I’m all for the local, sustainable, farm-to-table movement, but its proponents do have a tendency to take themselves a little too seriously. Case in point: the mission statement of Streeterville sandwich shop Local Root, which begins “we believe [we] need to change our food system to save the world” and gets progressively bossier as it goes on: “We must eat sustainably, live with the Earth, and embrace the seasons. The wisdom of the countryside, simplicity and sustainability, must spread to all corners of the earth and to every individual.”
For better or worse, embracing the seasons doesn’t appear to mean forgoing tomatoes in December. The thin wedges on a duck confit sandwich were tasteless, pale pink ghosts of what a tomato should be—which was especially unfortunate because the rich sandwich, topped with Gruyere and aioli, desperately needed some acidity. The duck was cooked well, though, and the cherry tomato halves in a side salad were much better than their sandwich-adorning cousins. We did enjoy a crispy-edged crepe with mild blue cheese and blueberries, and fries (sorry, frites) with three dipping sauces—burgundy chevre, deviled egg mustard, and garlic aioli—were also appropriately crispy. Overall, the food was on the good side of average, but with sandwiches and salads mostly in the $11-$12 range, prices are decidedly on the high side of average, even for downtown.
The restaurant has sit-down service for brunch and lunch during the day as well as a carry-out counter, and in the evening the dinner menu includes mussels, flatbreads, and poutines (yes, that’s plural—there are five).
Local Root, 601 N. McClurg, 312-643-1145, localrootchicago.com