The Spot –
Rocks Lakeview, located at 3463 N. Broadway, is sandwiched between PPM’s 596 W. Hawthorne and 634 W. Cornelia buildings. Rocks, which has a great long list of beers to choose from, is a perfect location for neighborhood friends to meet for a beer. When the rough Chicago weather permits, outdoor seating is available along Broadway Avenue and Stratford Place. Word on the street is that when you order whiskey, Rocks serves it with a large, well, rock! A large ice cube that is. Lakeview is one of three locations by the same owner, including Rocks Lincoln Park (1301 W. Schubert Ave.) and The Pitch (2142 N. Clybourn Ave).
On to the starters! We begin with the Rocks special, Black & Blue Chili. Rocks makes their chili using Guinness and PBR in the mix, which adds a nice flavor. This dish does feel like it might be missing something, and that something might just be a few splashes of hot sauce. It goes great with a whiskey and ginger mix on a chilly night. You’ll notice it is not too heavy and hits the spot just right.
Now for a larger, and funnier, starter that is another Rocks special dish: the White Trash Nachos. The regular players of a classic nacho still exist, chili (Rocks Black & Blue Chili) jalapenos, queso cheese, and sour cream with the added-ons, guacamole and chicken. The Rocks addition to this dish takes you back to your childhood when you used to mix your foods together during lunch time. Instead of using regular tortilla chips or even waffle fries, Rocks uses Frito style chips. A blend that takes you back with each bite, the White Trash Nachos really brings on a smile.
Main Dishes –
Keeping with the Rocks special dishes, I decided on the Buffalo Chicken Wrap with a side of Mac & Cheese. The Buffalo Chicken Wrap comes with grilled chicken, buffalo sauce, chunky bleu cheese dressing and shredded lettuce on a tomato basil tortilla. This dish gets messy, so make sure you hover over the plate and keep the napkins close. You might want to enjoy this dish with the spicy buffalo sauce because the regular is slightly bland.
The mac & cheese is nothing to write home about but is eligible for honorable mention. Very creamy and it could go great as a side with any other dish.
Going a more experimental route for a bar menu, is the falafel sandwich with a side of Greek Fries. Give the Rocks kitchen for a soft clap for the effort for trying to make this sandwich work. This is a dish that has real potential if they work at it a little more. The falafel is way under par, but my server made sure I was aware of this when I ordered it. The kitchen staff should consider bringing this sandwich up to its full glory.
As for the Greek fries, not much they could do to go wrong with it. The side is pretty basic, taking fries and throwing some feta cheese and a little olive oil. This side could really compliment one of Rocks other sandwich being that it was the best part paired with the falafel sandwich. Make sure you consider this when picking a side.
Final Thoughts –
As a bar, Rocks stands great on its own with an above average menu. Friendly staff and with expanding space (they were in the middle of expanding the small space they started with at time of this blog), it brings that great neighborhood bar feel that Chicago is known for. This is a great spot to just meet with friends during the week and a great starting point for the weekends. The food, on other visits, has been flavorful. However, on this visit it was just slightly under par. Rocks has an extended menu that should definitely be explored.
Service – 5 Napkins out of 5
Food – 3 Sporks out of 5
Drinks – 4 Pints out of 5
Overall – 4 Stars out of 5
The Spot –