Everything at Rustic Root in Woodbury takes a simple approach: organic ingredients, natural décor and a host of hand-sculpted dishes inspired by the seasons.
Keith Giannadeo and Jim Rehm, owners of Zim Zari California Coastal Grill in Massapequa Park, have partnered with chef Thomas Gloster, formerly of Lula Trattoria in Mineola and Rothmann’s Steakhouse in East Norwich, to open the space in June.
“There is an excitement that comes with thinking up a new menu for an upcoming change in the weather,” said executive chef Thomas Gloster. “For fall, we all look forward to apples, pork, squash and heavier food items, and this will be reflected in our menu choices. In spring it’s all about morel mushrooms and ramps. The changing ingredients is what pushes us at Rustic Root.”
This autumn, the menu features a sumptuous roasted chicken with pureed celery root and Asian-style duck tacos with kimchi, hoisin, cilantro and lime, listing the farms responsible for the ingredients. A few include Kerber’s in Huntington, Koppert Cress in Cutchogue, Margene Certified Organic in Mattituck, Crescent Duck in Aquebogue and Amagansett Sea Salt from Amagansett.
“I would like to educate the community about where their food is produced. People need to understand that although you may pick up the food from a grocery store, that’s not its origin. I take pride in personally knowing the farm and farmers that produce our ingredients.”
There are a number of locally-sourced vegetable-based sides to choose from including mushrooms, asparagus, Swiss chard, spinach and fingerling potatoes that make for the ideal pairings.
But the beet salad in particular is a real crowd-pleaser. Rustic Root roasts beets with beet oil and topped with orange, pistachio, watercress and mint for the ultimate tangy package.
The décor is just as delightful: think organic materials with a smart-casual bent. The modern and cleanly designed dining room is adorned with wood, stone and metal. An exposed brick corridor leads to a chic bar, where the signature smoked old-fashioned made with Bulleit Bourbon, demara syrup and walnut bitters is served in a glass that has been smoked with cedar.
“I let the ingredients speak for themselves. Smoking the ingredients in the cocktail brings out other elements of the natural flavors that you wouldn’t get from a regular old fashioned, so we’re just finding another way to highlight what’s already been given to us from the earth.”