Jihye Chang

Tallahassee Eats;-Root Cellar on Mikosoukee

It’s been a year and a half since I moved to Tallahassee. Although I feel that the restaurant selection is rather limited in Tally, I have found a few places that I frequent besides the ones I wrote last year.

One of the newly discovered places is the Root Cellar on Miccosukee. It’s been open for just over a year as I am writing this on New Year’s Day 2013. It has some things to improve upon but I do love the concept of this place and what the owner/chef are trying to do.

Concept – Farm to Table, Local and Organic, Made from scratch

This I like very much. I think there should be more restaurants like this in any city. A small business trying to work together with other local business. The Root Cellar works with several farms and producers near Tallahassee, including Sweet Grass Dairy, Orchard Pond Farm (organic veggies and grass fed beef), Turkey Hill Farm, Thompson Farms, and so on.

Menu – Seasonal, with one or two daily specials. Somewhat limited and not too often changed

Their menu is not big. They have a fish special that changes often, and some special vegetable and cheese choices. But after three visits I was already a little bit bored with the options.  I especially wish they would have more options for appetizers and vegetable plates/side dishes.

Atmosphere and service – Casual, a bit noisy, friendly, and unpretentious. Could be slow but it’s the kind of ambiance that invites waiting around and lounging.  I personally think this kind of restaurant should make you feel good – good to eat sustainably produced food, to support local business, and to be in a friendly space for a relaxed time.

Food – I like their “Picnic Basket” with cheese, charcuterie, and in-house made pickles. It seems a little pricey, but I do like what they put on the little chopping block. (Although it would be so nice if they could provide more toasted points or crackers to accompany..!)

Among the regular menu items, our favorite is the meatloaf. Very simple and straight forward, but always moist and well prepared. The tangy sauce (with some beer mixed in) comes along with it is very tasty, too.  We also enjoy the salads and anything with hand-picked crab meat. The dessert selection is also limited, but I like the buttermilk pound cake. Yum! Some of the main dishes and soup can be hit or miss (for example, the jambalaya in my photo gallery was a little too watery and chicken-heavy/ squash soup was too heavily spiced for my taste, etc.), but overall it’s a place that I would go back to. I and my husband always felt well treated after eating there.

Overall, given the presentation and short-ish menu, the price point is a little on the high side.  However, this is the kind of restaurant and enterprise that makes Tallahassee a better place, and I feel good about supporting their creativity and commitment to sustainable practices. And hey – it’s same for a lot of the other decent restaurants in Tally. Even a Thai restaurant can charge you over $25 for an entree (which I never experienced in any other Thai restaurants in the states)!

Address: 1311 Miccosukee Road (at Magnolia Crossing)

Phone: 850-597-7419

Hours: Tuesday till Saturday, 5pm till around 9-10pm, maybe a bit longer on weekends (depends on the crowd, I think)/ No reservations accepted

* Website: http://miccosukeerootcellar.com – This is more like a blog run by the owner, Ruben. I hope they will add more updates on menus and specials soon!

* A lot of people on Google/ Yelp review seem to have had some bad service experience – but I had none upon my three visits. Things can be a bit slow, but I am OK with that.

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