Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery

Lighting made it difficult to take pictures.

Restaurant: Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
Cuisine: American
Last visited: October 9, 09

Area: Multiple locations – Denver, Colorado
6025 Sky Pond Drive, Loveland
Price Range: $10-20USD1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 3.5
Service: 4
Ambiance: 3
Overall: 3.5
Additional comments:

  • Chain restaurant (I was unaware)
  • Casual and lively atmosphere
  • Line-up/crowded at peak hours
  • Friday-Sunday $12.99 Prime Rib dinner available
  • 3 course menu deals: $12-18USD
  • 90% of menu made from scratch
  • Known for beers and steaks
  • Menu has a Tex-Mex flair
  • From the creators of Chicago Pasta & Pizza chain
  • Happy hour
  • Offers mini desserts for under $3
  • Lighting made it difficult to take pictures

**Recommendation: Classic Mac n’ Chicken, Overnight Braised Short Rib, Steaks, Stout BBQ Ribs (didn’t get to try), handmade beer bread (served with Asiago dip, didn’t get to try)
This wasn’t the original choice for dinner, but it started snowing and out of convenience it was the first thing we saw that looked good. Being from Vancouver, I didn’t know Rock Bottom was a chain restaurant although it could have been easily assumed from the exterior and interior design/set-up. It had that big chain restaurant feel: large space located in a strip mall with other chain restaurants, crowded bar, energetic atmosphere, large advertisements and promotional materials. Nonetheless I was still excited to try it, after all 90% of their food is made in house and that is something to salivate about.

The menu consisted of standard chain restaurant items: BBQ meats, steaks, pasta all they typical stuff, so naturally my eyes kept coming to items with the words “homemade”, “famous for”, and “signature”. I was actually quite impressed with the standard of food for what we were paying – it was moderately priced, homemade and made upon order. The food wasn’t outstanding or really creative, but I do appreciate a chain with a focus on homemade food without being overpriced…I’d say it’s a pretty solid choice.

On the table:

Lighting made it difficult to take pictures.

  • **Classic Mac n’ Chicken 6/6
    • This is their famous Mac n’ Cheese. It’s your classic homestyle mac n’ cheese except loaded with chicken!
    • I made a special request to order it as a side because I didn’t want it as an entree – they happily honoured the request.
    • The cheese sauce was homecooked and really good! It’s creamy instead of stringy so you could tell the cheese was cooked into the sauce rather than thrown in last minute. I think they used a combo of sharp White and Orange Cheddar cheese. It was rich and decadent and there were chunks of juicy baked chicken throughout, not one piece was dry. They used a good amount of freshly cracked black pepper in the sauce so it really enhanced the cheesiness.
    • It also had this baked Parmesan breadcrumb crust that was almost nutty and very very cripsy! It was saucy from top to bottom and not dry at all.
    • One of the best traditional mac n’ cheeses I’ve had.

Lighting made it difficult to take pictures.

  • **Overnight Braised Short Rib 4/6
    • Slow-roasted boneless short rib on a bed of White Cheddar mashed potatoes (can’t tell in the picture because it’s too bright), fire-roasted tomatoes, peal onions with roasted mushroom sauce.
    • The rib was really tender and it was obvious that it was well marinated and slow roasted because it was falling apart.
    • The roasted mushroom sauce was really hearty and rich. It was a little heavy on the balsamic vinegar and with the added fire-roasted tomatoes it was a bit too tangy for my liking. However, together with the White Cheddar mashed potatoes and ribs it all came together quite well…especially since the potatoes were dry. They definitely needed the mushroom gravy.
    • They used fresh parsley to garnish it, but I think they should have used something else because it didn’t go with the sauce or flavours of the dish very well.
  • Mahi Mahi Tacos 1.5/6
    • Mahi Mahi, pineapple slaw and cilantro wrapped in white flour corn tortillas served with pico de gallo, black beans, and rice.
    • This was really disappointing. It sounds really good on the menu and it was recommended, but it wasn’t good. They were going in all sorts of wrong directions with the flavours.
    • Mahi is a sturdy fish, almost like halibut so it tastes like chicken. It’s also a tropical fish so it’s good with tropical flavours. Therefore the pineapple was a good idea, but making it a slaw was not. They should have kept it nice and light and served it with pineapple salsa if they wanted to keep it fusion.

