Eighty degrees in Grand Rapids called for outdoor dining, and this week, Rockwell’s outdoor deck was open. The view is diminished due to the new parking garage that dwarfs the deck, but it’s still a great place to dine. There are about twelve tables of varying sizes and only four were occupied when we arrived around 12:30.
From the twelve interesting starters, we narrowed our choice down to lamb quesadillas, tuna poke, or lettuce cups. Our server recommended the quesadillas, and he didn’t steer us wrong. They had a really great spicy kick and combined well with the salsa and lime flavoring (chipotle monterey jack cheese, black bean salsa, lime sour cream). Quesadillas extraordinaire.
Sandwiches are a little more mundane but most offered at least one out of the ordinary ingredient. We selected a french dip (shaved beef, caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, smoked gouda cheese, ciabatta bread, au jus) and it was fine but a little bland. More seasoning would have been helpful. Everything was fresh and nicely presented, as was the meatball sandwich (house made garlic-parmesan meatballs, provolone, basil marinara, ciabatta bread). This was a better sandwich than the french dip and the accompanying fries were nicely, lightly seasoned. The problem with the meatball sandwich was that it was sloppy and difficult to eat, which takes away from the enjoyment.
Both were big sandwiches and we each took half home, along with half of the quesadillas. Ciabatta bread has great texture and consistency but it is big bread, and really more than we need. But I digress. Along with providing a nice outdoor venue, Rockwell’s also consistently gives great service. Friendly, informative, and efficient - you can’t ask for more than that.
The restaurant has a great atmospheric interior but we tend to save this place for outdoor dining. The deck is shared with the adjoining restaurant, Republic, and they also share the kitchen. Republic’s doesn’t open until four, however, so enter through Rockwell’s for the deck at lunchtime. Menus for both establishments are online. We spent $40.00 today and enjoyed a nice meal under the sun.