When: October 8th, 2008
Where: Bear Rock Cafe (Parmer and Mopac, just west of mopac)
What I Had: Sides: Mustard Potato Salad and Sunburst Tomato & Fennel Bisque Soup. Entrees: Fireside Jerk sandwich, consisting of grilled chicken breast, jerk spice, swiss cheese, grilled banana peppers, grilled red onions, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise & Bear Rock Honey Mustard on a Bear Rock Roll. Garden Sandwich piled with havarti cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sprouts, red peppers, red onions, mushrooms, cucumbers, and a roasted garlic tomato spread on sunflower seed bread.
What I Thought: The reason for my discovery of Bear Rock was that it has free Wi-Fi. It was one of the first restaurants my wife and I ate at when putting together our new duplex and we were, at the time, without internet. So free wi-fi was a pretty compelling reason to go try it. Upon walking in you are greeted with a cabin like flair which is suprising for a deli. I liked it, if only for it's unique style. They also have some nice cushy chairs and couches you can lounge out on and drink coffee while perusing your laptop. On to the food.
I had the jerk sandwich and potato salad, while Claire sampled the garden sandwich and soup. The first think I took a slurp of was her soup. It was delicious. It had a perfect tomato flavor while combining all the other spices to make a satisfying bisque that could probably serve as a full meal rather than a side. It was hearty enough for a winter meal, yet being October it accompanied the Garden Sandwich well enough. The Garden Sandwich tasted fresh, which is what you would expect from a sandwich of that name. The bread was light and and the sunflower seeds added a great texture but when it came down to it the sandwich itself was just missing that little something. Perhaps a slice or two of avocado would help it out.
As for my sandwich, it filled me up but didn't quite meet the expectations of it's description. I wanted a little more heat and a little more jerk for a sandwich called the Fireside Jerk. It just didn't bring the flavor like I had hoped. It was large and once again the bread was baked to perfection. However, the sandwich came off somewhat bland and the chicken dry. Maybe I like my sandwiches to be nice and juicy, slathered in sauce, mayonnaise, or whatever condiment accompanies it, but this one left me half-way on the disappointed side, yet full. The best part of my meal was the side of potato salad which had just the right amount of seasoning and mustard.
When I think back on my experiences with Bear Rock I recall many of the same situations. The sides, soups, chips, etc...always trump the sandwich. Maybe next time I should go for a salad instead. I will definitely go back, but it may not be my number one pick unless I am looking for some free wi-fi. With sandwiches priced at $6-8 I expect just little bit more out of my sandwiches.
Pros: Free Wi-Fi, Great soups and sides, comfy and unique atmosphere, large patio seating, quick service,
Cons: Sandwiches never quite meet the expectations, prices are a little high for a deli