CLERMONT – I recently had the unique pleasure of being invited to a private tasting of Root and Branch Bistro + Bar’s lunch menu by Chef/Owner AJ Kraft. I had no idea what he was going to bring me, all I knew is that today I would be served items from the “Lunch Menu.”
It is important to note that the food portions shown in the photos within this article ARE NOT the normal menu portions and have been reduced in to a trial size.
To start, AJ brought me a Deviled Egg – trout caviar, dill sprigs, bacon phat
I typically do not like deviled eggs but I’m always willing to try new recipes. My first bite was nice. It was light and creamy. The flavor was subtle and the texture was great. It pretty much melts in your mouth. This deviled egg was great and I ate the whole thing (don’t tell my mother though, I’ll never hear the end of it).
Next, I was brought Pimento Cheese Hush Puppies – smoked cheddar, green tomato mustarda
This was WAY different than any of the hush puppies I’ve had growing up in Texas. These hush puppies are made with pimento cheese that AJ makes in-house and when you bite into it you really taste the freshness. The outside was perfectly crispy and the inside was cheesy and soft/slightly gooey. I tied it both with and without the green tomato mustarda. It was very good without it, but the sweet/tangy flavor of the green tomato mustarda complimented the cheese in a way that will just make your mouth happy.
Now, let’s talk a little about the award these guys just won. At the Taste of South Lake, Root and Branch Bistro + Bar took home the People’s Choice award. They were serving the Fried Green Tomatoes that I had next.
Ah that award winning Fried Green Tomato. Does it live up to the hype?
This is a really classy and unique spin on a true classic southern dish.
CRUNCH. The breading was amazingly crispy. The sauce is creamy and the veggies were fresh. I had already tried this at the “Taste” event, but to have them in the restaurant is an even better experience. The flavor is great. The blend of spices stay with you and you can taste it for 30 seconds or so after the bite is gone. So, to answer my own question, in my opinion yes. It definitely lives up to the hype.
For my main course, AJ made me a 1/2 portion size of The Burger – double burger, challah bun, secret sauce, American cheese, LTO, house pickles.
WOW. Just wow. This dude, AJ, has bacon infused the hamburger meat!! When you look at the patty you don’t see much bacon, but when I bit into it you can taste the bacon all throughout. I thoroughly enjoyed every last bite. The bun – buttery. “The Burger” is in fact one damn good bacon cheese burger.
The Root and Branch Bistro + Bar is located at 1200 Oakley Seaver Blvd, Clermont, FL 34711. Click here to visit their website for more information.
They are also doing a Brunch with Santa. Details below: