211118BROCKS

Beth Webb, a member of The Gazette’s restaurant review team The Four Dishes, ordered the deluxe grilled cheese during a recent trip to Brock’s River Walk Tavern and Grill in Fort Atkinson. Served on slices of grilled sourdough bread, the sandwich features grilled onions, sautéed mushrooms, bacon and a choice of two cheese.

FORT ATKINSON

As we made our way toward Brock’s River Walk Tavern and Grill for a recent evening meal, we couldn’t help but admire the many unique shops and historic buildings that pepper Main Street in Fort Atkinson.

Brock’s itself is housed in a beautiful, restored building with outdoor seating on a patio just outside. If you’re looking for river views, Riverwalk Plaza is just a few steps away. This pocket park features a beautiful, custom-built archway, picnic tables, benches, lighting and scenic views when the weather is cooperative.

Though you will find good food and a lively crowd once inside Brock’s, know it is also a cozy spot that is ideal for quiet conversations.

The weather was cool when we visited, so we entered through the front and were seated quickly by a friendly server.

The space is large, and the interior has a rustic vibe with worn hardwood floors, reclaimed wooden beams and posts, lovely old brick walls and floor-to-ceiling windows that showcase the Rock River. Whiskey barrel pendant lighting illuminates the dining space.

The bar/lounge area is gigantic, with more than enough seating for large crowds. The stone walls further enhance the homey feel, and five TVs provide a prime spot to watch any sporting event.

A mix of pub and dining tables are housed in this space, as are several electronic dart boards. If you’re coming to eat, know that the kitchen closes at 9 p.m., but the bar stays open later.

I can see how things could get loud at Brock’s, but from our table in the front, we didn’t hear the bingo crowd gathered in the back.

After browsing the menu, we asked our server for assistance picking a starter because so many sounded good. She recommended, and we selected, the loaded tater tots ($9).

We usually try to choose healthy options, but we just couldn’t pass this up. The crispy tots were served hot with bacon, onion, tomato, sour cream and cheese. We didn’t expect to get addicted to them, but how could we not?

Brock’s also makes its own soup, and on the night we visited, the soups of the day were loaded potato and tomato basil. We didn’t sample them, but they sounded great and would likely make a nice lunch or a lighter option for dinner.

Along with soup, Brock’s has a fine assortment of sandwiches. It was hard to choose from the extensive offerings, but I was so happy with my deluxe grilled cheese ($10).

I often put extra vegetables on grilled cheeses, but this mix was so great together: grilled onions, sautéed mushrooms, bacon and a choice of two cheeses (I chose cheddar and pepper jack). The combination was held together perfectly with a grilled sourdough bread that put it over the top. Of course, I couldn’t eat it all after our starter, but it made a wonderful lunch the next day.

Jennifer selected the cheese deluxe flatbread pizza ($10), which was enormous. Marinara sauce, gooey mozzarella, grilled red onion, sliced fresh mushrooms and crumbled bacon were all served on a thicker-than-usual flatbread crust.

Jennifer especially liked the fact the mushrooms were fresh rather than canned, and the real bacon was a bonus, too. The latter provided a nice salty flavor, and the crispy nuggets contributed to the overall texture.

To accompany the meal, Jennifer ordered the petite Caesar salad ($6) which, in her opinion, was much larger than petite. The plate was full of chopped romaine, delicious marble rye croutons, lots of shredded parmesan with a sweet and tangy dressing.

Shaved smoked ham topped Helene’s grilled Hawaiian sandwich ($10). The pineapple called out to her, and although she was disappointed with the small slices on the toasted sourdough, the rest of the ingredients made up for it.

With red onions, a lot of ham, and a good smattering of Brock’s honey mustard sauce, the sandwich was fantastic. It was served with lightly fried new potatoes that practically melted in her mouth and several poker-chip-size, crisp dill slices as a side. It was a tasty and well-textured meal.

Nikki ordered the patty melt ($11), which came with grilled onions and two cheeses, American and Swiss. The marbled rye was toasted just right, and it held up to the juicy burger without getting soggy.

For her side, Nikki opted for French fries, which were crispy and unpeeled. Delicious!

We didn’t remember to ask for dessert. Now, looking at the menu, I wish we had.I will be back in times of better weather to again enjoy the river views, the boat accessibility and, of course, more food.

The Four Dishes—Nikki Bolka, Helene Ramsdell, Jennifer Spangler and Beth Webb—review regional restaurants for The Gazette.

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