Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Rock Bottom Brewery

Rock Bottom Brewery
10 Fountain Square
Downtown Cincinnati, 45202
Rock Bottom Brewery

After the debacle at Cadillac Ranch, we picked our way through the construction on Fountain Square and wound up at Rock Bottom Brewery. In past visits I have always been able to find something veggie on their menu - their yummy Brewery Nachos are a mainstay – but one is always hopeful for new vegetarian additions.

Happy Hour was still in full force when we arrived and the bar area was very busy, but we located a booth tucked away in a corner near the bar and sat down. We had mild concerns that we’d never get noticed due to the crowd of hipsters blocking us from view, but our fears were unfounded as the server got to us in a timely manner and we were able to squeeze in a beer order just under the wire.

It may sound really lame, but I felt dizzy with joy as I perused their revamped menu – there was more than one veggie option! Faced with an actual choice made me positively giddy, and no, it wasn’t the beer, regardless of what my husband believes.

So here we are.

Vegetarian appetizers:
1. Ball Park Pretzels with spicy spinach cheese dip
2. Flatbread Brewschetta
3. Spicy Spinach Cheese Dip served with veggies, tortilla chips and focaccia
4. Brewery Nachos served with vegetarian refried beans, melted cheese, tomato, onion and jalapeños.

Four options. FOUR! What a delight to see four vegetarian appetizers amongst the ten choices at a chain restaurant. Four out of ten – heck, that’s nearly half, isn’t it?

The only vegetarian salad option was the side salad, a simple affair but larger and tastier than those of similar price at comparable restaurants. The salad lists bacon bits amid the ingredients, but those are omitted easily enough when the salads are made to order, which they are at Rock Bottom. The baby greens were fresh, the balsamic vinaigrette was tasty, and the salad was piled high with shaved, curly carrot strings. Even dear hubby, who isn’t really a fan of salads, couldn’t resist a few forkfuls.

Best of all, there were vegetarian entrées – several, in fact, which was so surprising that I had some difficulty deciding what to order. There was a Grilled Portobello and Fontina Melt Sandwich served on fococcia with rosemary mayonnaise; a Risotto Caprese with roasted tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil, spinach and roasted asparagus; and on top of that any of their burger creations can be made with a Veggie Burger substitution. Eureka, we’ve hit the goldmine here.

It was ever so exciting to see actual vegetarian choices on the menu rather than having to cobble together a meal out of a variety of starters or sides. Rock Bottom has always had something veggie on their menu, but this was a real eye-opener, and one certainly hopes they continue this trend.

I opted for the most expensive veggie item on the menu - the risotto, which at $12.99 was a dollar higher than my carnivorous partner’s choice of meatloaf. Although I’m not sure it warranted that sort of price –it is, after all, just a creamy rice dish with vegetables- it was tasty enough and more than I could finish, so it’s not a bad value. Add to that the mouth-watering, unique beers brewed right on the restaurant’s premises, and you’ve got the makings of a great evening for veggies and non-veggies alike. The Rock Bottom Brewery is definitely a keeper.
Rock Bottom Brewery on Urbanspoon

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