It’s Sunday, so that means Brunch. Lucky me, my photographer Jason and three of our friends! The recent buzz in downtown Fort Lauderdale was about ROK:BRGR’s new Sunday Social Brunch featuring farm fresh comfort food paired with rock music and a great selection of libations. We arrived mid-morning to an inviting atmosphere created by DJ/musician, Lucian, from the band Community Property. After chatting with GM Franklin Villarroel, we decided to let Chef Robbyns Martinez select our dishes, to be shared family style. His passion is sourcing local produce and sustainable ingredients featuring a modern take on American comfort foods.
We ordered bottomless mimosas and bloody marys garnished with bacon. A great start!
Hot from the oven came these buttery, flaky biscuits. We didn’t need to add butter… they were that good.
First up a duo of Southern and South of the Border style dishes greeted us. Shrimp and Grits with fresh local shrimp grilled with a spicy crunch embedded in a heavenly portion of perfectly seasoned stone ground grits. I must point out that everything was masterfully balanced: spicy, salty, creamy and crunchy all in one plate. Next, the Mexican style ROK:BRGR Hash had a great kick, cooled down by the egg yolk that blended perfectly with the melted cheese. We had to stop ourselves after a few bites, more was coming from the kitchen.
ROK:BRGR’s version of fried Chicken & Waffles offered up crisp boneless chicken on top of golden buttermilk mini waffles with candied bacon and bourbon maple syrup. We each had one waffle, which was perfect after the grits and hash. The juicy tender chicken (more broasted than fried) stood out, and was not overshadowed by sweetness. A definite brunch staple.
I did request one dish when we arrived: Bacon Three Ways. Yes, you read that right. Maple Pepper Bacon. Pecan Smoked Bacon. Jalapeño Bacon. Four crispy, crunchy strips of each. Plus three dipping sauces made from local honey, chipotle ketchup and bourbon maple syrup. Baconistas rejoice! This should be available at every bar! Just sayin’.
After the maple bourbon syrup savory dishes were needed, and the braised Short Rib Omelette fit the bill. Freshly crafted farm fresh eggs, gooey fontina cheese, smoky caramelized onions surround a pocket of tender, well-seasoned beef. But the tots had my attention (no, not kids, steamy, crunchy deep fried pockets of potato goodness) and I will admit right now that I wanted those to myself. Being a good hostess, however, I passed the basket around for all to enjoy.
Many local restaurants have Pork Belly on the menu. Pork Belly is the flesh that runs on the underside (the belly) of the pig and surrounds the stomach. It is one long cut of meat with plenty of fat, which is why it is prized for curing and turning into bacon or pancetta. Chefs braise it, sous vide it, or even cook it in a frying pan. Each preparation has its charms! Pork belly, unlike crispy strips of bacon, is served thick and juicy. Take a look at these babies, perfectly succulent sitting on crunchy fried green tomatoes under sweet bacon jam. ❤ Love at first bite. These rich nuggets of pork were enough for our table, and the most decadent bite we devoured.
We finished with the dessert-like French Toast. Just like Grandma made (if your Grandma was Sicilian, like mine) — because they stuff mascarpone cheese (a tiramisu staple) inside the moist gooey challah bread. Look at those farm fresh strawberries… ripe and juicy. Sweet without sugar. There are many other items on the menu, enough to warrant at least two more visits! On my hit list: Bacon Wrapped Kobe Hot Dogs, Lobster BLT and the handcrafted Bacon Jam Slider … get the picture? Bacon Bacon Bacon. Special thanks to my photographer Jason Leidy | MRA Photography for the almost edible photos! – Burger Belle
Eat at their Ft. Lauderdale or Miami location: