The first thing you think when you look at the offerings on Root's menu is, "I don't know what any of this is, but I want to try all of it." And that's exactly what Executive Chef Phillip Lopez wants - to have a conversation with his patrons through the food. Though it's hard to define exactly what Root's style of cuisine is (perhaps a testament to Lopez's varied international upbringing in an army family), there is a definite Southern and Bayou lilt to dishes like Louisiana Pickled Shrimp (one of Lopez's specialties), Caramelized Brussels Sprouts and Coriander Scented Grilled Gulf Fish.
The menu at Root is laid out in such a way as to further the conversation, both between chef and patrons and amongst the patrons themselves, as divisions are made between sections like "Socials" and "Middles", inviting the diners to interpret and order according to their own stories.
Like many things in the city nowadays, Root in some ways tells the classic story of post-Katrina New Orleans: The restaurant opened after Chef Lopez was displaced in the hurricane aftermath and studied under Michel Richard (of Citronelle fame) in Washington DC.
And if there's one thing to be counted on from restaurants in New Orleans, it is a sense of relaxed dining atmosphere, and this is certainly true at Root, where simple, candlelit oakwood tables preserve a space for the unique presentations of the plates, which are the true stars at Root.