I am on Linux Mint 18 and would like to fully check the root filesystem.
My current idea is to boot into initramfs and run
fsck -f /dev/sdb2
I am able to get to recovery console, and therefore grub.
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This should be possible, for example if your initrd was created using dracut:
Additional dracut boot parameters
The following boot parameters are also available to further assist with debugging boot issues.
rd.shell Drop to a shell, if the initramfs fails.
Drop the shell on defined breakpoint (use egrep 'rd.?break' /usr/lib/dracut/modules.d/99base/init.sh to find the breakpoints supported by your dracut version)
However, since initrd is usually very limited and uncomfortable I would install a rescue image, like SystemRescueCd and boot it via additional bootloader entry: