The Rock Café & Restaurant is another gem nestled on 17th Ave. It specializes in Asian French fusion cuisine but you’d be hard pressed to guess that from the outside. Well, be prepared to be surprised because this place knows what’s up.
We came as a group of 8 to celebrate my friend’s birthday. It was absolutely pouring buckets when we arrived. We had to circle around the block a few times to grab a parking spot but if we were smart, we would have just parked behind the restaurant where it’s free. The place was packed as it was a Friday night but luckily, the bday girl was smart and reserved ahead of time. The inside is tight and narrow with one long hallway lined with booths. It is just a wee bit cramped but the cool thing is that the kitchen is smack dab in the middle of the restaurant meaning you can see everything that goes on!
Tempura calamari ($9.95) and quinoa salad ($8.95 large)
Crispy calamari breaded in tempura flour and served with The Rock tarter sauce. The calamari was nicely seasoned, tender and crispy. The aioli sauce it came with was perfect for dipping. The quinoa salad was fresh and a healthy option you don’t see too often at these type of restaurants.
The salad was pretty basic but they did top it off with a handful of grated cheese. Pretty standard salad starter.
My friend O wasn’t a fan which meant I was left to eat it. The soup wasn’t very flavourful itself but it had a couple of pieces of meat that were passable. Next time we’ll make sure to ask what the soup of the day is before ordering it as one of the sides. Skip it.
Rocking lamb shank ($25.95)
Jumbo lamb shank braised with rosemary demi jus. You get to choose two sides so we went with mashed potatoes and salad. I’m not sure why The Rock has an obsession with adding these potato skin garnishes on top of their entrees but I wasn’t a fan. That’s just a little nitpicking. The lamb shank was hugeeeeeeeee. They aren’t kidding in the description when they call it jumbo. Tender, fall off the bone and with mashed potatoes, you’ll be in carb/meat heaven. Really rich, hearty flavours.
Muscovy duck breast ($25.95)
Roasted 10 oz duck breast served with sautéed spinach and mushroom in an orange brandy sauce. We picked the other two side options which were French fries and a beef soup. The beef soup was pretty bland, nothing special but forget about that, let’s talk about the duck breast! Holy duck, it was perfectly cooked medium rare. Succulent, tasty and a very generous portion for the price. This is easily more than $30+ at other restaurants. The sautéed spinach was a nice contrast to the duck and gave us some much needed greens.
Wild mushroom and cheese ravioli ($14.99) and burgers – the rest of our group ordered burgers and one tried out the ravioli. They have a pretty diverse selection of burgers to choose from – lamb, bison and wild shrimp burgers were pretty tempting.
Tiramisu – the staff were super sweet and gave the birthday girl a free dessert. This is one of the desserts people keep raving about and it hits the spot! Creamy, a little boozy and the perfect way to end our meal.
The Rock Café is a small but cool little spot to get some delicious entrees without paying fine dining prices for them. Definitely worth the price!
The Rock Café & Restaurant
1446 – 17 Avenue SW