This is not a casual experience. Don’t get me wrong, we are not talking hoity toity, watch out which fork you use and wear a tux situation. This is serious in the sense that the approach taken to the food is full-on, place the beet sprout leaf with tweezers – kind of serious. The actual ambiance and set up of Square Root is quite casual and convivial. First, you are seating at a horseshoe shaped bar around the prep area with 15 of your fellow diners. That’s right, there are only 16 seats at this restaurant. They serve a 13 course menu, changing regularly based on what is fresh, in season and strikes the Chef’s fancy. There is a wine and a mixed beverage pairing option to go with if you so choose (You should SO choose.) Make no mistake, this is a “Big Night Out” at $150 per person before drinks or gratuity but the attention paid to the food, to you, and the experience is worth it.
Being so close to the action, and getting interactive information about what you are eating and how it is prepared makes you feel like you are a special guest, job shadowing the talented crew in the kitchen. It is part theater, part laboratory and all delicious.
There are two seatings a night so you need to pick 6:00 or 8:30. There is a lovely lounge upstairs for before or after. If you have allergies or dietary restrictions you need to let them know a few days in advance because this is a 13 course fixed menu and they may be able to work around your needs.
First I have to tell you that the place setting has an Asian aesthetic that brings home the purposefulness of the meal you are about to have. Square slabs of slate and wood to hold your wine glass, one for your water glass, your serving “area” and your cutlery. It is a little bento box of serving perfection.
We started with trout and Sorrel in between two buckwheat crackers – Oreo like – with horseradish Creme Fraiche. Yummo. Then a Magical Muffaletta which masquerades as a traditional Muffaletta but the bun is a melt in your mouth (literally) savory confection that dissolves leaving you with the flavor but none of the chewing – Face bacon, olive salad and provolone inside….mmmm.
The third finger food was frankly my favorite thing of the night. Not because the rest wasn’t outstanding. Just because in addition to being outstanding it made me giggle. Out loud. The “Southern Picnic” was fried okra with some fried chicken mousse and toasted Mustard Seeds with Fried Chicken Cotton Candy on top.
Yes. You heard me. Fried Chicken Cotton Candy.
Every course was a delight, right up to the Charred Louisiana Wagyu Shortrib (And this Alberta girl KNOWS beef) – and then the 3, count ’em 3, desserts. The beverage pairing enhanced the meal in a way that I hadn’t expected – it actually changed how I felt about a couple of courses- went from meh – to wow because if a few well timed sips.
There is a lovely lounge on the top floor where you can get a limited snacky menu and craft cocktails and wines. Or simply sit back on the comfy leather couch and ponder the culinary story that you were just told.