Sunday, April 14, 2013

Black Rock Bar and Grill of Hartland

A Stone to Cook your Own Steak

Slurpee's and Steaks, Need I Say More?

It's not often we go to Black Rock because it's a little bit of a drive (about 45 minutes) and it's definitely more expensive than a regular night out with four people but when we do we savor it. There was an adventure yesterday hauling an old boat and we were in the neighborhood and the kids were troopers so it was a good a reason as any to partake in some delicious food.

I first experienced Black Rock a couple of years ago for my husband's holiday Christmas party. At the time I was unsure why would be going to a bar for a party but I learned very quickly that the bar is only part of the story. Black Rock does have a bar but there is an emphasis on food and it's definitely kid friendly too.

Disclaimer: Apparently an Ipod without a flash, and dim bar light do not go well for photos. Please excuse the quality of the pictures!

Frozen Coke and Coconut Rum
The first thing you need to know is that they have Slurpee's. Frozen Coke is a staple, along with Blue Raspberry and Orange on a regular basis. Second thing you should know: It's still a bar and they have shots. That means you can make an "Adult Slurpee" pretty easily and if you do it comes in a glass instead of an insulated cup. Once I learned that I have to say it changed how I even drink Slurpee's at home (Tip: Switch to a glass or an insulated cold beverage glass like Starbucks sells, add some coconut rum to your drink - my favorite is Frozen Coke and Cherry with Malibu Black). Now the kids obviously get theirs in insulated cups and there seems to be bottomless refills (I have never heard anyone say no, that's an extra charge so you know that they are happy. We have to pace them so they don't fill up too quickly before the food comes.

Three Cheese Bread
The menu at Black Rock is constantly evolving. They change up the appetizers and the main dishes on a regular basis. We decided to go with a long standing favorite - Triple Cheese Bread - which should be called "Cheesy Goodness" by the kids' standards. It's a pizza crust with everything that is good about pizza without the sauce (which my kids think is NOT good). Add melted butter and whipped garlic spread that they serve on the side. It's a bubbly hot treat and it keeps them tied over until the real food comes. I also recommend the calamari - good stuff. There was also a new mussels dish with a 48 oz martini glass that looked good.

Now my daughter really likes her own steak and Black Rock has one for kids even if it's not officially on the menu. My son, however, really likes something called the Black Rock Dawg, minus the vegetables. It's this huge hot dog, wrapped in pizza dough, topped with shaved steak, smothered in cheese, and Black Rock Sauce. This is a photo of my son realizing it was no longer on the menu. There was a moment of disbelief that the hot dog that he craved was not available especially since he has this whole system in place on how he eats it and make sure he gets some for breakfast the next day. I will tell you that the steak ended up being a really good consolation prize.

Onion Soup in a crock is an upgrade from the regular soup or salad you can order with your steak but it's worth it. The broth is extremely rich and hearty and the soup also has great chunks of soggy bread and onions to dig into. They really do a nice job with the covering of cheese, bringing it to the table hot and bubbling with a nice touch of browning without going overboard and burning the top. There are also some other soups available including a creamy mushroom soup and a lobster bisque featuring a whole lobster claw that is rich and decadent.

Signature Special, Lobster Tail, and The Tour
The steaks are really the showcase here and are in their glory. You can choose from different cuts and they range in price from $16.99 for the "Black Rock Signature Special" to a 20 ounce at $32.99 and market price for Prime Filet. There are "add ons" for surf and turf (I opted for the cheapest steak so I could add The Tour - three shrimp and a nice size scallop - and a lobster tail). Every steak comes with soup or salad, with one side that you choose from a list. There are also opportunities to get upgrades such as Caesar salad, French Onion Soup or Lobster Bisque. I chose a Caesar and a side of Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

So the thing with the steak is that it comes to the table on a burning hot lava rock but the steak is raw. The waitstaff quickly sear both sides for just a second and hand it to you. You start to shave off slices and cook them yourself. There is no opportunity to get this wrong because you control it. I like mine pretty rare and I can control it. The next important thing to know about is Black Rock Sauce. That's the first dish of sauce featured in that photograph (there was also melted butter for the lobster and Cajun sauce for the shrimp). It's creamy delicious goodness and a secret recipe. You dip your steak in it (I dip everything into it really) and it's just something that adds to the experience. The kids get French Fries and they dip those too.

So there are many desserts to choose from at Black Rock and sometimes we partake but last night, with Slurpee and appetizers, well it would really have been sick. But if you do decide to get dessert we recommend the Black Rock Volcano which is massive and features a sparkler. I won't say any more than that. There is also a chocolate fondue that stays warm on the stone if you like to do some more dipping.

If you do decide to go to Black Rock make reservations! The wait is always very long and you could be there 2 hours in line if you don't. Call Ahead Seating is also an option but reservations is much better. We waited about an hour for Call Ahead last night.

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