Lighting made it difficult to take pictures.

    • The “pineapple slaw” was plain old cole slaw. I didn’t see or taste one piece of pineapple. It was too rich and creamy because they went overboard with the mayo.
    • Then they decided to serve it with Mexican condiments and sides.
    • So you had the creamy cole slaw and then pico de gallo – which tasted like relish instead of fresh tomatoes, onions, limes & chillies. They also added pickled jalapenos so it wasn’t as spicy, but it made it taste very preserved or a couple days old…maybe it was. It tasted even more preserved because they put capers in it too…for I guess a Mediterranean twist? It was weird. The whole thing was wrong and didn’t go well with the tacos at all. It was creamy cole slaw with pickled salsa…ick.
    • Was it Hawaiian? Mexican? Mediterranean? They were fusing a bunch of flavours together and all in the wrong way. The only good thing was each taco came with 2 big pieces of Mahi Mahi.
  • **Filet Mignon 4/6 (If they don’t overcook it!)
    • Centre hand-cut aged 8oz filet rubbed in in house seasonings and topped with creamy roasted garlic butter.
    • I ordered mine medium rare with the White Cheddar mashed potatoes, veggies and a side of roasted mushrooms. The veggies were the frozen kind….not impressed.
    • The roasted mushrooms were more like sauteed mushrooms. They were heavy on the black pepper and tasted like they were reduced with balsamic vinegar…just like the sauce that was served with the braised short rib. It worked with the steak more than the ribs.
    • My steak was cooked mediumand not medium rare like I requested..that was a real bummer! However my friend’s was cooked to medium rare and his was really good. The dry rub was not bad, but also not memorable. The filet was served on a giant onion ring which was a nice surprise. It was only for presentation though and it got really soggy so I didn’t even eat it.
    • The steak itself isn’t a stand out, but I also couldn’t complain.
    • It was quite good for a brewery, but also not nearly as good as a steakhouse steak.
  • White Cheddar Mashed Potatoes 2/6
    • Mashed potatoes were really dry and sturdy. They really emphasize it as a restaurant favourite, but I don’t know why. I could stick my fork it in and it would hold straight up. They weren’t creamy, fluffy, or cheesy. They make it with cream, White Cheddar cheese and sour cream, but I didn’t taste the richness of any of those.
  • Genovese Pasta 3/6(soon to be off the menu)
    • Grilled chicken, sundried tomatoes, walnut pesto, fresh basil, Parmesan cheese on penne.
    • I couldn’t get a picture because it was too far down the table.
    • I was very intrigued by the walnut pesto…but I think this was “too weird” for most, that’s why they’re taking it off the menu.
    • Unfortunately it didn’t taste like walnuts at all. It looked and tasted like plain old pesto. As pesto, it was good. But as a “walnut pesto” it was not.
    • The pasta was very pesto-y. I really like pesto so it didn’t bother me. It was kind of oily so the tartness of the sundried tomatoes and freshness of the basil was good.
  • Asian Ahi Tuna Salad 4/6
    • Seared sashimi grade ahi tuna with cabbage, red bell pepper, bean sprouts, carrots, spinach, baby corn, edamame and crunchy noodles. Served with light ginger citrus dressing.
    • I have to say I was quite impressed with this! The ingredients were nice and crunchy and fresh. The tuna was really top quality. It was a bright red colour and they seared it perfectly! The garnish was green sesame seeds (I’ve never seen before) and I think it was a sea salt/lemon pepper crust…? It was really good!
  • Blackened Salmon Caesar 4/6
    • A Caesar salad topped with a Cajun-spiced salmon and Parmesan Caesar dressing.
    • It had real Parmesan curls instead of the shredded kind so that was nice.
    • The star was really the salmon though. It had this really flavourful dry rub that was spicy but not overly spicy…it was just right.
    • It wasn’t overly charred and it was seared perfectly with a juicy and moist centre. It’s so easy to overcook salmon and they didn’t do it with this one – it was such a thick piece I was almost sure it was going to be too.
  • Side Garden Salad


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