraculously do, though, the accompanying ice cream will have you licking your lips well after your meal.
Right now, the Root & Bone popup is only sticking around for a limited time. Depending on how well it does, there’s a possibility it could become a permanent addition to Shelborne South Beach. Based on our experience, we’re hoping for the latter.