Rock Fresh
 Akron, Ohio        Date of Visit  11/19/13

I am really confused. We went, we had lunch, still not sure what to think. What we knew going in was, this is the guy who started the original Rockneís location. Weíve heard stories but donít know anyone involved so an open mind seems like the way to go. The place is done up pretty well for a strip plaza space but it is empty when we arrive. We met the owner. Heís one of the things I am not sure how to explain.



Surprise! I'm Incredibly Bitter

There is a fine line between a nice guy interested in his customers and the air of desperation. The tide ebbed and flowed between the two the entire time we were there. We were also party to other business dealings courtesy of the cell phone speaker which crashed on the shore in desperation cove. Confusion reigns.

We had a Groupon which set our course, two starters, two entrees, two desserts. Throughout our stay, we learned more and more about the restaurant and its proprietor. There was some pride evidenced in sourcing from local farms. Itís all the rage, it excites me more when those ingredients are respectfully offered in something special. That turned out to be less the case than more so. But it wasnít bad, not bad enough to tear up like some places have been. I guess Iíll describe what we had and go from there. He offered a drink he had picked up from Dr. Oz, veg water, infused with the familiar...citrus and cucumber and then the less familiar...celery and ??? It was much more bitter than you would expect. The definition of tasting "healthy".

Ehhhhhhh. interesting Dressing

Tragic Flaws

Steph started with a salad, the wedge. It was just that with a bit of cheese, bacon and sliced tomatoes. There werenít many of them but they appeared fresh. The dressing was not what I expected. It was sweet. It was an interesting twist and worked pretty well with the cheese when mixed together. I went with the vegetarian soup, mushroom, which started with great promise but significant flaws marred all promise. The shroomy broth was deep and well seasoned but cold. Add to that the mushroom stems which had become bitter, woody and tough from back whenever the soup was hot. I would much rather have much less actual shroom than a bunch of shroom stems that canít be consumed.

Bisque Better Than Appearance

Sausage Works But Sits Alone On Plate In That Regard

For entrees Steph found lobster bisque on the menu and I tried the house made Hungarian sausage plate. The bisque looked like a bowl of heavy cream. We have had versions like this and they taste like, well, cream. There was essence of lobster present, and a splash of sherry or brandy, it tasted much better than it looked. It isnít going to compete with Canton Dockside or Mulligans but it gets a pass. It might have been better if it had not suffered from the same temperature deficiency as the mushroom soup.

The sausage was a real mixed bag. The sausage itself was seasoned in a strange profile, but I like different. There seemed to be notes of cinnamon and other spices you wouldnít typically see. It was hot, had snap, a bit of sear, it works. It comes with a dark and dusky sauerkraut or onions and peppers, I went with the kraut which was tasty. The odd bit was the owner told us a story, immediately after telling us they make their Hungarian sausage in house, there were three Hungarian nationals who had been in. Apparently, all three vehemently argued there was nothing Hungarian about their sausage. It is certainly different than the links available at Alís in Barberton. It doesnít make the sausage bad but I would probably let a little time expire after talking about how Hungarian it might be before I told folks Hungarianís donít agree.

The sides were where this thing fell apart. Baked dry and crunchy, the cabbage and noodles could have used some seasoning. The mash and sweet potato scoopskies were more cold than either soup and while the plain mash was woefully underseasoned, the sweet mash tasted like pumpkin pie. Both worked much better when blended with the kraut to add some salt or balance the sweet.


A Little Better

The desserts also fell short of the mark. The bread pudding was dry and dry. It was covered with a caramel sauce which did little to add moisture and appeared to be the only unbready flavor in the mix. The chocolate walnut cake in a cup. It was chocolaty and had walnuts which made it an improvement over the bread pudding. Having walked through it, I was more disappointed than I had thought, I wish Rock luck, but there just wasnít enough upside to warrant a return.




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